It’s 1847 and almost a year after four ships carrying Americans heading to Vera Cruz, Mexico were caught in a storm and shipwrecked on an alternative Earth. Instead of fighting in the Mexican-American war, they are fighting for their lives against both monster animals and humans. This series is set in the same world as the Destroyermen series.
Lewis Cayce and his group of artillerymen, infantrymen, and mounted riflemen have made friends in the Yucatan and built an army. This also repulsed the Holy Dominion army that was intent on killing their new allies. However, a more radical cult of Blood Priests has arisen. They pursue power and blood sacrifices. Cayce understands that the only option is offense, not defense. Outnumbered and less diabolical, can courage, trust, and imagination outwit and overcome the enemy?
The characters are complex and come to life through their words, actions, movements, thoughts, reactions, and mannerisms. There are many characters and it will help to read the first book in the series to have a handle on the core characters ahead of this novel. It was especially enjoyable to see the significant growth in both the main and several of the secondary characters.
The plot twists and turns with some unpredictable moments in the story. Beliefs, worldviews, and prejudices come under assault. Many live in fear of sacrifice. Ultimately, this is a fight between goodness, light, justice, tolerance, and equality versus evil, darkness, sacrifice, and a class system. Despite there being many battles in this novel, there is adequate time for great characterization and world-building.
The book is moving and suspenseful at times, and violent and disturbing at other times. As the tale unfolds, this reader became mentally and emotionally involved with the characters as well as the story itself. The stakes were high and made this vivid and memorable novel a true page-turner for me in. Additional themes woven into the story include protecting others, politics, power, greed, gender roles in war, and relationships of all types.
Overall, this story is engrossing, intense, and impactful. This book has a high level of tension and foreboding. The Epilogue sets up the next book in the series. Those that enjoy alternative history military thrillers or the Destroyermen series will likely enjoy this novel. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Berkley Publishing Group –Ace and Taylor Anderson provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for September 27, 2022.