Nitro Wild – by David C. Brown. ISBN 978-0-9831907-9-0. Published by the author, 2017. ($12.99 from Barnes & Noble, paperback edition). Reviewer received book from Author as pdf-book.
David Brown has composed an epic alternative fantasy history tale of the 19th Century.
Rex Knight is the protagonist. From Rex’s mysterious transport from Earth through his first few years on Erden, the inhabitants’ name for their planet, he struggles to survive, thrive, and finally succeed in great ways. Most of the story is related from Rex’s viewpoint.
There are other transported races and groupings of people. The Wapiti spoke a lingua franca that was primarily English, German and some of the indigenous peoples’, the Clovis, own language. This could support other transports and some indigenous groups, but there is also an alien, non-human race called the Ichneumons who rule a substantial part of the continent that appear to be much like 19th century North and South America.
The details of the planet, civilizations and governments here are sprinkled sparingly throughout the story’s development. The Ichneumons are vying for control of the world with the mighty Prussian empire. The area that conforms roughly to the Eastern United States is controlled by the Prussian Empire. The remainder is largely controlled by the Ichnemons. These two empires are at constant conflict for control of this continent. Meanwhile, the European and Asian equivalent continents are split between the Prussians and their allies and the Mongol tribes that are constantly restless if not openly attacking on the eastern borders of Prussia.
Historically, the Ichnemons have conquered and obliterated most of the indigenous population. The Wapiti and the Clovis have avoided such a fate by aligning with the Prussians. That and the rugged wilderness terrain of their area made it much more difficult for the Ichneumons’ Emperor, Rakakonda, and his troops. Since most of the contact had been through attempts at conquest and other forms of war, there is no love lost between the groups. The third major power group here is the slave owners who usually held great cotton plantations and maintained them with slave labor.
The Prussians are entering an Abolitionist time and many established institutions are upset, but specifically the slave trade has been discouraged and then outlawed throughout the empire. This creates another group fighting to control its own destiny. These plantation owners want to maintain the status quo for slavery, fearing that they will be bankrupted with any change.
The plots and the intrigues rival any power in 19th century Earth for sure. This all contributes to the complexity and different perspectives of the narrators. It also makes for a very intense and complex plot.
The format is chapters broken into sections where perspective changes between several narrators.
There are too many characters to describe here, but the most prominent are Rex Knight and his partner, Amy Caroom. Amy is wanted, dead or alive, by her own father, Purnell. From this humble beginning, there are characters numerous and varied. Most do not warrant mention as they pass in and out of the narrative, but they come in, are developed enough to be believable and then move on out of the perspective of the particular narrator.
One of the main difficulties is the incorporation of the alien race as main personnel involved in all the war, the political intrigues and even the antipathy between the slave owners and the Prussian Empire that holds sway over their area.
The plot weaves in and out of focus. The characters move on and off stage. The leaders of the groups and such, keep busy with political and actual problems while interacting well making the plot even stronger.
For lovers of alternative reality and historical adaptations of culture, science and creatures would love this book and it is easy to maintain interest. Since this is the first of a series of books from a relatively prolific author as Brown, all can look forward to more coming from this fertile mind.
Review by Chris Phillips