Guest Review by Henry Martin:
I want to thank Mitro for this opportunity to try my hand at a review. I am not well-read in this genre, being more of a writer than a reader. This is only the third alternate history book I have ever read, and one of those was a time travel novel. The first, though, was a short novel about the history of the American nations after the CSA won. This book is much better.
Review of The Phoenix Gambit, by Douglas McDonough
This is a story of two civil wars, taking what was the best of one and the worst of the other and merging them into a story that has a predictable ending.
Douglas McDonough shows a good knowledge of both the dynamics of the Mexican war for independence and the personalities involved. The descriptions of the terrain in northern Mexico are excellent and the human suffering -- be it thirst or blisters -- bring the action to life.
Once one gets past the improbability of the point of departure, the book flows well, preparing the reader for the sequel. A bit of implausibility near the end does not detract from an excellent war story that ends with the hero with his honor intact.
The unusual twist to this overworked theme sets this alternate history apart. Though I am not widely read in this genre, I give this story a B+ as just plain good literature.