» » Beneath Gray Skies

Download Beneath Gray Skies epub

by Hugh Ashton

David Slater, a conscript in the 1920s Army of the Confederacy, faces a dilemma. When he and his regiment were shipped to Germany to help stage a coup there, his Limey fellow-soldier Brian was acting strangely. David now has the choice of reporting his best friend to his commanding officers, or keeping quiet and just doing his job: preparing for the arrival of Bismarck, the giant Zeppelin flying Hitler and his Nazi cohorts to meet their new allies, the Confederates. Beneath Gray Skies follows the adventures of David and those around him in a past that never happened-where the Civil War never took place, and the Confederacy survived as a pariah slave-holding nation into the 20th century. Confederates, Unionists, British and Germans plot and counterplot in a tightly woven tale of espionage, treachery and romance. The cast of Beneath Gray Skies includes rogue British agent "Bloody Brian" Finch-Malloy, hard-drinking Henry Dowling, and Christopher Pole, a slave who escapes from the hell of the Confederacy-living against a backdrop that includes real historical characters. Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, and Dr. Hugo Eckener, the brilliant anti-Nazi Zeppelin captain, all live again in this "extraordinarily well-written piece of mind candy that becomes more and more difficult to put down" (Christopher Belton). Almost without realizing what has happened, David finds himself part of a conspiracy within the Confederacy that includes "Bloody Brian", which is working to prevent the airship's arrival in Georgia, to seize the mysterious priceless treasure on board the Bismarck, and to halt the spread of slavery to Europe. As David Slater and his President, Jefferson Davis III, confront each other on the doomed dirigible, David must ask himself once again where his loyalty lies: to his country, or to a higher morality. Beneath Gray Skies is the first published novel by Hugh Ashton, a British-born writer and journalist currently living in Kamakura, Japan.
Download Beneath Gray Skies epub
ISBN: 4990516524
ISBN13: 978-4990516529
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Contemporary
Author: Hugh Ashton
Language: English
Publisher: j-views (April 21, 2010)
Pages: 330 pages
ePUB size: 1950 kb
FB2 size: 1477 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 773
Other Formats: txt lrf mbr lrf

I enjoyed this book from the first page to the end. Between the description and the other reviews of the book you can get a pretty clear picture of what this book is about: what if the American Civil War didn't happen and the south became a separate country.

It's a fun idea to consider and handled very well and enjoyably by the author, I had no trouble grasping his concept and running with it. The characters are fun and interesting (I especially liked Brian) and there's very, very little that I would even consider criticizing. Get it, read it, enjoy.
I bought this after reading the author's book, Red Wheels Turning. I am about halfway through it, and loving it, just like the previous novel. If you're a fan of alternate histories, go ahead and buy it.
One caveat/warning, if you're of the conservative political persuasion, as I am, please forgoe reading the author's forward. He plainly has a thing for George Bush, and the forward makes it clear he though GW administration was tantamount/comparable to the rise of fascism in Europe. So, do yourself a favor, and skip the forward, just enjoy the novel. It is very good.
Good, inventive plot, with a lively and agile grasp of history. Some dialogue sounds rather stilted and improbable, but otherwise a good, solid alternate history adventure.
I rarely read alternative-history books, in fact I can't remember the last one I read, but I thought this was a really interesting premise so took a chance. I quite enjoyed the read, and wished it was a bit longer!

Some of the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, hence the 4 stars instead of 5. The story has a decent flow (I mostly listened to it, using text-to-speech), and I would read it again. I read mostly mysteries and science fiction, so this was a nice departure from my usual.
I am an avid reader of Alternate History Genre literature. I am especially attracted to subject matter dealing with the Civil War. Although I must sadly admit this is a well-written book it is so politically motivated that much of the joy of reading was drained for me in the introduction. No matter how captivating I found the story it was too apparent that the author simply wished to carry a grudge into his writing and would be better served writing in another area. Where I have found the vast majority of writers of alternative history maintain an unbiased style there is too much overt animosity underlying this work. My greatest compliment for this novel is that I did not pay any "American" money for it. Thank heavens it was a free offer on the Kindle.

The initial premise is very limited in its scope, and the only defense that it could have is that anything is possible.
I will keep an eye open for other books by this author so that I don't waste my money on them. Of course, if I had seen the book at a bookstore rather than an internet site, I wouldn't have bought it. A quick look at the intro showed me it was going to be a loser. First, the author describes that all of his prior books have been rejected, a tribute to the common sense of the other publishers. Secondly, he begins by saying how much he hates America though he then goes on to say that some Americans are his best friends. Right! Sounds like what a bigot says about black people. It is obviously from the way he writes that book, he is upset that Britain is only a second tier power in the modern world and thinks that if America was gone, everything would be done the British way. Wrong! Britain would still just be a second tier power. His longwinded narratives in the story such as the one where the British agent jabbers on about why Brits drive on the wrong side of the road are just plain tedious and add nothing to the already poor story line.
Now, on the the story, the civil war never occurs. Why? Because the Northerners are all cowards and afraid to fight for the Union. As for the South, they are all a bunch of stupid hayseed hicks who let their country fall into Medieval squalor. What a bunch of nonsense! The author doesn't even have a simple grasp of history. He states that the North was afraid to attack the South because of the great stature of their General, Robert E Lee. If you actually know anything about the early Civil War, General Lee was pretty much in the background during the first few battles of the war. Only when he demonstated his genius in the peninsular campaign and only when some of the others, like Beuregard, showed themselves to have more hot air than talent, did Lee rise to pre-eminence.
OK, the story is set in the 1920s, and the confederacy decides to align itself with the Nazis. From the first mention of an airship, perhaps a quarter of the way into the book, it is obvious there is going to be a Hindenberg like event by the end of the story. It is slow; it is plodding; and even an exploding airship cannot brighten up this turkey.