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Yes, that is a grenade on the mother's necklace.
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'Victoria: A Novel of Fourth Generation Warfare'' is a novel by military theorist William S. Lind (published in 2014 under the penname Thomas Hobbes) in which, 20 Minutes into the Future, the United States breaks up into a series of warring successor states, including the Northern Confederation (eventually renamed Victoria) in New England.

The story is told from the perspective of John Rumford, a USMC captain discharged when he refuses to allow a woman to honor their dead by saying "Iwo Jima" (because no woman Marines fought on Iwo Jima, and so they apparently do not deserve to participate). After having trouble farming and working, due to government regulations, Rumford forms a group, the Christian Marines, to fight for traditional Christian values in an increasingly multicultural and tolerant society. Eventually, he becomes one of the leaders of the growing movement to restore America to an idealized version of 1930s values. "Retroculture," it is called.

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Then the first shots of the Second Civil War are fired, and things get really crazy....

Victoria has been called "the Paleocon Turner Diaries" by at least one reviewer, referring to the infamous far-right novel by neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce. While this is less than fair (since, unlike that book, Victoria does not endorse such things as Nazism and genocide of billions of people), Lind's novel is generally recognized as polarizing and extreme, and often considered part of the "Alt-Right" milieu (though Lind does not describe the book, or himself, that way). Written as an apparent Take That! to what the author condemns as political correctness, this book holds nothing back in presenting its radical vision. As depicted herein: atheists are either stupid or evil (or both), homosexuals are perverts, academia is heavily infiltrated by Cultural Marxist conspirators, UN-appointed Muslim peacekeepers want nothing more than to kill or enslave Christians, Mexican cartels raid America to sacrifice white people to their pagan gods, women should be subordinate to men, and so on and so forth. This uncompromisingly neo-reactionary and far-right viewpoint serves to make the book more than somewhat controversial in many quarters.

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  • 0% Approval Rating: The Federal Government gradually becomes this during the Civil War, due to a combination of badly failed economic policies and ideological insanity. Mobs and militias fight the police openly in the streets, domestic terrorism is rampant, judges are lynched, state governments begin to secede, and toward the end even the military is experiencing massive defections and passive-aggressive sabotage.
  • Accidental Hero: Rumford, initially, owing his early heroic reputation effectively to making a politically incorrect prank, doubling down on it when called out, and getting cashiered for this. However, the story grows in the telling until he becomes almost a legendary figure of integrity and defiance in the military community, and this is at least part of the reason why he gets elected leader of the Christian Marines. He then becomes a real hero (at least for a certain definition of hero) by showing himself suited for the position and applying his irregular warfare skills to their struggle against the gangsters and corrupt political machines.
  • Accidental Public Confession: Type 1 example with Governor Fullarbottom. The Christian Marines' psy-war eventually gets on his nerves so much that he makes a complete confession of his dirty laundry at a public press conference.
  • The Ace: Colonel William Hocking Kraft, the leader of the Retroculture revolution and savvy politician, fearless soldier, inspired strategist and visionary philosopher. Even Rumford, himself acclaimed as the greatest soldier of his time, agrees that Kraft has a better grasp of military affairs than he does.
  • Action Genre Hero Guy: John Rumford fits every item on the checklist, except that he isn't fighting to save a loved one, but his country. A somewhat unusual variation in one respect, however, in that he is also a (working-class, one-liner-touting, ex-military) well-read intellectual, which makes for some funny lines.
  • Action Girl: Completely and utterly defied and averted with the "good" female characters. There are some villainous ones, but they tend to appear in a poor light.
  • Affably Evil: The Landwehr emissary is one of the few "enemy" characters to be portrayed as a genuinely-pleasant person, in spite of being a very-literal Nazi.
  • After the End: Much of the novel takes place against the backdrop of the Fallen States of America.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Ultimately subverted, though even then the book is certainly not friendly to LGBT people otherwise. One of the major early incidents in the story is a law requiring all elementary schools to have at least one gay counselor with "unrestricted private and public access" to kids to help them figure out their sexuality, and this is interpreted as being an obvious cover up for the "real" reason gay people would want to be alone with children. Incidents like these lead the State of Maine to rebel against their governor. However, when it is revealed that NAMBLA is behind the plot, it is specifically pointed out that "[e]ven most of the other gays don't like those perverts."
  • The Alleged Boss: President Warner of the late-stage United States is generally presented as a rather well-meaning but weak ruler, usually under the thumb of the extremists and corrupt insiders in his administration. However, he does show decisive and effective leadership on a few occasions, notably when forcing his hawkish military advisors to stand down in the escalating conflict with Russia.
  • Amazon Brigade: Azania, though their female pilots are stated to be no match for men in the cockpit, and their infantry folds like a card table.
  • Ambadassador: Nazi officer Captain Halsing is not only polite and cultured, but also tough as nails. Additionally, there is Father Dimitri, the Victorians' unofficial (and eventually official) liaison with the Czar's government, who is a former soldier in the Russian Naval Infantry.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Colonel Mary Malone, whose only canonical romance is heterosexual, but who also succeeds and excels in the Azanian hierarchy, where all positions of authority are normally closed to non-lesbians.
  • America Saves the Day: Both averted and played straight. The United States itself is increasingly dystopian, and eventually collapses, but the heroes who save the day are Americans, and continue to help people in other countries also suffering from the collapse after they have established order in their own successor state.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: The Paleopitus, who combine this with fanatical eco-primitivism and a nightmarish neo-pagan religious cult.
  • Antagonistic Governor: Governor Hokem, who functions as a sort of Starter Villain for the Christian Marines to take on before the real uprising begins. He is not really very evil personally, so much as simply corrupt and a pawn of the special interests.
  • Anti-Air: Early after its secession, New England is light on air defenses, with the federal government dominating the air. It becomes a plot point when a lucky soldier with a MANPAD manages to shoot down an overconfident Navy F-35 that went in too low and slow.
  • Anti-Hero: Kraft and Rumford, the ideologist and leader of the Retroculture revolution and his chief lieutenant. Though they are the heroes of the story, and nicer than most of the massively monstrous villains, both are willing to use extreme measures to create and defend the Confederation.
  • Anti-Intellectualism: Downplayed. While Retroculture encourages literacy and scholarship, is very scientifically innovative and supports the teaching of the classical philosophy and culture of Western Civilization, the Retroculturists will only tolerate a certain subset of philosophy, and ban anything related to "Cultural Marxism," so they do not support complete intellectual openness. Despite this, according to Rumford there is a great cultural and scientific renaissance beginning by the end of the story.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Much of Pennsylvania descends into apocalyptic chaos as America falls, since there is no sufficiently strong unifying force to maintain order there, like the Christian Marines are in New England or the Landwehr in the Midwest.
  • Apocalypse How: America collapses after suffering roughly the following disasters: Political Correctness Gone Mad, federal tyranny, hyperinflation, superbug flues, and finally secession and civil war, culminating in the use of weapons of mass destruction on domestic soil. Then the country is wracked by general lawlessness, starvation and wars between the various successor states for years more to come. The complete death toll is never given, but must surely be in the tens of millions as an absolute minimum. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has its own problems, though these are sketched only vaguely.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Zig-zagged. Lind is more brutally honest than many writers about the consequences of general economic collapse (mass starvation and death, pandemics, heavy rationing and so on, and generally speaking, massively tanked living standards for everyone, including the wealthy), but the eventual recovery is probably still a little too quick and easy.
  • Appeal to Nature: The basis of Retroculture. As Kraft explains it, it is the antithesis of ideology, which distorts reality and thereby dooms its believers. Retroculture recognizes the facts of nature and builds constructively on them, which falls into a few obvious pitfalls considering they're the ones who get to choose what the facts of nature are.
  • Appeal to Tradition: Also a Retroculture mainstay, because of course it is.
  • Arc Words: The informal motto of the Christian Marines, which is often repeated—and fittingly so, as it sums up a good part of their philosophy as well as of the message of the book: Das Wesentliche ist die Tat. Rumford explains its meaning:
    Das Wesentliche ist die Tat: The Essential Thing is the Deed. Not the idea, not the desire, not the intention—the deed.
  • Arcadia: The Confederation is mainly an agrarian society, which is said to make it much more pleasant to live in than the urban one it replaces. Especially for African-Americans, with millions of them voluntarily leaving the horrible, crime-infested inner cities to make an honest living as sharecroppers, but it is true for most everyone else as well.
  • The Ark: The idea seems to be that Victoria is an island of stability and tradition during the collapse of civilization.
  • Armchair Military: The New Confederacy's military apparatus is presented as well-equipped, but lethargic and staff-heavy in the extreme. General Laclede lampshades it in a conversation with Rumford:
    Laclede: A most important question, Field Marshal Rumford. It is one which we have under study. Fourteen colonels in my G-3 section have been working on it for most of the summer. Those are all full colonels, I might add, not lieutenant colonels. We have more than fifty contractors and consultants supporting them. Confidentially –- this is the first my own staff has heard of this, and I apologize for surprising them –- President Yancey is thinking about appointing a Blue Ribbon Commission of retired senior officers to investigate the matter and give us the benefit of their recommendations. I can assure you, we are considering every possible aspect of the situation in the most thorough manner."
  • Armies Are Evil: Ultimately averted. Early in the story, this is very much the case, with the Federal military being useless political apparatchiks at best and corrupt gangsters in uniform at worst; only the militiamen are any good. However, after the collapse of the US, the Northern Confederation creates its own army, which is Good (or at least presented that way).
    • It's still zig-zagged, however, since their army is still very militia-like. Professional armies are seemingly always evil in this setting; the more professional and high-tech, the more evil, culminating in Azania's completely network-centric military.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Rumford arranges for the Blacks to kick off their coup and ethnic cleansing in Atlanta, confident that this will force the New Confederacy to finally act on their racial issues. Right up until the point someone asks him what his plan is if the government doesn't respond. After flailing around for an answer and asking Bill Kraft for help, they come around to nuking Atlanta.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Deconstructed in the Numero Uno Division. They are recruited from inner-city gangs as a sort of private army for the corrupt Secretary of Defense, and they are exactly as militarily ineffective and repulsively evil as you would imagine of a force of criminals given guns and uniforms.
  • Arrested for Heroism: When the Christian Marines attempt to sabotage the drug dealers' business with non-violent methods, many of their allies end up arrested by the corrupt authorities, who go for protecting the "rights" of the villains. This is one reason for why they increasingly drop the "non-" part later on.
  • Author Tract: very much this, given the straw liberals, the polite neo-Nazis and the correctness of the author's interpretation of Christianity, economics and the correct way to run a civilization.
  • Artificial Human: The new generation of Azanian children are this, having been cloned and grown in artificial wombs.
  • Artistic License – History: Studying history seriously leads Rumford to conclude that there is absolutely nothing truly new. All issues have already been debated by Greek philosophers, and even technology is just following tracks laid down by the time Napoleon was trying to conquer Europe. Serious examples of this come from the author himself, who describes America as the "freest" state in the world in the 1960s, something which Native Americans on reservations and black people suffering under segregation laws would likely disagree with.
  • Artistic License – Military: The Author Filibuster extends even here: in his non-fiction Lind insists that the US military has too many staff officers, doesn't study enough military history, and has forgotten the art of maneuver warfare, against all evidence to the contrary. This book includes:
    • Live-fire infantry training with offset aim alone preventing casualties, modern warships destroyed with spar torpedoes, Russian T-34s as the ultimate tank design for rear area strikes which are apparently the sole purpose of tanks, antiquated 1950s radar easily spotting stealth bombers, etc. etc. Platoon strength militia units with no logistics or coordination with each other are upheld as vastly superior to existing military, to the point of being called upon to train the actual military. At one point, the protagonist shows his contempt for the established military by sleeping through a briefing containing such useless trivia as local politics, road and weather conditions.
    • Also the hero, John Rumford's, Establishing Character Moment as a young US Marine is interrupting a ceremony honoring the Corps' war dead rather than let a female Marine participate. No woman fought at Iwo Jima, he insists, so no woman has a right to speak the words and honor the dead. In reality, women have been a part of the USMC since 1918, served in combat areas since Vietnam, and as of the story's beginning have been full and equal parts of all save small unit ground combat for over twenty years. There are no male, female, white, black etc. Marines, only Marines. Besides, disrupting a remembrance ceremony is far more disrespectful than any imagined slight. Exactly none of these points come up when his CO chews him out and he gets discharged, only that a congresswoman is hounding him to be inclusive. If anything, his fellow Marines seem to respect his stand on the issue.
    • Crossing over with Artistic License – History, Rumford also asserts that no army that has included female front-line combatants has ever been successful. Hilariously considering the above-mentioned idolization of the T-34, the same war that produced said very fine tank also saw the Soviets field female snipers, machine-gunners, tank crew, and combat pilots, the latter including a very famous all-female bomber regiment. In all, ninety women received the Gold Star Medal and the title Hero of the Soviet Union during World War II, most for service in front-line combat.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The EMP bomb is portrayed in a more than somewhat implausible manner. From the description, this seems to be a deliberate storytelling device.
  • As Long as There Is One Man: Bill Kraft's big speech to the effect that Prussia will never die, so long as men fight for her.
    "We were wiped off the map in 1947, but Prussia is more than a place. As Hegel understood, it is also an ideal. Prussians still exist, and so does the Prussian Army, a bit of it anyway. Now, it’s fighting again, here, for what it always fought for: for our old culture, against barbarism. Someday, we will win."
  • Ascended Fanboy: Terry, the former Marine aviator and aviation buff who made a fortune in real estate and fulfilled his dream—buying and restoring a real-life World War II jet bomber. He gets to use it, too, in the Confederate Civil War.
  • Assassination Attempt: Successfully carried out by Federal Government special forces operators against the Confederation's beloved Governor Adams. However, this doesn't break the rebellion; instead, it not only consolidates resistance, but paves the way for the hyper-competent and utterly ruthless William Kraft's rise to power.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The "Cultural Marxist" professors Kraft purges, who forced homosexuality and neo-paganism on their students. According to Rumford, everyone thinks it was a good deed to get rid of them.
      No one in the Confederation regretted the loss of the treasonous intellectual scum who, perhaps more than anyone else, bore the responsibility for what had happened to the old USA.
    • Likewise, the resistance leadership in Cascadia, proving to be only slightly less liberal and environmentally-conscious than the government they're fighting, have a bomb unceremoniously dropped on them by the protagonist, and none of the resistance fighters on the ground cared.
  • AstroTurf: Carried out by the Federal Government to appear more popular than they are, though as the system crumbles, they have to resort to increasingly crude methods. When they have to drum up a crowd to hear General Wesley's speech live when he takes over, they end up "paying every bum, drunkard and whore for miles around to turn out and cheer."
  • Attack Drone: Drone planes are used by the federal government, and later on by Azania, in realistic near-future roles.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: The attractive crossdressers who seduce the villainous (but not homosexual) Governor Hokem and record this monkey business, thereby helping the Christian Marines destroy his political career. They are good enough at what they do for him not to realize their true nature until far too late, and to consider them "gorgeous" girls in the meantime.
  • Author Appeal: There are a lot of trains in this story. Guess who used to write about revamping public transport? Also Retroculture, which all Victoria spontaneously adopts.
  • Author Tract: The entire book can be read as William Lind's dream of waging war on all the (ethnic, political, lobbyist, what have you) interest groups he sees as ruining the country. Everyone who disagrees with the concept of Retroculture is either on the same side as the stereotypical enemy groups, or a member of the stereotyped enemy groups.
  • Authority in Name Only: General Wesley and his military government eventually become this, after most of their remaining troops desert them. They're still the (semi-)legitimate government of the United States—it's just that the United States no longer exists.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Rumford is often able to figure out what the enemy is doing from simple observation and the application of inductive/deductive logic. Granted, sometimes his analysis effectively amounts to Insane Troll Logic, but even then it often works.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Azanian and Cascadian leaders are not just fanatical, but downright crazy. Also the Aztecs, literally.
    • Kraft deciding to purge Victoria of "Cultural Marxist" professors is one thing. It takes a special kind of crazy/evil to dress up the executioners as Knights Templar and slaughter them with swords and spears while Dies Irae plays in the background, all on live television.
  • Bad Boss: Several, but the Cascadian goddess is perhaps the worst. Her initial reaction to believing an order has been disobeyed is literally to look for a victim to have sacrificed.
  • Badass Army: The Confederation's rugged militias, which are able to defeat both the Feds and the Azanians, in spite of the great material superiority of the enemy. Somehow.
  • Badass Boast: Kraft's titanic speech against the Cultural Marxist subversives prior to their execution is a sort of heroic Knight Templar example. Of course, given that this is literally Nazi propaganda updated to the modern era, YMMV on this. The final lines:
    "You are condemned, let me hasten to add, not by me alone, nor merely by those who live today in our Confederation. Your jury is every man and woman who for three thousand years has labored and fought and died for Western culture, the culture you sought to sacrifice to your own pathetic egos.

    "And that jury’s sentence is death."
  • Badass Bookworm: Rumford. Ex-Marine, guerrilla leader, and eventually minister, diplomat and general of the most successful American successor state, who has books for his main interest and has read everything from Tacitus to Tolkien.
    • From a slightly different perspective, Rumford is in exactly one firefight, to which he contributes nothing, and all of his victories are best explained by the enemy's juggling idiot balls. And his interpretations of many of the authors he has read is at times somewhat idiosyncratic.
  • Badass Bystander: The old woman who beats down an armed gangster with her umbrella.
  • Badass Creed: The Christian Marines have a semi-official motto, picked up from Imperial German strategists, that has already been mentioned: Das Wesentliche ist die Tat.
  • Badass Crew: The original Christian Marines before they become a larger militia, a brotherhood of military veterans determined to clean up their crime-infested neighborhoods together.
    And so it began, the Christian Marine Corps, the general staff for our side in the second civil war. I still have the piece of paper that went around the barroom table that day. It has twenty-two names on it. Seventeen of those men gave their lives in the war that was to come. I'm the only one left, now. But those who died did so knowing they'd made a difference.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: When not in uniform, Kraft typically appears well dressed, often in tailor-cut, double-breasted suits.
  • Badass Preacher: Father Dimitri, the Russian priest who joins the Christian Marines. Before he became a missionary for the Russian Orthodox church, he was in the Russian Naval Infantry.
  • Baddie Flattery: Leader von Braun's high opinion of Rumford's military leadership, and at least some parts of his politics, is expressed this way.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: Most of the early Christian Marines (though not Matthews or Rumford himself) are military veterans presently employed as law enforcement officers in some capacity or other. Naturally, this also later aids their infiltration of the police forces.
  • Balkanize Me: The US splits into no less than five successor states, often separated by hundreds of miles of anarchic wasteland roamed by "orcs."
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The whole plot is this, on one level. More or less every group of political extremists in the exaggerated future United States gets a chance to build up their version of Utopia the way they wish it were. But then Reality Ensues on them in varying degrees: the "PC liberal" utopia collapses into race riots; the "Green Luddite" utopia becomes, well, primitive in the extreme; the "Nazi" utopia promptly liberalizes when the people get to speak their mind; and so on.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Not played completely straight, but generally speaking, the villains are far less attractive than the heroes. There are some exceptions, like Captain Halsing and at least some of the Azanians, but generally speaking, these also tend to be the villains who also have at least some redeeming qualities otherwise.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Halsing provides a Rare Male Example by appearing unexpectedly clean and well-kempt after a long and arduous trek through the wilderness. This is specifically commented on, and showcases his competence and fastidious nature. More symbolically, it also illustrates the insistent neatness and orderliness his fascist state represents.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis:
    • The United States, according to Rumford and his allies. Founded as a free republic based on the Constitution, Christianity and Anglo-Saxon culture, it eventually ended up a tyrannical, atheistic, multicultural cesspit (this is, of course, based on the assumption that "Give me your tired, your poor..." is antithetical to American values).
    • From another point of view, Rumford and the Christian Marines themselves, who were soldiers trained to fight for the United States Government and its liberal values, but turned against it and used their military skills to help bring it down instead.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Being a well-educated, high-flying lesbian Dark Action Girl in an evil high-tech, near-future society makes for an empty life and does not make you happy. True fulfillment is found in being married to a Christian gentleman in a good 19th-century-style society and working on his farm.
  • Being Good Sucks: If you're serious about it. While Rumford manages to change society very much for the better, at least from his own point of view, and receives due recognition for it, he is never quite satisfied with his achievements. He is also haunted by the bleakness of the past, what America suffered and what his own side had to do to achieve as much as they did. Though he would not have done anything differently if he had to do it again.
  • Being Human Sucks: Especially being a woman, at least from the Azanian POV. So they embrace transhumanism to eliminate "oppressive" human biology (such as pregnancy and motherhood) and become truly free.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Rumford thinks this is true of most of the Confederation's enemies.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The Retroculturists, who secretly back the Maine First Party and the Christian Marines. There's also the Monarchist conspiracies abroad, which they're in touch with, that work to reinstate the Romanoff and Hohenzollern imperial families.
  • Berserk Button: You DON'T tell Kraft that he's fat.
    • Or commit lese majesté against his beloved sovereign.
  • Big Bad: In a realistic touch, actually averted. With its numerous enemies, the Confederation faces many little and medium-sized bads, but there is no single evil mastermind behind all America's woes, just various crooks who do their best to take advantage of them.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Citizens of Victoria are actively encouraged to spy on their neighbors and ostracize any who use hated modern technology. Notably this is not a government edict, but encouraged as a social norm, because local communities are supposed to be more moral and trustworthy than a state apparatus. Before it's fall, the federal government had definite shades of this with the anti-smoking laws and armed IRS agents kicking in doors and demanding receipts for every object in view.
  • Big Damn Villains:
    • Early in the story (before the all-out collapse), the Christian Marines are making a perfectly good start in their low-key "war" against corrupt governor Snidely Hokem's regime, but are still well short of actually bringing him down. Instead, this is done by some effeminate gay characters, who dress up as women, get friendly with him, and get it on tape, which results in his ignominious resignation. So the right-wing heroes' first major victory is actually thanks to a couple of devious crossdressers doing their stuff. Alas, they don't get much credit for it later on.
    • Later, when chaos reigns, von Braun's Nazi militia restore order and ruthlessly clean out the cannibals and Cultural Marxists from the territories they control, leaving these areas peaceful and prosperous once their regime is eventually succeeded by a more moderate one. They do get some credit for their good deeds (such as they are) in the transitional phase.
  • Big Good: William Kraft, who unites the American Retroculturists, reactionaries and sympathetic right-wingers in general in the battle against Cultural Marxism and liaises with the movement's allies abroad.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: When New York joins the Northern Confederacy, Rumford has one requirement-they don't want "the Babylon on the Hudson." Fortunately, most New Yorkers don't care for the city either, and kick it out of their state. At one point, they even discuss selling it to Puerto Rico, though nothing comes of this.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Several German quotations aren't translated into English. At one point, Rumford begins loudly protesting his innocence (in a presumed prank) in French, and Kraft tells him to 'cut out that Froggy talk.'
  • Black and Gray Morality: The Confederation is very much Good Is Not Soft, and also very much not tolerant or politically correct by early 21st century standards, but their enemies are various flavors of cannibals, genocidal Luddites, tribalists, crazy religious cults, over-the-top leftist totalitarians and freaking Nazis, making them, at the very least, the lesser evil.
  • Black Humor: Examples abound, mainly in the form of extremely dark irony as the Christian Marines and their allies lampshade the horrible events they experience. Here's how one officer reacts to the infamous nuking of Atlanta:
    "I never did like that city."
  • Blatant Lies: Played straight by the villains, who lie endlessly in their propaganda. Averted by the heroes; they have their own spin doctors, but make sure to tell the people the truth. Rumford points out that this is really the smart as well as the honorable thing to do: Lies backfire when they are found out, whereas a true propaganda is invulnerable.
    The first rule of good propaganda is to make sure the facts are accurate.
  • Bling of War: The New Confederacy plays this completely straight, with gorgeous dress uniforms, sashes, orders and medals and general military pageantry appropriate to the Victorian period. Averted in the Northern Confederation, where uniforms are much less elaborate.
  • Blue Blood: Rumford's love interest, Maria Mercedes de Dio de Alva, who is a descendant of one of the oldest and most distinguished families of Spain.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Christian Patel, the intelligence officer, is a stereotypical computer geek.
  • Book-Ends: The novel begins and closes with the execution of a female bishop for heresy.
  • Bored To Sleep: Rumford falls asleep during an allied military briefing, to show his contempt for Military Bureaucracy, and remarks on the manners his hosts showed in not commenting on it.
  • Both Order and Chaos Are Dangerous: While order is better, even totalitarian order — since chaos equals oblivion —, too much of it becomes oppressive and dysfunctional, stifling the human spirit. The heroes attempts to chart out a middle course between the dangers of disintegration (e.g., the New South) on the one hand and too-regimented authoritarianism (e.g., the Landwehr) on the other, as they struggle to preserve and rebuild what they can of the dream that was America.
  • Bread and Circuses: America in the years before the collapse. As long as the food stamps continue to flow and TV keeps running, the Apathetic Citizens remain somnolent. When the government runs out of borrowed money to pay for the show, however, chaos ensues. Rumford and Kraft ensure that this can never happen again by eliminating all welfare handouts in the Confederation.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: A large part of the horror of Victoria is how offhand a manner horrible things are brought up and left alone.
    • For instance, after describing how race relations in Victoria work, including Blacks being forbidden from raising families in the cities, Rumford says you can drive through a peaceful rural community, and see the little Black children playing at recess from their one-room schoolhouses, you just might hear a popular song about how any criminal caught stealing will go straight to the hangman.
      It’s always been true that children learn their lessons best at play.
    • When Rumford goes to visit Atlanta in the New Confederacy, he travels on a lovingly made, luxurious old-style steam train set, much like the Orient Express. Apart from the slightly eerie retro vibes, the only weird thing about the train is the name of the locomotive, revealed at the end of the chapter: The John Wilkes Booth.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Older is always better, because Retroculture. Thus Bill Kraft has no issues with his analog, vacuum-tube television set (despite the story starting over thirty years after the last analog broadcast in 2009). Of special note, the Tsar's T-34 WWII-surplus tanks are apparently the epitome of tank design because they're so reliable with great gas mileage (they're really not) and should never engage in main battle anyways-tank tactics are meat for deep rear-area raids.
  • Broken Pedestal: Rumford has always believed in the US Marine Corps, but loses his faith in it when his CO sides with the feminists against him. He was always hostile to the corruption in Washington, but now he realizes that is has permeated the Corps as well. So he quits and begins his search for new ideals to believe in.
  • Brutal Honesty: William Kraft always tells it the way it is, or at least the way he sees it. Between friends, that is; he can be quite manipulative in his political schemes.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Governor Kraft is generally presented as a wise and beloved ruler, but his Prussianism is eccentric to say the least by ordinary American standards.
  • Burn the Witch!: The story begins and ends with the burning at the stake for heresy of a female Episcopalian bishop. She is contemptuous of her contemners throughout, and refuses to renounce her faith in Astarte, even though it would save her life.
  • Bury Your Gays: Averted in the narrow sense, in spite of the Confederation's strong anti-homosexuality policies, as the plot-significant gay characters either survive or have their fates Left Hanging. Played straight in another way with the war against Azania, however, which is basically this on a national scale.
  • Byronic Hero: Rumford, as a tragic, passionate romantic revolutionist who will do whatever it takes to bring about the Retroculture utopia.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: In Cascadia, the Paleopitus depend on foreign mercenaries, mostly Swedes and Czechs, to protect their persons and enforce their rule.
  • Call to Agriculture: Rumford himself is a personal example. The people of Victoria also feel it, especially the blacks of the inner city urban wastelands.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': You may think it's a little harmless fun to have a computer, or watch TV, or own a car that can go more than thirty miles on a full tank of gas, but you're actually contributing to the decline and fall of Western Civilization, and in Victoria you will be caught out and ostracized by your peers until you correct the deviant behavior.
  • Capital Offensive: Carried out by both sides in the Second Civil War. The Federal Government eventually try to advance on the Confederation capital in Augusta, Maine, while the rebels and their allies in the New Confederacy push on Washington, D.C. after this last-ditch effort fails.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: An article of faith for several of the villain factions. Averted in the Confederation, which does not dislike capitalism as such, though it does hate the Cultural Marxist bankers and stockbrokers of Wall Street, the Fed, and similar clusters of financial malignity.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: As presented by the story, the environmentalists, the feminists and even the Nazis are misguided, but they at least have various degrees of good intentions, however horrible the consequences of their ideologies turn out in practice. The Cultural Marxists, on the other hand, are driven purely by envious malevolence and spiteful hatred of all that is good, true and beautiful in their quest to subvert and destroy Western Civilization.
  • The Cartel: An even more horrible version than most, with gangsters worshiping the Aztec gods overtly taking over much of Mexico.
  • Central Theme:
    • The alienating nature of present modernity, and how various ideologies and groups of people attempt to respond to it.
    • The nature of power, how it is earned and exercised, and how much of it is really illusory.
    • Human nature, its character and its malleability (or lack thereof), as well as the theory and practice of how "equal" men truly are in various ways.
    • The nature of war and the struggle for existence, what men will do to survive and the price they pay for it.
    • And finally, the power of Truth, which is the core theme that underlies them all. Truth and honesty set men free: an order built on untruth makes men miserable and will fail, one built on truth makes men glad and will endure.
    • Multiculturalism = bad. Many characters who aren't white, heterosexual, and male are portrayed as ridiculously over-the-top evil to progress the author's viewpoint.
  • Character Filibuster: The book has a few, notably by William Kraft. The ultimate one is his speech on democracy and Retroculture late in the book, where he argues against those of his overzealous followers who want to scrap democracy in the Confederation and enshrine Retroculture in law by emphasizing his faith in the good moral sense of the common people.
  • Character Shilling: Rumford (and everyone else) is never less than effusive in his praise of Bill Kraft's genius and class. Rumford himself is called a powerful symbol of resistance to the corrupt order, and the greatest soldier of his time.
  • The Chessmaster: William Kraft is a heroic (or at least, aligned with the protagonists) example, staying abreast of the domestic and international situation through his private contacts and manipulating Confederation policy even before he becomes Governor.
  • Chessmaster Sidekick: Downplayed somewhat with Rumford. While he is not quite up to Kraft's level of the game, his political machinations that turn the Christian Marines from a dozen angry veterans meeting in a tavern to a major multi-State political machine remain extremely impressive by any realistic standard. And in the purely military realm, he is arguably Kraft's superior, at any rate certainly his equal, by the end of the story.
  • Church Militant: The Christian Marines explicitly fight for 'Judeo-Christian values' and the Order of St. Louis is formed as part of an effort to unite all of Christianity in a global war against Islam.
  • Church Police: The Christian Marines are explicitly formed with the goal of making the Ten Commandments the law of the land.
  • Cigar Chomper: Rumford, who even makes a point of it (in opposition to the past regime's totalitarian anti-tobacco policy).
  • Cincinnatus: Rumford, who is a farmer primarily and The Hero only while he is needed. Even invoked in-story.
  • The City vs. the Country: Lind is very, ah, firmly on the side of the country, viewing cities as a source of noise, filth and moral decay. Certainly all the Blacks exiled to country farms embrace their new lives with gusto.
  • Civil War: Obviously. Before states even start seceding, there is a shooting war over smoking bans.
  • Clark Kenting: When he travels in the South, Rumford counts on local-style clothes, glasses and suppressing his Maine accent to avoid being recognized.
  • Clock King: Downplayed somewhat with Azania, who do not have the clock motif, but a lot of the characteristics otherwise. Their centralized, super-computerized military has the best intelligence services in the setting, and a premade plan for almost everything—But little ability by most officers to think on their feet, which means that they perform poorly whenever their enemies manage to do something they did not predict.
  • Clone Army: Technically, Azania's armed forces are gradually becoming this. Subverted, in that the clones are individually designed by their parents, not made according to one template ordered by the military authorities, since cloning is Azania's normal mode of reproduction.
  • Colonel Badass: Herr Oberst Kraft of the Kaiserliche Preußische Armee in Exil, who leads his Panzerbataillon from the front in Berlinerblau dress uniform and Pickelhaube. Colonel Malone of the Azanian Air Force is said to be one, but we never see her fight.
  • Combat Pragmatism: The Christian Marines use hostages and human shields to great effect in the early stages of the war.
  • The Commandments: For the Christian Marines, the Constitution and the Ten Commandments are the foundations of American Civilization. Though they don't agree with many of the amendements to the Constitution, kicking out those. The Second Amendement, however, is of course even more carved in stone than the rest of the text.
    • The commitment to the Constitution is somewhat questionable, not least because the founding, core ideals of the Christian Marines is to set the Ten Commandments as the law of the land.
  • Condescending Compassion: Rumford very genuinely feels sorry for the black community because of all their crimes, drug abuse and cultural poverty. After all, most victims of black crimes are fellow blacks.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: In the Azanian War, both sides consider the other to be this. The Victorians are horrified at what they see as Azania's unnatural, technological dystopia, where even children are decanted rather than naturally born, and marvel that anyone can live like this; the Azanians, meanwhile, think women in reactionary Victoria are little better off than slaves, and acquiesce in their sad fates only due to mind-numbing abuse.
  • Confusion Fu: Fourth Generation Warfare heavily incorporates this. The basic idea is to do what the enemy doesn't expect, and/or can't defend himself against.
  • The Conscience: Downplayed, since he's a quite ruthless military man himself, but Rumford sometimes tries to moderate Bill Kraft's more violent tendencies, for example arguing against the Dartmouth purge and the war against Azania. He is rarely successful, however.
  • The Conspiracy: Everything from the Declaration of the Rights of Man, to Madonna and rap music, to feminism, gay marriage and neopaganism is "Cultural Marxism." Part of a plot to weaken Western culture and morality and set the people up for a dictatorial communist-in-all-but-name state. The UN (specifically UNESCO, which funds education and the arts) is a large part of this. It's unclear how Islam fits in, as Muslims are built up as the mortal enemies of all Christendom, but are pretty hostile to all these ideas themselves.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Roughly, the book's two major story arcs can be divided into "Before Apocalypse" and "After". The villains are quite different.
    • In the first, Rumford and his allies fight against the US federal government, which is immensely powerful in theory, but terminally crippled by corruption, mismanagement, Insane Troll Logic economic policies and every conceivable sort of Political Correctness Gone Mad. As far as the raw resources available go, they can easily crush the Confederation on paper, but given how dysfunctional and increasingly fractured the country is becoming, they can only ever mobilize a fraction of their available forces against them, and often not make effective use even of those due to lack of will, political meddling or passive-aggressive sabotage from within.
    • Then, in the post-American chaos, the Confederation faces various enemies, but the most serious threats are Leader von Braun's neo-Nazi Midwestern state, and then the West Coast's Democratic Republic of Azania, which becomes the ultimate "villain" faction. The former is basically the Confederation's own dark mirror image, which takes its Right-Wing Militia Fanatic style much too far and straight into unambiguously evil (though efficient) extremes; the latter, meanwhile, is its ultimate ideological antithesis, a transhumanist Lady Land. Whereas the Feds were (with some exceptions) usually either incompetent or corrupt, these enemies are rather leaner and meaner, more of the No-Nonsense Nemesis and Elite Army variety, though each in turn in its own way: the Nazis have a truly excellent old-school military establishment, with well-organized logistics, good officers and doctrine and first-rate troops, while Azania has the most advanced high-tech military in the setting, employing drones, guided missiles, AI assistance for the staff and various other gadgets.
  • Cool Airship: Employed by the Confederation.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Judge Frylass, who is the Boston gangsters' chief ally within the judicial system.
  • Corrupt Church: The church(es) in the Northern Confederation are viewed this way by the enemy nations. Internally, they are considered harsh but just defenders of Christianity against the Devil's works, much as is also the case with the secular government.
  • Corrupt Politician: Governor Hokem, as well as several others early in the story.
  • The Corrupter: As Kraft sees it, the Cultural Marxist academics, who attempt to break down Western Civilization by promoting egalitarianism, feminism, sexual nihilism and other ideologies that may feel good for the individual but invariably harm the greater, common good of society.
  • The Coup: Soon after independence, one is attempted by Governor Bowen himself, trying to overthrow the lawful government together with Deep Green militants.
  • Crapsack World: Halfway through the book, America is in post-apocalyptic chaos and most of the world is seeing similar degrees of disruption from wars, pandemics, terrorism and the collapse of global trade. With a few commendable exceptions, such functioning states as still exist are all various flavors of dictatorships, ranging from absolute monarchies to fascist dystopias.
    • The ending is absolutely this if you aren't a heterosexual white male.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Kraft always has a plan. When the Deep Greeners revolt, he not only knows about it before the government, he also has a non-violent (or non-lethal, at least) solution ready for the crisis.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: When the Muslims occupy Boston, all Christians who refuse to renounce their faith are crucified.
  • Crushing the Populace: The Federal Government, in its terminal stages. The Confederation also offer a few heroic examples of their own, since they believe in thoroughly pacifying enemy territories once conquered.
  • Culture Clash: Present from the introduction and periodically reaffirmed. Though in this novel there is only the true and good (Christian, European) culture, and all the forces scheming to destroy it, the "Cultural Marxists" consisting of an odd bunch of liberals, feminists, LGBTQ, academics, journalists, environmentalists, actual communists and federalists.
  • Culture Police: The creation of such is rejected, lest government become too intrusive. Instead, people are encouraged to ostracize those who fail to adhere to Retroculture.
  • Cultured Badass: Rumford, who has studied history, philosophy and literature, appreciates classical music and writes haiku, and is also a former Marine, eventually literal crusader knight, and recognized as the greatest general of his times.
  • Cunning Linguist: In addition to his native English, Rumford knows German, and apparently at least a little Spanish, Latin, and Russian. Justified at least in part by his military education and experience, as well as his private interest in the classics. William Kraft likewise knows German and French, and tends to pepper his dialogue with European quotes and idioms.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Pretty much anytime the Northern Confederation/Victoria fights anyone. Special notice must be given to the Numero Uno division, which was surrounded and surrendered with barely a shot fired, the air battles with Azania wherein female pilots often panicked and fled or crashed when faced with any opposition, and the Battle of Seabasticook, where federal troops are ambushed and captured by plaid-dressed militiamen clinging to the underside of a bridge.
  • Cure Your Gays: The Azanians who surrender are cured of their lesbianism and feminism by Mrs. Bingham's women's auxiliary, so as to be fit for life in the Confederation. It is offhandedly mentioned that the ones that do not change get sold to the Muslims as slaves.
  • Dark Messiah: Rumford becomes a heroic (or rather anti-heroic) example, once he really begins his journey to greatness. In his early characterization, he is mostly just frustrated and confused by the Political Correctness Gone Mad of the dystopian setting; then he takes his first step by immersing himself in Greek philosophy and reactionary literature under the guidance of Professor Sanft. When he joins the Christian Marines, and especially once he comes under William Kraft's influence, everything begins to fall together. Realizing his previously untapped phenomenal charismatic potential, Rumford takes over the tiny group of right-wing veterans and transforms it, over a couple of years, into a secret society that infiltrates the police, government and military and builds up major political clout, including a regular political party. Once a major economic crisis comes along, he is ready to act and lead his men as the vanguard of the revolution to bring in the new utopia promised by Retroculture.
  • Dark Shepherd: Kraft is this to the Confederation, in between purging the Marxists and enforcing Retroculture through peer pressure in the critical early stages of the revolution. He is successful, according to Rumford, making the Confederation a utopia that thrives long after his own death.
  • Dawn of an Era: Several, usually heralded by Kraft's mighty speeches. The ultimate one is probably that which inaugurates the mature Retroculture system in the final chapters.
    • The prologue makes it clear that Rumford, at least, marks the dawn of the Reclamation by the burning of the woman bishop for heresy (she was a woman, who claimed to be a bishop). Though the ending did elaborate that she denied the divinity of Jesus Christ and rejected the authority of her fellow bishops to judge her.
    • In the last chapter, every faction of Christianity lays aside their differences, the most visible religious leaders in a mutual laying of hands ceremony, to declare a global war to drive Islam out of the Mediterranean.
  • Days of Future Past: Between Retroculture and the monarchist revival, Victoria has strong tendencies toward this.
  • Death by Cameo: Jane Fonda appears briefly just to die in a nuclear fireball.
  • Death by Racism: Either inverted or played straight by the Federal Government, depending on your point of view, due to the Afrocentric Secretary of Defense, whose prejudices result in resounding and humiliating defeat (and death).
  • Decisive Battle: The battle with the Numero Uno Division, which largely decides the Civil War in favor of the fledgling Confederation and makes a major contribution toward the unraveling of the Federal Government as a whole.
  • Deconstruction: Of the techno-thriller genre as usually written by Tom Clancy and his epigones. Whereas in such stories the glories of American technology will usually win the day against the Commies/terrorists/Japanese/whatever, Victoria has the high-tech in the hands of a villainous and dystopian near-future American regime, and builds on recent anti-government insurrections in real life to have the low-tech and generally resource-poor freedom fighters win in spite of their underdog status.
  • Deep South: After the central government falls, there arises a restored New Confederacy which invokes every related stereotype. Unfortunately, it is itself wracked with civil strife at first- between the "New South" who favor modern life and a system much like the defunct US, and the "Old South" which is agrarian and set in older traditions. With Rumford's help, the Old South definitively wins out.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: The primary defensive tactic of the Christian Marines is not to hold their borders, but draw the enemy in and ambush them. This works to great effect at the Battle of Seabasticook, and later (on a strategic scale) against the Numero Uno Division.
  • Defiant Captive: The elderly Mrs. Lodge, when captured by the Islamic militants and forced to convert or die. She makes it very clear that she will not convert—calmly and politely, of course, as a lady ought to, but all the same.
    • Also the female Episcopalian bishop in the prologue, Cloaca Devlin, who professes to worship Astarte and Isis rather than Christ, yet still claims she is a Christian. She is not polite, however, but swears and spits at the officials who supervise her trial for heresy. Eventually, she is burned at the stake for her crimes. In spite of the similarity between their own religious intolerance and that of the Islamists, the Victorians are never presented as wrong for doing this.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: Rumford is portrayed as offering a non-violent example of this early in the story, when he refuses to accept that women have any business in the USMC. For boldly and frankly indicating as much at the Remembrance ceremony, and refusing to apologize when his politically correct CO leans on him, he is discharged. Most of his fellow Marines are said to agree with him, but few dare to publicly support him for fear of the same.
  • Dehumanization: Carried out by all sides in most of the wars. In the civil war, the federal government dehumanizes the New England secessionists as irredeemable racists, terrorists, bigots, etc; the Christian Marines in turn dehumanize the politically correct leaders as depraved madmen, and their gangster foot soldiers as worthless "orcs".
    • The reader would appear meant to agree more with the latter.
  • Dehumanizing Insult: Violent criminals and other and other persons of similarly worthless moral character are "orcs". These are mostly members of minority groups, with even the Nazis getting more respect in the narrative.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: While many of the villains are simply greedy and corrupt hypocrites, the Landwehr and the Azanians both have reasonably coherent ideologies, though they still look alien and "evil" to Rumford and his allies. The former follow a version of Nietzschean philosophy that idealizes strength, will, heroism and racial purity (in opposition to borgeouis, Christian values), whereas the latter are transhumanist separatist feminists trying to build a Themyscira-like society.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: When the secessionist commandos attack the Federal air force base early in the story, one of the devices they use is a beer truck with faked credentials to get some operatives past the outer security grid.
  • Democracy Is Bad: Some of the Retroculturists believe this, arguing that as soon as the masses get comfortable with the franchise in any society, they'll become corrupt and just vote for Bread and Circuses, with no regard for the common good. Rumford thinks they sort of have at least half a point, but never goes beyond Democracy Is Flawed, himself, thinking any sort of authoritarian regime would be even worse. Meanwhile, Kraft successfully defies this, arguing down their anti-democracy position with an emotional speech emphasizing his belief in the basic goodness of the common man.
  • Democracy Is Flawed: Both the corrupt procedural democracy of the late Federal government and the direct democracy of the Confederation are shown to have their problems. The former leads to dysfunction, chaos and, ultimately, social collapse; the latter is not quite as destructive, but nevertheless allows the white majority population to run roughshod over the human rights that racial minorities typically enjoy in more liberal democracies, implementing Draconian laws against black criminality and unconditionally deporting rioting Puerto Ricans out of the country.
  • Depraved Homosexual: The "nicest" LGBTTQQIAAP people seen are manipulative crossdressers and violently misandristic lesbians. It only gets worse from there on. In particular, during the Maine Arc, it is strongly implied that the organized gay lobby is made up largely of pedophiles who want nothing more than unrestricted access to other people's children for sinister purposes.
  • Destination Defenestration: One of the corrupt federal officials is thrown out of a window and killed by a mob of angry citizens.
  • Destructive Saviour: Rumford and his local Neo-Confederate allies, for nuking Atlanta to defeat a local uprising and make a strong statement.
  • Determinator: Hauptsturmfuehrer Halsing never gives up, as his dramatic escape from Confederation captivity proves.
  • Determined Homesteader: Rumford tries to be one, initially, after leaving the Corps, by reclaiming his ancestral flooded lands for a small farm. However, government bureaucrats sabotage his every effort through obstructionist environmental regulations.
  • Diesel Punk: The setting increasingly becomes this, as modern high-tech items are worn out and replaced. On the other hand, this also means that the "heroes" get to use some pulpy Super Science, as well.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Rumford in the early chapters, when he is dragged before Colonel Ryan to answer for his anti-feminist prank. Instead of faking contrition, he attempts to justify himself by denouncing feminism in the Corps. That goes about as well as might be expected.
  • Dirty Commies: The Marxists in the story, needless to say, are villains. Rumford thinks the Communists are even worse than the Nazis, not least because they killed many more people. Of course, as "Cultural Marxists" liberal academia shares in responsibility for these crimes.
    As a butcher and a tyrant, Hitler ran a distant second to Stalin. That didn’t excuse him, but I found it difficult to put a higher moral value on six million Jews than on eight million Ukrainian Christians, not to mention the other 52 million killed by Soviet communism. Or the 78 million Chinese and Tibetans killed by its Maoist strain.
    • Though through "Cultural Marxism" the definition of "communism" seems to have stretched to encompass all manner of people Rumford doesn't like, primarily leftist intellectuals, feminists and all forms of multiculturalism.
  • Disaster Democracy: The Confederation, though it is a democracy only in the sense that political decisions are submitted to the vote, not that they necessarily guarantee any universal human rights, as most democracies are nowadays commonly expected to do.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: So many examples, Victoria could swap its subtitle for "Disproportionate Retribution: The Book."
    • Every villain faction justifies its atrocities as retribution for one sort of historic injustice or another. The US Government starts by sending in militarized federal police to subdue Mainers who do not want newly paroled federal convicts as neighbors, and becomes increasingly totalitarian as it decays, beginning to randomly confiscate the movable property of targeted citizens who cannot show a paper trail for every item. As the Civil War escalates, they stoop to assassinating Confederation leaders and de facto excusing murder and rape by their colored troops as justified revenge on whites for structural racism and oppression. Similarly, in the New Confederacy, "Big Daddy" Tsombe ravages all of New Orleans to strike back against historical white supremacy, and the leaders of the Commune in Atlanta launch a genocide of whites and Asians for the same reason after they take over. Among the later successor states, Cascadia punishes even minor environmental misdemeanors with bizarre tortures, while Azania jails any man who so much as jokes about their system in public, and tries to exterminate all of North America with nuclear weapons when they lose the war against the Confederation.
    • The good guys themselves also indulge in it. Beginning with a federal judge tarred and feathered for ruling against the heroes, the governor kidnapped and forced to wait out his term as a prisoner on a boat for ignoring a grassroots recall petition, and culminating in soldiers who fight Victoria taken as hostages, war criminals hanged without trial, or Azanian diehards sold into Sexual Slavery, nuclear retribution to a major insurgency and genocide in Atlanta, apocalyptic plagues in revenge for the Caliphate's bioplague attacks, and wars to the extinction of whole cultures and peoples (again, Azania).
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: First appears in the mouth of Professor Sanft, who introduces Rumford to the concept of a culture war and cultural Marxism. Both Rumford and Kraft smoke pipes as well, though Rumford tends to prefer cigars.
  • Divide and Conquer: The primary strategy of the Northern Confederation is to stand back and let the enemy collapse under their own multicultural differences and incompetence. Aided by the odd quiet military intervention.
  • Divided States of America: After the fall of the Federal Government, this becomess the basic premise of the story.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The Azanian leaders, when facing defeat by the Confederation, prefer launching a full-scale nuclear suicide strike to surrendering.
  • Do with Him as You Will: After capturing the war criminals of the Numero Uno Division, Rumford wants to put them on trial. Kraft offers the simpler solution of merely turning them over to their former victims, the inhabitants of the towns they ravaged, and letting them do the rest.
  • Does Not Like Men: Azania, as a whole. Rumford and his peers outright state their belief that not only they, but most feminists are either lesbians or women who were romantically hurt and turned bitter towards men.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Rumford's early career (charismatic military veteran founding a tiny populist political party that grows explosively, lecturing on propaganda and organization, building a militia to clean up in a chaotic society and finally launching a political coup) bears more than a passing resemblance to Adolf Hitler's first few years in politics, even concerning some specific incidents and items. Given the author's demonstrated great interest in European history otherwise, this is unlikely to be entirely coincidental. Granted, Rumford's right wing libertarian-ish ideology is quite different from fascism, and he spells out his disagreements with Nazi thought at length when he and Kraft discuss politics with Halsing later in the book... Though he still considers the Landwehr Nazis more of a Worthy Opponent than the liberals he fought earlier.
  • Don't Create a Martyr: As part of his lessons on effective propaganda, Rumford emphasizes that martyring enemies is extremely bad optics. If someone must be executed, it should be done in such a way that he gets no chance to become one, either by vilifying or humiliating him as appropriate so no one will sympathize with him, or else just merely having him disappear quietly, without attribution. Also, less ruthlessly, he prefers a convert to a victim, and pardons several enemies who are genuinely contrite and willing to switch sides.
  • Double Standard: The Confederation actively enforces early 20th century social structures and expectations, leading to a fair amount of this.
  • The Dragon: General Wesley, Army Chief of Staff and later Chairman of the JCS, is one to President Warner in the first part of the book, and shows certain Starscreamish tendencies. After Warner and his cabinet are killed in a very suspicious-looking terrorist attack, he briefly becomes the Dragon Ascendant.
  • Drink Order: Various character types are reflected by their drinks. Colonel McMoster has his classy Bourbon, William Kraft prefers old and rare European wines, and Rumford is more of a beer guy.
  • Drugs Are Bad: As Rumford explains. And in the Confederation, the penalty for any drug-related crime is death.
  • Dystopia Is Hard: But apparently worthwhile, Rumford writes quite the paen to how the hardships or poverty and want in Victoria scour away the sin, decadence and delusions of the Old United States. Noting in particular the rise of churches throughout the countryside and the tearing down of all modern architecture. However, the hardships are merely a temporary phase in the Confederation's nation-building, with Retroculture soon ensuring a prosperous and thriving economy.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: The motivation of the Cultural Marxists, who want to make society as dysfunctional and depressing as possible out of sheer, inexplicable hatred for Western Civilization and its traditional peoples. Averted by all other villains, who tend more toward either more down-to-earth selfishness and greed, or (surprisingly, more often) various flavors of flawed but sincerely held Well-Intentioned Extremist ideas.
  • Dystopian Edict: After being taken over by megalomaniacs, the Cascadian Paleopitus outlaws laughter, judging that it unduly wastes air, one of Nature's precious treasures
  • Eagle Squadron:
    • The New Confederacy contributes the Jefferson Davies Brigade to the Northern Confederation's war with Azania: a unit of volunteers on leave from its regular army, paid for by conservative Confederate women who oppose Azania's Feminist regime. Meanwhile, the Mexicans send troops to assist Azania—Though not because they like the feminism, they just hate the Confederation.
    • And prior to this, the Imperial Japanese Navy leased out a (very) nominally private carrier task force to the Confederation as part of a proxy war with China.
    • Despite being, theoretically, non-expanionist and anti-interventionist after filling up their "natural borders," Victoria still sends Rumford abroad as a military consultant to fix the racial issues in the South, and bring down Cascadia.
    • Also, at the end the Tsar abdicates his position to lead a new knightly order in a global crusade to drive Islam out of the Mediterranean. Christians from around the world flock to his banner, any sectarian issues dealt with after various church leaders forgive each other.
  • Easy Evangelism: To an absurd degree. Police are easily converted by the Christian Marines and feed them intelligence. All good and right-thinking people embrace Retroculture without hesitation. The mass votes for Kraft or military intervention never ever go the wrong way. May be partially justified by the groundswell of discontent with the Federal Government.
    • Also after Azania's defeat. The all-female population of this Amazonian state is previously shown to hate and fear all men, to the point that they launch anti-male genocides and would rather commit suicide by nuke than surrender to the Confederation. It's not quite consistently portrayed, but generally speaking, until now nearly all of them have very much appeared to consider submission a Fate Worse than Death. However, before long most have been rehabilitated, and want to be proper and feminine women. Subverted a little, in that there are some die-hards, but they are still said to be quite few—Far fewer than one might expect, given Azania's prior fanaticism.
  • Easy Logistics: The military of the Northern Confederacy explicitly disdains communication and logistics staff in favor of light infantry companies operating independently. Somehow, nobody starves or runs out of ammunition.
  • Emergency Authority: The short-lived military government which precedes the full ascension of Retroculture.
  • Emergency Presidential Address: Several. Here is one by President Yancey of the New Confederacy, announcing the nuking of Atlanta:
    "Fellow citizens, today your government did what had to be done. We could tolerate this sedition no longer. We regret that it had to come to this, to the destruction of a Southern city. But the choice was made by the New South, which was determined to destroy our Southern culture and replace it with the weakness and decadence of the former United States. We did not escape from that enemy in order to become it. Confederate forces are now moving to restore the authority of this government throughout the South. From here forward, there is only one South, the Old South, the True Confederacy."
  • Emotionless Girl: Maria is a sympathetic version, not so much weird or socially inept as simply quiet and reserved. It seems the massive tragedies she has endured throughout her life have given her a sort of objective, philosophical way to view life that allows her to endure most anything with stoic calm.
  • The Emperor: Czar Alexander is both King ("Czar") and Emperor of All the Russias.
  • The Empire: In this future history, the United States, which has become a blind juggernaut of oppressive collectivism and Cultural Marxism.
  • Enemy Civil War: Technically, the Nor Con/Victoria are one of the rebel factions, but the Feds must deal with many more insurrections great and small. The various rebel factions don't really coordinate with each other, though a Nor Con strike on Washington opens the way for a New Confederacy invasion.
  • Enemy Mine: The patriarchal Mexicans ally with the Lady Land Azania, because both states hate and fear their common enemy, the Confederation, more than each other.
  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Averted. When the heroes have to torture enemy agents for information, they're honest with themselves and call what they do by its right name.
  • Enigmatic Minion: General Wesley. Was he responsible for the death of almost the whole Administration in a very weird-looking terrorist attack, or was he really its last major loyal supporter? Is he a mere power-hungry tyrant, or just a stolid patriot who blindly keeps fighting for national unity long after everyone else realizes it is dead and buried for good?
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The federal government, even to the point of incompetence, since it recruits both soldiers and, apparently, cabinet-rank officers mainly on affirmative action criteria. Averted by the Nazis, obviously, as well as the Azanians, who are literally racist against men.
  • Escape Artist: Halsing demonstrates his skill at this when he picks the lock on his leg irons and escapes Confederation captivity.
  • Establishing Character Moment: For Rumford, his hijacking of a ceremony in the Corps to preserve the honor of the Iwo Jima veterans from what he considers feminist propaganda, mentioned in the introduction on this page. It shows him as a brave man willing to risk it all to stand up for what he believes in, but also establishes him as an old-fashioned and anti-feminist Politically Incorrect Hero.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Homosexuals are seen as villains by default by Kraft, but "even" most of them don't like homosexual pedophiles. Also the federal government, which is totalitarian and corrupt, but (sometimes, though not consistently) tries to limit civilian losses from its military actions.
  • Everyone Is Armed: Except the women, since most people agree that guns are unfeminine. Apart from such cultural inhibitions, the right to keep and bear arms is completely uninfringed in the Northern Confederation, and open carry is commonplace.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Since Japan has also embraced its own variant of retrofuturism, the samurai ethos and ideal is strong with the Japanese officers Rumford meets and liaises with. Like typical Corporate Samurai, they make use of modern technology and even clothing, but also of (ceremonial) katana swords and bushido.
  • Everything Is Online: Defied by Kraft, who bans computers from the Confederation government as a security measure: This way, no one will be able to hack him. The trade-off in efficiency is acceptable, since computers are overrated, anyway.
  • Everything Is Racist: Played straight early in the story, when the politically correct government is still in charge. Averted later on, when the people enthusiastically back Kraft's very tough policies against blacks and Hispanics, which most people most likely would consider racist in real life.
  • Evil Counterpart: The neo-nazi Captain Halsing to Rumford. Both are officers and amateur philosophers, as well as the personal emissaries of their leaders and determined and ruthless proponents of their respective ideologies.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: The World Islamic Councilnote  coordinated with the Black Muslims to take over Boston, crucify every White Christian, and secretly kidnap as many Black Christians as they could smuggle out behind their local allies' backs for the Slave Markets.
  • Evil Luddite: Cascadia and the Deep Greens, who mix radical eco-anarcho-primitivism with a bizarre neo-pagan cult.
    • In some ways, the Confederation themselves can be viewed as an American, Conservative Christian version of the Khmer Rouge, though as depicted in the book it has no domestic genocides and is a decentralized republic with plebiscitary direct democracy rather than a totalitarian dictatorship. They discourage much post-1930s technology (though they also encourage Super Science), initiate a voluntary pledge (with strong social pressure to conform) not to use most forms of modern telecommunications such as cell phones or computers (save for a handful used to hack enemy nations) and limit most of their economic output to agrarian farming practices. Said practices require millions of (African-American) city dwellers to leave for the countryside, though this is also done voluntarily. They also consider poverty a way to cleanse one of one's sins.
  • Evil Mentor: William Kraft is a sort of good-aligned, heroic example of this: his ideals are pure, or at any rate presented as such by the narrative, and he plays the standard heroic mentor role to The Hero Rumford — but his ruthless methods (which sometimes dismay even Rumford, an ex-military guerrilla warfare specialist) are much more those of the Cobra Kai than of Mr. Miyagi's school.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: After the final downfall of the corrupt United States government, every little group with men and weapons tries to stake out its territory, and the more powerful ones go after their neighbors. Eventually, bigger and fewer successor states capable of responsible government coalesce out of the anarchy through simple Darwinian selection, but not before millions have perished in the holocaust.
  • Evil Reactionary: The enemies of Retroculture consider William Kraft and his movement to be this. His vision is to restore the social dynamics and values of the (rural) 1930s on a nationwide basis; some aspects of this include the utter annihilation of anything and everything defined as Cultural Marxism, the replacement of atheist TV with Christian novels, and the return of women from what he considers unfeminine and degrading paid employment to their proper place in the domestic, feminine sphere of family and home.
  • Evil Vegetarian: The Deep Green fanatics, who would rather starve (or at least force others to starve) than kill even a single animal.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: At one point, Rumford considers the war between Halsing's Nazis and the savage tribes they are fighting to be this. The Nazis are building their own flavor of a lock-step totalitarian state, which is bad, of course, but if the anarchists win, they will destroy society completely and leave only the Stone Ages behind, if that.
  • Evil Virtues: The Nazis are efficient, hard-working, orderly and loyal. If Halsing is any indication, they also foster dignity and politeness. The Deep Greeners (the rank and file, if not their corrupt leaders) care about animals and nature, if nothing else. And at least some Azanians are quite brave, with even badly undertrained pilots readily taking to the air to help try beating back the Victorian invasion.
  • Evil Will Fail: The fundamental hope of Rumford and his allies, and ultimately also the message of the book. While the federal government, military-industrial complex, Wall Street financial oligarchs and liberal mainstream media giants look formidable and unbeatable, they are in fact already corroding under the very weight of their own corruption and reality-denying ideologies. And they will only get weaker as they degenerate further and become more oppressive and tyrannical, leaving freedom's victory assured so long as good men have remained to organize and prepare for the day of opportunity.
  • Exact Words: Rumford said he would send a plane for the Cascadian Resistance leaders when the capital fell, and he did. He sent it to bomb them.
  • Exalted Torturer: Downplayed with Rumford, who doesn't torture anyone himself, but approves and even attends the torture of the Delta Force operators who murdered Governor Adams. This is treated very much as Dirty Business, but still portrayed as right.
  • The Exile: The ultimate fate of all non-Christians, tech-users or Puerto Ricans in Victoria.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Kraft and Rumford's Retroculture ideal is widely considered as extreme early in the story. But author fiat ensures they end up completely vindicated by history, with the Confederation the most successful of the American successor states, and a virtual utopia of simple and happy agriculture combined with a scientific and industrial power-house. By the end of the story, they have unbeatable weapons, cold fusion, and are leaders in the production of airships, and all domestic problems have been solved...through millions of dead bodies and a severe loss of modern civil liberties.
  • Fallen States of America: Much of the premise, as the country fragments into successor states, each more deranged than the last.
  • False Flag Operation: There is speculation, but never any confirmation, that the freakishly successful terrorist attack that killed the President, VP, Speakers of both Houses and most of the Cabinet was not the act of a lone-wolf militant. General Wesley and the Christian Marines both had excellent motives to get rid of the people in charge, though both also deny any involvement.
  • False Utopia: Azania, with a working high-tech economy and tolerance for liberals, gays, etc., looks quite utopian to many mired in the post-apocalyptic poverty and need of the setting, in spite of its horrible politics. It draws great numbers of immigrants and refugees from the other states, even as others also flee from their repression. Rumford and Kraft aren't fooled, but realize that others are being duped into supporting the Azanians' ideas. Which is one reason they decide to attack and destroy the country.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: The Nazi leader is named von Braun.
  • Fan of the Past: Rumford is a history expert, and often references military and political debates of the 1980s and 1990s to illustrate various points he makes concerning present-day affairs. Also, he and Kraft literally attempt to recreate the past (something like the early 20th century) in the Confederation.
  • Fantastic Rank System: The Landwehr, who appear to copy the arcane real-life Waffen-SS military ranks structure and nomenclature lock, stock and barrel.
  • Fantastic Slurs: Inverted. Rumford refers to criminals (usually black and Hispanic ones, which seems to give it a racial tinge) as Orcs; i.e., anti-social humans are named for a species of fantastic creature.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: The clerico-fascist Cristero faction in Mexico, which fights against the Aztecs. As Maria explains it, this is due to the country's Latin temperament: No one will ever take any initiatives of his own, or do any more work than he absolutely has to, and everyone will squabble among themselves as soon as the caudillo turns his back. By contrast, averted with the Nazis, who have Germanic Efficiency.
    • As shown in the meeting with a Nazi representative, Rumford's foremost objection to Nazism is their love of modernism and the soulless industrial efficiency with which they do what he was already doing with Germanic Efficiency. As opposed to, you know, the Nazi stuff.
  • Faux Action Girl: The Azanian military. Lampshaded, in that Rumford knows they are this, even if they don't.
  • Fauxshadowing: Lind builds up the Nazis as a powerful enemy, and seemingly the major threat in the setting after the last hold-outs of the old Feds are defeated. However, they're ultimately brought down mostly offscreen, leaving the Confederation's back free for the fight with Azania.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Relatively speaking. To deal with the rampant inner-city crime wave, the Confederation legislates that blacks suspected of violent crimes are to be tried by drumhead court-martial, and any found guilty are to be publicly hanged. According to Rumford, this does indeed somehow solve the crime problem, and the law rarely has to be applied, since the salutary effect of the first few hangings does most of the work.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: When first coming to Bill Kraft's home, Rumford is amazed to find his wife there in a dress with a home-cooked meal. Also Maria.
  • Feminist Fantasy: Subverted. Azania would be the perfect faction for one, with a character like Colonel Malone as the protagonist — only here, the Azanians are villains and the conservative Confederation presented as the "good" guys.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Governor Bowen's mistress, Miss Levine, who works as a spy and agent of influence for the Deep Greeners.
  • Feudal Future: Averted in Victoria itself, which remains a free republic, but present worldwide. Germany and Russia both become real empires with emperors again following the social collapse, and Great Britain and Japan both appear to emphasize their imperial nature much more than they presently do in real life.
  • Fictional Currency: The Pine Tree Dollar, issued by the State of Maine years before secession, to no real consequences.
  • Fictional Political Party: The Maine First Party that the Christian Marines launch as their public "front" group. It takes off like a rocket in response to several especially visible local political abuses, and soon has counterparts/daughter chapters in other states as well.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The Imperial Prussian remnants are struggling to restore the old German Empire, so they can finally return home and return the rightful Kaiser to the throne.
  • First-Person Perspective: The story is retold by Rumford in a sort of memoir, describing in detail the scenes where he was present and summarizing developments where he wasn't.
  • Flaw Exploitation: The key to the Christian Marines' success. Early on they use the very obstructionism of the bloated government bureaucracy against them, and also showcase the hypocrisy of the politically correct villains, thereby demoralizing their followers. Later, they count (successfully) on the frictions between the fairly grounded and realistic enemy military leaders and the more politicized civilian government to ensure a public relations nightmare on their part in the battle for New York.
  • Foil: Halsing to Rumford. They share a common military background, as well as a philosophical and idealistic temperament, but whereas Rumford is a staunch believer in Christianity, democracy and Retroculture, Halsing is equally devoted to Nietzschean philosophy and technocratic Nazism. Also, unlike Rumford, he is well-polished and polite. For Rumford, it is eerie to meet an enemy who is so much like himself, in some ways arguably better than himself, and yet the very embodiment of his own ideological antithesis. This leads to an unspoken Not So Different moment.
  • For Your Own Good: Retroculture is so good that everyone in the Confederation must follow it. Those who don't will find themselves under increasing social pressure until they either cave, run out, or are burned at the stake. Though in the setting, all factions are more or less like this about their ideologies (and usually "more" rather than "less").
  • Four-Star Badass: Field Marshal Rumford. After a distinguished career in the Marines (cut short by evil politicians and their puppets), he spearheads a revolution, leads several brilliant campaigns from the front, and personally hunts down the rogue Cascadian leaders as they try to escape the rebel army.
  • Fox News Liberal: Mrs. Bingham and the other "strong women" on the Confederation's side. They appear to be intended to show that women in the Confederation aren't oppressed, and do have agency and power, which sort of works (to a point)—But they seemingly only ever use that agency to push anti-feminist agendas.
  • Friend in the Black Market: The Yakuza are contacted, indirectly, by Rumford while in Japan to smuggle a bomb into Shanghai. Thus, later when the Chinese are threatening nuclear war, a ship in their harbor blows up, with the clear implication that they could have smuggled a nuke in just as easily. This causes the Chinese to back down.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Captain Halsing is untroubled by the wilderness, and even Rumford's guard dog won't attack him, since it can sense his friendly purpose. Untypical for the stereotype, in that he is otherwise a polite but stone-cold, serious commando.
  • Friendly Enemy: Captain Halsing approaches this, even after Kraft orders him thrown in irons. Having to fight and risk your life to get out is part of the job, after all, nothing to take personally, and it was still nice of Rumford to offer him a cup of coffee first...
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: As rebels against the tyrannical and corrupt Federal Government, the veterans who join the Christian Marines are technically criminals, and this is certainly how their enemies see them. Early on, Rumford and Matthews use military discipline and tactics to rally the downtrodden citizens into a formidable force to take on the ethnic crime gangs who terrorize their neighborhoods. We're supposed to see them as good guys.
  • From My Own Personal Garden: Heroic example when Rumford invites the Landwehr emissary Halsing to share his breakfast. The food, of course, comes from his own farm.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • General Hadji al-Malik al-Shabazz of the radical Islamic militia that takes over Boston following the downfall of the United States. Before he joined their group, he was Willy Welly the moderately successful saxophonist.
    • Though he is presented as heroic, Rumford himself can appear this way to those who oppose the Retroculture Revolution: a discharged company-grade officer who tried and failed becoming a small farmer, then launched a political crusade that balloned and ended up as second-in-command of the most powerful of the American successor states.
  • Frontline General: Rumford believes that as the military commander, he should be out in the field and close to the action, so he can react to developments quicker than if waiting for them to be reported to his headquarters.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Averted in Victoria itself, but present in the New Confederacy, where the transition to independence is less of a clean sweep. The same old politicians, officials and generals by and large manage to retain power under the new flag, with the result that the Confederacy remains almost as corrupt as the United States used to be. So it needs another revolution, assisted by Rumford, before it can finally shake off the remnants of the old regime.
  • The Fundamentalist: Mainly a political example, though there are elements of hard-line, old-school Christianity, as well. After his conversion by Kraft, Rumford is very convinced of the righteousness of Retroculture, and occasionally filibusters on its main talking points.
  • Funny Money: When the US dollar becomes worthless, Maine prints a new Pine Tree Dollar, printing only what they can back up in gold or foreign currency. A single Pine Tree Dollar becomes worth millions of US Dollars, and federal agents are posted on the border to confiscate any Pine Trees leaving Maine.
  • General Failure: Poor General Wesley of the old US Army is not very successful in his attempts to beat down the rebelling Confederation.
  • The Generalissimo: Kraft is a heroic example, presented as fighting for good but otherwise fitting the stereotype completely, even making a point of explicitly wiping out the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
  • Genghis Gambit: You'd think radical Islam, feminism, atheists, environmentalists, communists, street gangs, academics, Black nationalists and nonsmokers would have plenty of room for disagreement. It turns out, though, they are all united in their contempt for and desire to destroy traditional Western culture and indeed, are each arms of the big spooky Cultural Marxist conspiracy.
  • Genius Book Club: Rumford contantly engages with the cultural and philosophical treasures of the West, from Plato, Aristotle and Xenophon to John Boyd. Though his interpretations of them are sometimes idiosyncratic.
  • Germanic Efficiency: Invoked frequently, as Bill Kraft and Rumford are both admirers of German culture and history. However, the valuing of efficiency over rural charm is one of the greatest points of contention between them and the Nazis of Wisconsin.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Inverted. The good Christians of the Confederation think the lesbianism of the Azanians is just as disgusting as any other kind of "perversion."
  • A God Am I: The Paleopitus of Cascadia eventually declare themselves the collective incarnation of the goddess their pagan cult worships, ruling over the pitiful remnants of the Republic by divine decree.
  • Godzilla Threshold: States start seceding from the Union when the population of Newark takes their city back from the gangs, and the Feds try to install the gangs back in power. Later, Atlanta is nuked after black gangs seize control.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • Azania. They really are succeding in building a high-tech Amazonian utopia—but the results can easily look pretty horrible if you're not a believer in their extreme female separatism, with a society where Love Is a Crime (if you're a man and a woman) and marriage and motherhood banned.
    • At least some readers might think Victoria (and Retroculture) is itself an example.
  • Good Flaws, Bad Flaws: Played with. Rumford smokes like a chimney, is a bit of a loner, a perfectionist and often extremely cynical—all traits that are not only acceptable, but almost expected, from someone with his military background. However, he is also very old-fashioned and politically incorrect by present-day standards, to the point of being a Politically Incorrect Hero.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Rumford is both dedicated and incorruptible, but not the most friendly or socially smooth person most of the time.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The Confederation are very tough on their enemies. When attacked by bioterrorism, they launch their own bio-counterattack. When rioters take control of Atlanta, they nuke the city. When air attacks are launched against military targets, they chain hostages to them. Generally, their philosophy is to respond to their enemies with extreme force, following Sherman's famous dictum.
  • The Good King: Czar Alexander, who is both King and Emperor, and generally fits this character type.
  • The Good Kingdom: The Russian Federation undergoes an offscreen restoration to an Orthodox Tsar, who becomes a staunch ally and maybe something more to the Northern Confederacy. Also the Prussian Kaiser Reich, which continues to exist, if only the mind of its few subjects.
  • Good Ol' Boy: Colonel McMoster is more or less a straight example, though perhaps a little more "upper" middle class than most. He is also slightly unusual in being a positively portrayed, heroic figure in spite of this characterization.
  • Good Old Ways: William Kraft is a firm believer in this. In a wider sense, Retroculture is this on a societal scale.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Generally, smoking is associated with the good guys, unusually so for a 21st-century work. Most of the good guys are smokers, and one of the signs of the tottering federal government's villainy is its tyrannical anti-tobacco policies.
  • Gorn: Generally averted; Lind describes some quite horrific violence, but tends to do it in a fairly subtle, understated way. Which can often make it even more horrifying.
  • Government in Exile: Relatively early in the war, a joint Northern Confederation/New Confederacy operation drives the Feds out of Washington and into Pennsylvania. This coincides with the Federal government becoming a military dictatorship.
  • Graying Morality: Initially, good and evil are clearly defined: the Christian Marines are persecuted underdogs, and the only people they hurt are crooked politicians, corrupt senior officials and outright career criminals who quite evidently deserve it. However, as the civil war goes on, and later the wars of succession, this cleanliness cannot be maintained, as honest-to-God civil wars are generally very brutal and dirty affairs. Before the story is done, Rumford has himself performed (or ordered/approved/permitted) nearly every atrocity he has previously condemned his enemies for, making him realize that he is Not So Different from them as he would like to be able to think. The best he can do is to remember that he did only what was necessary, but this is not always a sufficient comfort.
  • Greasy Spoon: Most important strategic or political decisions are made in a diner.
  • Green Aesop: In Russia, Czar Alexander is horrified by the enormous environmental damage the Soviet Communists wrought on his beloved country, and has made cleaning up one of his government's absolute top priorities. Also, Kraft is unusually lenient in his treatment of the Deep Green rebels after they are crushed, acknowledging that they sort of have a point in caring about nature, even if their extremism discredits them.
  • Guile Hero: Between his maneuver warfare military trickster tactics and shady political manipulations (including espionage, blackmail and downright violence against public officials, as well as more traditional horsetrading), Rumford soundly qualifies. Kraft takes it a step further into out-and-out Chessmaster territory.
  • Hand Wave: All over the place. How is Victoria a world leader in science without computers, automation or a high degree of technical literacy? Isn't it strange the general votes on major topics always go exactly the way Rumford and Kraft wanted? Especially votes for military intervention when it's said time and time again that all the Northern Confederation wants is peaceful isolationism? Or how everybody spontaneously accepts Retroculture? Why did the Feds stop their bombing campaign because of a handful of hostages, and their blockade after one ship was sunk by a Russian sub?
  • Hanging Judge: Encouraged by the Retroculture system to good result. Rugged frontier justice is much more effective than liberal mollycoddling.
    Regular crime became rare as hanging became the usual penalty, at least where violence was involved. We remembered that if you hang a thief when he’s young, he won’t steal when he’s old.
  • Hate Sink: Many representatives of the rainbow coalition associated with the federal government and the UN are treated this way, including liberal politicians, feminists, Islamists, black and Hispanic drug dealers and other organized criminals, Wall Street financiers, Federal Reserve directors, and various others. Especially much the group Kraft designates as Cultural Marxists, or the hard core of liberal ideologues in media and academe who promote post-modernism, atheism, anti-racism and homosexuality (among other things) in order to destroy Western Civilization. Their villainy is taken Up to Eleven, to the point that they make even the Azanians and Nazis look better in comparison.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Christian Marines, Kraft, and Rumford himself teeter on the brink of this, if not indeed overstepping the line at times. Their enemies range from despicable to nightmarish, but their own methods of defeating them are also extremely brutal, up to and including indiscriminate use of weapons of mass destruction.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Rumford doesn't exactly hate women, but he can be very condescending to them, depending on the situation. Also, he does hate feminists with a passion.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: President Yancey and the other Neo-Confederate leaders, who refuse to accept the seriousness of the situation and deal forcefully with the Commune when they launch their bid for power. Luckily, Rumford and his allies in the Confederate military have the "moral courage" to "do what needs to be done".
    • Also the Federal Government, which deals with armed revolt by passing harsh anti-smoking laws and condemning the rebels for their racial insensitivity.
  • The Heretic: Bishop Cloaca Devlin is one, and the book opens to her being burned at the stake for insisting she could be a woman and a priest, as well as blaspheming the Trinity, worshiping pagan idols and various other religious crimes.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Kraft to the Kaiser. He is almost overwhelmed when he realizes that he even knows he exists, and even more, writes him an encouraging letter.
  • Heroic Neutral: The Christian Marines in their early period of preparation for the coming cataclysm. They are not yet actively anti-government, just not pro-government either. As Rumford explains:
    Our goal was not to overthrow the United States government. We were never enemies of the old U.S. Constitution. But we knew that government and its Establishment were going to fall, of their own weight, corruption, ineptness, and disinterest in actually governing. We were looking, always, to the time after it fell.
  • Heroic Russian Émigré: Czar Alexander, who reclaimed the throne of the Romanoffs and restored the heroic Russian Empire out of the morass of post-Communism. On a more personal note, there is Brother Dimitri, a Russian Orthodox monk, who joins the Retroculture movement and uses his clerical contacts to liaise with the Russian Monarchists.
  • Heroism Equals Job Qualification: While the secessionists have actual generals among their ranks, Rumford (a discharged Marine Corps captain and subsequent militia leader) is the man made chief of the general staff, in recognition of his heroic organizing and guerrilla work so far, which has greatly impressed Governor Adams. Hearing Rumford in person finally confirms to him that he is indeed the right man for the job.
  • Herr Doktor: Professor Sanft, from whom Rumford first learns about the Cultural Marxist conspiracy.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: The Christian Marines and the Retroculture movement more generally, reducing feminism and homosexuality to the levels of the (small-town, rural) 1930s. This is unambiguously portrayed as a good thing.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: This was published in 2014. A quote of the narrator: "the difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party was the difference between Madonna and *Donald Trump*".
  • History Repeats: In Rumford's opinion, neither philosophy nor politics have ever advanced substantially over what they were in Ancient Greece, and historical "progress" is largely a sine curve swinging back and forth between culture and barbarism, with no net upward movement.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Zigzagged. Representative democracy is shown to fail badly, not just in the US, but throughout most of the world, and most of the American successor states start out as democracies but depressingly quickly become tyrannies of one sort or another. On the other hand, a few do succeed at implementing small-scale direct democracy, and this is generally implied to be the best form of government wherever it can be made to work.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Cascadian ruling council of neo-pagan environmentalists end up eaten by the animals they had protected at the expense of their human citizens. It isn't any of Rumford's doing, but he's not exactly sorry for them, either.
    • Kraft thinks killing the Marxist subversives is this, because Marxism is death, and so those who spread it get death in return.
    Kraft: "This mutilation of innocence in the service of death, the death of culture and the death of truth, deserves death. That is what it shall receive. Let it be to each according to his works."
  • Hollywood Atheist: President Warner, before the collapse, who holds a rally where he affirms secularism, waves a copy of the Bible and vows that he will never allow the principles in this book to become the law of the land.
  • Hollywood New England: Complete with exaggerated stereotypes and Funetik Aksent. Rumford and Kraft rally the folksy farmers and downtrodden urban proletariat against the liberal elites and their minority gangster foot soldiers.
  • Home Field Advantage: Made use of by the Victorians in the early struggles with Federal law enforcement agents and military, as they skillfully exploit terrain, sympathetic locals and the enemy's long supply chain.
  • Home Guard: After their independence, the Confederation purposely set up their new military like this, to avoid the development of a smothering military bureaucracy.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: After the Azanians outlaw motherhood and male-female sexual interactions, they implement reproduction by cloning only.
  • Honey Trap: The blackmailing of Governor Hokem.
  • The Horde: The savage bands ravaging the post-apocalyptic Midwest, that the Landwehr battle against.
  • Hot-Blooded: At one point Kraft threatens to kill Rumford over what he assumes to be a joke.
  • How We Got Here: The opening takes place in 2055, then we go back to 2016. Except for a very small bit on Rumford's death, the entire story is written as his retrospective view.
  • Human Sacrifice: The post-apocalyptic Mexican regime explicitly (though inexplicably) imitate their Aztec ancestors and follow a cannibalistic Religion of Evil based on pre-Columbian paganism. Human sacrifice is also practiced on a lesser scale by the neo-pagans in Cascadia, once their leaders go full Ax-Crazy.
  • Human Shield: After the Feds start bombing only trains to limit casualties, the Christian Marines kidnap 300 pilots and announce one will ride each cargo train from now on.
  • Humans Are White: Downplayed. The world at large is about as ethnically diverse as in reality, but the Retroculture movement itself seems very Anglo-Saxon, with some Irish- and German-American elements. While there are token Italians, Indians, Poles and even one or two blacks and Jews, the vast majority of the named Christian Marines and associates, as well as nearly all of the leaders, have distinctly old stock names. This is never said or implied to be due to any overt policy of discrimination, since they explicitly allow anyone who shares their values and beliefs to join.
  • Humble Hero: Rumford lets President Yancey and General Laclede take the public credit for the crushing of the Commune, even though he planned and prompted it.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: General Wesley, President Warner's military hatchetman, is far more competent and dangerous than is Warner himself, among other things authoring a plan of action against the incipient Confederation that would most likely have worked, but is shot down for political reasons in favor of an ineffective one. After Warner is killed, he takes over the government himself.
  • I Am a Monster: Downplayed. While Rumford remains certain throughout the story that he has done only what he had to do, toward the end he is aware that as the Confederation's supreme commander, he is responsible for the death and suffering of millions through acts of war and use of weapons of mass destruction. When he is confronted with the Nazis, he realizes that he is not quite as different from them as he would like to be able to think.
    • Played with straight with Gunny Matthews, who feels he isn't a true Christian or "fit for decent people" after saying the Shahada.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The nuking of Atlanta, specifically noted as such by the Confederate authorities. Everyone regrets it, but it was the necessary last step in destroying the terrorists of the Commune and reuniting the strife-torn New Confederacy.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: This is Rumford's very blunt and direct way to handle the Cascadian government in exile. He's their ally, sure, but he doesn't like them, and doesn't care if they know it.
    "Lady, cut the crap. Nobody in this room gives a rat's ass how you or anybody else feels. We're here to make a military decision, and you've already made it more than clear that you have nothing to contribute. So let's get on with business."
  • I Reject Your Reality: According to Lind, all ideology works like this, until reality smacks you in the face. Retroculture is excluded of course.
  • Icon of Rebellion: The Pine Tree symbol of the State of Maine seems to be this, ending up on their flag and their currency.
  • Idiot Ball: Arguably, Victoria can only exist because every member of the Federal government, and every rival state, seizes the Ball with both hands and won't let go.
  • Illegal Religion: One of the first things we learn about Victoria is you can worship whatever you want... outside. Only God-fearing Christians are permitted within Victoria.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The elite Jaeger commandos of the Confederation supposedly have both discipline and this in sufficient measure that they can train realistic skirmishes by shooting close to each other with live ammunition without unacceptable losses. Though this may just have been a joke by Rumford, we never actually see anything like it in action.
  • Improvised Weapon: A key part of Fourth Generation warfare, whatever they can cobble up on short notice always works. Even to the point of using spar torpedoes on fishing boats against modern warships.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Downplayed. William Kraft (and Rumford, after he absorbs his philosophy) believes that this is the destiny of all modern mass societies, where people have been divorced too far away from nature and real life to survive, but not the human species in itself.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: While Rumford is not soft on the Confederation's enemies, and can be quite unscrupulous in handling them, he is also absolutely incorruptible and totally devoted to the cause of his country, Christianity and Retroculture. Money, fame, and whatever other worldly rewards are nothing to him. He instructs his followers that when he dies, there should be no pomp and circumstance at the funeral. On his tombstone, he wants to be written simply: "John Rumford, Farmer."
  • Inexplicably Awesome: William Kraft's background is never revealed, but he appears fairly wealthy and extremely well-connected, and is a major charismatic leader, strategist and political mastermind in spite of his eccentric habits.
  • Informed Ability: For all the supposed military brilliance of decentralized light infantry abjuring post WWII technology, the reader never sees any direct confrontation between Victoria's military and outside forces that are not explicitly described as hopelessly incompetent.
    • We never actually see Rumford in a firefight. The closest he comes to actually putting himself in danger is being within an earshot of a drive-by shooting. In fact, for "the greatest soldier of the age" Rumford doesn't do a lot of planning, leading or fighting. He openly shows his contempt by napping through a briefing on weather and road conditions, bombs an allied resistance group's leadership, nukes an allied city, etc. Yet he always has perfect intelligence through his Christian Marine or Kraft's contacts and pulls off some insane stunts like sinking modern ships with spar torpedoes, or taking hundreds of pilots hostage, with little justification beyond the fact that he is the one performing them, and negative fallout for these things is minimal to nonexistent.
  • Inherent in the System: Realistically (in this respect, at least), Victoria does not portray the country's increasingly severe problems as the work of any one evil politician, or even party. Rather, they are the product of long decades of corruption and decay throughout the government, until the dysfunctional but power-hungry system has itself become the enemy.
  • Innocent Bigot: Rumford early in the story. Without ever having heard of the culture wars, he is simply and innocently, er, rather old-fashioned in his beliefs. After joining with Kraft, however, he becomes a more deliberately ideological Politically Incorrect Hero.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Throughout the book. In a meta-example, much of the early story hinges on the idea that law enforcement in the US exists to protect the rights and freedom of criminals to prey on the public at will. This is shown when a judge orders the proto-Christian Marines to cease harassment of criminals in a housing project, when a federal spokeswoman shrugs off the brutal rape and murder of a nun as the due of white people for centuries of oppression, and when Newark is seized by gangs, the residents rise up and answer brutality with brutality, and then the government wishes to send in the army to restore order... and revert control back to the gangbangers.
    • The Secretary of Defense has a moment where she explains that Black people are warriors, because they understand courage comes from the nose and eat their boogers and snot. Whereas white people "wrap yours up in a little surrender flag and throw it away." Therefore, untrained gangbangers are better fighter than a coordinated and trained military fighting force, and they alone should invade Victoria.
    • Kraft's speech at Dartmouth, in which asserts that all leftists, feminists, etc. are secretly Marxist, specifically Cultural Marxists, and they are all engaged in a great coordinated conspiracy to destroy Christianity and Western culture. He provides no evidence for these claims, displays only the most basic understanding of what Marxism actually is (and in later chapters links cultural marxism to the French Revolution) and, in the story, is treated as totally correct. One member of the audience is visibly distressed that he's about the air the great secret of academia.
  • Insistent Terminology: According to Kraft, Retroculture is not an ideology, but a way of life. Ideologies distort reality and eventually fail, Retroculture is simply acknowledging the obvious reality. America worked once, so they know it can work the same way again.
    • The word "Ms." never appears without quotation marks in the book, and always refers to a female villain. Good women are "Miss" or "Mrs." depending on their marital status.
    • The term "Cultural Marxism" may be clunky, but it has a very specific meaning. It's also a repurposed version of the Nazi term "Cultural Bolshevism."
  • Inspirational Martyr: Rumford is smart enough to both use these for his own side and deprive the enemy of them. The former by either outright staging martyrdoms, or else just very adeptly seizing on them as they occur organically, and the latter by humiliating, degrading or breaking potential enemy martyrs sufficiently to destroy their inspirational potential.
  • Intellectually Supported Tyranny: The Federal Government, which is propped up mainly by corrupt professor types and liberal clergymen. After the Confederation declares its independence, Kraft ruthlessly purges them out of its territories.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Rumford and Kraft, who becomes a sort of mentor figure for him.
  • Internalized Categorism:
    • The leaders of the Council of Responsible Negroes pretty much agree with Rumford across the board about the problems of the black community (criminality, welfare abuse, drug addiction, anti-social rap and hip-hop messages, and so on), as well as the best solutions to them (Draconian laws and relocation of most blacks into the countryside to earn an honest living as agricultural laborers).
    • Maria, despite having been raised a wealthy and privileged noblewoman, cheerfully accepts it as part of her role to handle all domestic chores, because that is what a woman should do.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Being a Marine infantryman, Rumford holds the US Air Force in contempt as lazy button-pushers and nerds. Later downplayed, however, where he respects the Confederation's air forces.
  • Invading Refugees: When the economic meltdown and plagues strike the big cities, great hordes of gangsters, looters and simple people just trying to survive migrate out into the countryside to plunder farmers and small towns for food. They in turn are met by local police, militias and ad-hoc self-defense groups that shoot to kill with extreme prejudice, and the near-urban regions become savage battlefields before the swarming locusts exhaust themselves, succumbing to hunger and plagues.
  • Invincible Hero: Though a Frontline General, Rumford does not fight in close combat, is relatively rarely directly threatened and even more rarely has a plan that doesn't go off flawlessly, even when he could control almost no part of it. One time when he doesn't perfectly anticipate his enemies, or rather his allies as he expected the New Confederacy to come down hard on Atlanta, he suffers but a moment of doubt before calling Kraft and coming up with another plan that you might think really shouldn't work (but does). He is badly surprised on a few other occasions, notably by the Azanians, but manages to get through that, too.
  • Irish Priest: Father Murphy, who memorably ministers to Rumford and some new converts in the field during the battle for Boston.
  • Irony: Clearly unintentional, but Victoria shares its name with many other places named after Queen Victoria of the British empire who is considered to be one of their greatest monarchs and her reign was known for industrial, cultural, and scientific progress. The fact that Victoria is in what was New England - the location of many important battles during the American Revolution - makes it even more ironic.
  • Ironic Death: The Paleopitus, trampled and devoured by the wild animals they set above humanity.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: Rumford comes to believe that America is this after he is discharged from the Marines for protesting against women in the Corps.
    "This has nothing to do with truth," yelled Col. Ryan, who was starting to lose it. "What the hell is truth, anyway? This is about politics and our image and our budget. Congresswoman Bluhose is a leading advocate for women’s rights. She’ll be enraged, and I’ll take it in the shorts from Headquarters, Marine Corps. Don’t you get it?"
    "Yes, sir, I think I do get it," I said. "You, and I guess the CG here at Quantico and the Commandant, want to surrender to Congresswoman Bluhose and what she represents, a Corps and a country that have been emasculated. But the way I see it, and maybe this is Maine talking, if we’re supposed to fight, that means we have to fight for something. What’s the point in fighting for a country like that? Whatever defeats and replaces it could only be an improvement."
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Somewhat downplayed, at least as of the end of the story, with Japan more of a first-among-equals on the international scene than a truly hegemonic superpower—but still far more powerful in both relative and absolute terms than it ever was in real life, with the world's foremost navy and nuclear arsenal, a booming economy and major political influence among the American successor states.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: For a Black person in Victoria, possession or use of any drug will lead to immediate execution with no trial. The presence of the drug, on one's person or in their blood, stands in for the trial.
  • Jive Turkey: Part of a general series of complaints about urban minority youth and their lack of culture and respect. With the creation of CORN and the debate on the Black Problem, it is made clear "There would be no shuckin' and jiving" in Victoria.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: While the legal system in Victoria is already heavily stacked against Black people (see Hanging Judge above), the Black autonomous government introduces an especially harsh rule to curb the drug crisis in their jurisdiction. If anyone fails an on-the-spot drug test in the urban crime ghettos, they are immediately hauled to the gallows, no trial or repeat test needed. (As Gunny Matthews puts it, "The drug test itself will count as the trial.")
  • Just Plane Wrong: A-10 ground attack planes shooting down F-35s. While it might work as a dramatic fluke incident, it happening regularly is less than entirely plausible. Possibly intended as a deliberate and somewhat heavy-handed Take That! to the F-35 design, which the author apparently doesn't like.
    • Also wooden AN-2s (nonexistent) being invisible to radar, old short-wave radar making a mockery of stealth, and missiles flying harmlessly through the center of box and diamond formations.
  • Just the First Citizen: Within Victoria, William Kraft can decide who lives and who dies. Yet his title is merely that of the Governor of Maine, and he is at least nominally just the "first among equals" leader of the governors of the six-to-eight Victorian states.
  • Kaiser Reich: Bill Kraft considers himself a subject of Imperial Prussia. He has the full uniform with a pickelhaube, and follows the orders of his Kaiser, the last of the House of Hohenzollern.
  • Kangaroo Court: Taken Up to Eleven by the Cascadians, who literally have animals serve as jurors. Druidic seers are deputized to "interpret" their verdicts.
    • As part of a compromise against killing or removing the Black population, it is agreed that any Black committing a violent crime would be tried within three days, face a jury of the friends and neighbors of the victim, the trial would last one day, and they would be hanged within a week. Likewise, failing a random drug test is grounds for immediate execution.
  • Karma Houdini: By the end of the novel, and assuming the germ warfare with the Middle East is as effective as described, Rumford and Kraft are directly responsible for more deaths than Hitler and Stalin combined and ordered or participated in treason, torture, genocide, nuclear brinksmanship (and the use of a nuke on a major US city) and warmongering, while creating a technologically regressive theocratic state where heretics are burned alive and summary executions happen at least occasionally. Because they are the protagonists, they live to a ripe old age surrounded by loving family, and are remembered fondly long after their deaths.
  • The Klan: An unusually sympathetic portrayal for modern fiction—or perhaps not that unusual given the book we're working with. They appear in the New Confederacy and are seen as a real grass-root movement (as opposed to fakes or federal plants) and even as mostly well-intentioned superpatriot types, but also as misguided and ineffectual.
  • Knight Errant: Rumford is a downplayed example early on when he drifts around after being discharged from the Marine Corps, unsure about the direction of his life but still idealistic, and very happy to jump in and help Gunny Matthews and the others in their battles with the gangsters. Then, he joins the Christian Marines and becomes one of the True Companions instead.
  • Knight Templar: The Christian Marines desire a country ruled by the Ten Commandments, without evil modern technology, feminism or multiculturalism, and are perfectly willing to go to war, torture unlawful combatants, strip suspected war criminals of POW status, kill political opponents, use blackmail and take hostages, shut down welfare for the needy, deport undesirables, play tit-for-that with weapons of mass destruction, and commit various other brutal acts in service to their goal.
    • In the last chapter, the Tsar abdicates to become the founding Grandmaster of the Order of St. Louis, an international crusading organization dedicated to eradicating Islam from the Mediterranean world and retaking Jerusalem, by any means necessary. Rumford runs their version of officer training.
  • La Résistance: The Christian Marines and their allies early on, against the rampaging federal government. Later, there is also the Cascadian Resistance, who oppose their state's corrupt rulers.
  • Lack of Empathy: Very many of the villains, but the eminent example is perhaps the Cascadian goddess. When she notices that one of her faithful attendants has been shot dead with an arrow, she is upset—because the feathers on the arrow come from a holy owl, and mortals have no right to harvest them. The "heroes" also suffer from this, due to their ideologies sharing a great deal to neo-nazi fascist conservatism.
  • Lady Land: Azania is mostly female, and ruled by radical feminist separatists, with men subjugated, driven out and subjected to genocide. Thanks to advanced technology, they are able to reproduce asexually through cloning.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: On all the forces of liberal causes, from the media to academia, environmentalists etc. Special mention goes to the Azanian feminist state, turned into happy housewives and mothers or sold as sex-slaves overseas, and Jane Fonda who perishes in a nuclear fireball.
  • Latino Is Brown: Averted with Maria, who hails from an aristocratic family and is purely European in appearance, something Rumford specifically comments on.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: According to Rumford, the Nazis are this, as compared to the complete anarchy of warlords and marauding bands they're at war with.
    Nazi efficiency had its hellish aspect, but chaos was a greater hell.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Heroic example. Rumford and the Christian Marines consider the downfall of the United States a profound tragedy; but at the same time, the disasters that ultimately lead to the collapse are the very reason their bid for secession from Washington can succeed.
  • Living Is More Than Surviving: Invoked by Rumford as the Confederation begins to recover in the last chapters. The heroes have proved their country was worth dying for; now they have to make sure it will also be worth living for.
  • Living Legend: Rumford becomes one in right-wing circles for his anti-PC behavior and dismissal from the Corps—And then in a more traditionally heroic manner for his military leadership in the civil war and beyond.
  • The Lopsided Arm of the Law: Felt by the protagonists when they attempt to do what the police won't/can't and clean out the gangsters and drug dealers in Gunny Matthews' neighborhood.
  • Loser Protagonist: Rumford, initially: A military veteran with trouble adjusting to civilian life, failed farmer and smart but oddball and on the whole rather lonely unemployed man obsessed with arcane political ideas and half-baked schemes. Then he joins/takes over the Christian Marines, and begins his rise to glory.
  • Love Redeems: For Lieutenant-Colonel Mary Malone, one of the theretofore most trusted and politically reliable Azanian officers. Unlike many/most of the others, she is apparently not a lesbian, but merely bitter because of a failed romance in her youth. When she is reunited with her old love, she joins the Confederation and helps disable Azania's doomsday weapons. Other Azanians are also "cured" of their anti-social feminism by falling in love with Confederation soldiers, once they see what gentlemen they are.
    • The remainder are sold into sexual slavery in the Middle East, to experience 'real' patriarchal oppression.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: Defied by Rumford, who wants to keep the standards of the Christian Marines high, since they are supposed to serve as the elite vanguard of the revolution. Even once casualties begin to mount, he sticks to the old formulas, demanding that recruits should not just be military men in good standing, but also men of culture devoted to the philosophical heritage of Christianity and Western Civilization. If the Christian Marines ever lose sight of what they are fighting for and why, they are worse than useless in any case; a few true believers are far better than a whole regiment of conscripts.
  • Ludd Was Right: Modern technology is evil because it creates virtual realities divorced from the true realities, driving long distances destroys communities, and mass-produced goods are always inferior to handcrafted.
  • Made a Slave: In the Muslim Invasion, the Black Christian population of Boston is shipped oversees as slaves, and the Victorians move heaven and earth to get them back. After triumphing over Azania, the Victorians sell those feminists who aren't converted to their way of thinking to the same place as sex slaves so they can experience real patriarchal oppression. Apparently selling people into slavery in the Middle East is only bad when the Muslims do it...
  • The Mafia: Rumford hires the Yakuza, the rough equivalent of the Mafia in Japan, to blow up a ship in Shanghai, as part of an anticipated nuclear standoff with China.
  • Magnetic Hero:
    • Rumford, despite his notorious lack of the social graces, has seemingly immense natural persuasiveness and charisma, drawing people to himself and convincing them of his views almost without trying. For a few examples: the Christian Marines immediately elect him as their leader; he convinces the Black Muslims who capture him to surrender to the Confederation; and once Governor Adams proclaims independence, he and his military advisors (including actual generals who have joined the rebellion) listen with great interest to the former captain and current militia leader's suggestions, ending up making him chief of the new general staff.
    • Perhaps even more true of William Kraft, who is a more accomplished public speaker, and the only man in the story Rumford himself is ever really willing to follow, rather than command.
  • Make an Example of Them: After capturing the Numero Uno Division with the promise of sparing their lives, Rumford sidesteps this promise by turning the soldiers over to the communities they brutalized marching North, and they are all hanged to a man. Later, after lynchings become codified, Rumford muses that the examples of a few hangings and a few gallows in each town guarantee their use will be relatively rare.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: A mild example. Rumford's family are initially annoyed with Maria, implicitly because she is Spanish, but eventually accept her because she is a nice person and a respectable member of the old European nobility.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Kraft to Rumford, at least at first before becoming Governor of Maine and de facto leader of all Victoria. The Kaiser behind Kraft and possibly Father Dmitri behind the Christian Marines as a whole.
  • Married to the Job: Invoked by Rumford at one point, who is then giving all his time and effort to his service as the Confederation military command's chief of staff.
  • Master Computer: Azania's futuristic military directly controls all operations through its integrated high command. They make heavy use of computer assistance to process information and analyze responses, and the artificial intelligence appears to act at least partly independently, with the human staff officers not so much running as merely supervising it.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • John Rumford. "John" is of course a Biblical name, which originally means "graced by the Lord," and Rumford's role in the story somewhat parallels those of certain Biblical figures (for example, that of the apostle John as chief disciple of Big Good William Kraft). "Rumford," meanwhile, is almost certainly a reference to Benjamin Thompson, an 18th-century scientist, officer and statesman. Like the story's Rumford, Thompson was a Renaissance Man, fought against the US Government (as a British Loyalist, in his case), and had associations with Germany—in 1791, he became the Count von Rumford of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
    • William Kraft. "William" is a Germanic name that can be read as "The Will to Protect," which mirrors Kraft's firm and repeated emphasis on the will to defend itself that Western Civilization must (at least in his opinion) regain if it is to survive in the new millennium. "Kraft" is German and means power or force, as in "force of nature" (Naturkraft), again mirroring Kraft's forceful personality and drive. This latter meaning is remarked on by Rumford when the time has come to eulogize the late Kraft.
    • Maria Mercedes de Dio de Alva is literally meaningful: Alva means "white," and the characters comment on her noble fair complexion, echoing back to the "clean blooded" .
    • Christian Marines commander John Kelly's last name means (among other things) warrior or fighter.
    • Mary Malone of Azania, whose Irish last name means "Servant of John"—fittingly so, since she joins the Confederation after her High-Heel–Face Turn. Her name may also be a reference to the character Mary Malone in Philip Pullman's atheist fantasy series.
    • Several of the villains (e.g., Governor Hokem, Ambassador Zimmerman) have names that straddle the line between this and plain old Unfortunate Name. They are covered in more detail under that entry.
    • In a meta-example, William Lind first published the book under the penname Thomas Hobbes.
  • Messianic Archetype: Rumford is portrayed as one at first: a truthsayer who is martyred by the politically correct overlords and their yes-men. Then, he becomes a great leader of men, gathering a band of True Companions to stand together against the onslaught of multiculturalism that quickly grows into a veritable army. Though after this, he becomes an increasingly ruthless messianic paragon, somewhat subverting the type, especially once he comes under Kraft's influence.
  • Mexico Called; They Want Texas Back:
    • As America declines and the regime comes to depend more on minorities to support its corrupt rule, President Warner eventually agrees with Mexican nationalist leaders to establish a condominium over Texas, Arizona and Newmex. This backfires, however, as the locals strike back, and end up destroying most of the Mexican army in the ensuing war. The resultant power vacuum then allows the Aztecs to seize power in Mexico itself.
    • The civil war in California sees that state split. The Hispanic-dominated southern part is apparently annexed by the Mexicans, whereas the north becomes Azania.
  • Middle Eastern Coalition: An Islamic coalition turns up in the Boston Invasion arc, which even reaches outside the Middle East. Apparently whatever deep religious and political differences exist between Islamic nations is nothing compared to their need to get one over on Americans. Though, points for remembering Indonesia in this one.
  • Mildly Military: Intentionally invoked by Rumford when he organizes the General Staff, as he wants a flexible and dynamic military command rather than a rigidly hierarchical assembly of martinets.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Examples abound. Mostly, the forces of the federal government are incapable because of their compassion (not accepting collateral damage) and racial sensitivity, but also because they're chained to a bureaucracy that manages things like supplies and intelligence. Many affirmative-action recruits are also simply incompetent. When acting as an adviser to the New Confederacy of the South, Rumford sleeps through a briefing rather than be bothered by details of the roads and weather, preferring to know about the people. Even the National Guard who become Victoria's military need instruction from the Christian Marines. Their previous training in Third generation war making them useless in combat otherwise.
  • Military Coup: Following the death of President Warner and most of his cabinet, General Wesley pushes aside the designated survivor and takes charge himself, appointing a military government in order to make a total effort of the prosecution of the war against the increasingly successful rebels.
  • Military Maverick: Rumford is the poster boy for this, abetting and indeed encouraging such shenanigans in his command that they have to be read to be believed. And his approach to staff work, intelligence and logistics is... inconsistent, at best. Nonetheless, his ideas nearly always work.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: When dealing with the Nazis, Rumford doesn't consider the Jewish holocaust as important as most people would. He's more upset by the nature of Nazism as such, their fanaticism about their ideology and the power of the state to control the people through police and propaganda. Well, that and that they like color TV.
  • Minovsky Physics: This begins to show up toward the end of the story, when the Confederation start to really develop their Tesla-tech.
  • Misery Builds Character: American living standards suffered a global collapse due to depression, civil war and limited WMD use. The Retroculture activists believe that this is not an altogether bad thing, however, since poverty and hardship will unite the people, strike out the remnants of the corrupt old order and help form a better and more just future America:
    Our poverty continued to cleanse us of our sins, as the Dark Ages had cleansed Europe of the sins of the late Roman Empire. Consumerism, materialism, careerism, and the "Me First" attitude of early 21st century America faded before the demands and rewards of real life.
  • Mission Control: Rumford plays this several times—Naturally enough, after he becomes the Chief of Staff, directing overall operations while the field commanders command in the field. However, when he leads an expedition himself, as sometimes happens (for example, against Azania), others are this to him (e.g., Patel during that expedition).
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Victoria is at the harder end, with no technology that breaks the known laws of physics (though some, like cold fusion, reach toward the speculative). The military hardware featured for the most part either exists today, or consists of plausible next-generation concepts (when it's not outright old stuff). Biotechnology is somewhat more advanced than might be entirely plausible for the 2030s, however, from engineered super-plagues to Azania's mass-produced artificial wombs.
  • The Mole: The Christian Marines are kept impeccably informed at all times by a number of supporters in the State and local police, by a technician who bugs the Vermont Governor's smartphone, and in one case a Secret Service member on the Presidential protection detail whose brother is a Christian Marine.
  • Monumental Damage: Many American monuments end up smashed by some faction or other in the Civil War. Washington itself is ravaged by looters and rioters when the Federal Government evacuates to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the halls of government ruined and defaced much like those of Detroit in real life. Rumford comments bitterly:
    In the former District of Columbia, the Capitol and the White House were vandalized, partly burned and finally taken over by bums and crack-heads as places to squat. Having ruined the nation, they became ruins themselves.
    • New Orleans, too, is torn apart and all its historic sites ruined by the Black population, apparently just to spite their white neighbors who "like things pretty."
    • A federal drone strike destroys the ruins of the Alamo when Texas secedes, out of petty spite.
  • Mook Horror Show: The scene where the Cascadian Resistance hunt down the goddess in the wilderness, killing her attendants one by one.
  • Moral Dissonance: Anti-Hero status or not, and Dirty Business or not, the heroes do some awful things, usually (but not always) acknowledged to conflict with their own stated morality. If the constant use of hostages, death by hanging, occasional torture, nuking Atlanta or depopulating the Middle East through germ warfare doesn't horrify you, though, there's still a really good chance you the reader aren't on-board for selling Azanian loyalists into forced marriage in the Middle East so they can experience "true" male oppression and patriarchy.
  • Moral Myopia: The Christian Marines frequently use hostages against the federal government, yet boast of their moral superiority.
    • Particularly strange is the moral outrage when Governor Adams is assassinated, as though Victoria would never stoop to such a thing. Kidnapping, torture, use of hostages, sure, but assassination? Shortly after this, the entire federal government is killed by a kamikaze pilot who, we are assured, had absolutely nothing to do with Victoria.
    • The prologue has the Victorians execute a female Episcopalian bishop who worships pagan deities instead of Jesus Christ for refusing to admit that she's not a true Christian, and this is presented as fully justified. But when the Islamic militants demand that Mrs. Lodge convert to Islam or die, it's an act of pure evil. Presumably, whether religious intolerance is evil or not depends on whether it's the true Christians doing it.
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: Played with in the war between the Confederation and Azania, where it's the feminist dystopia that has all the high-tech toys, and the rugged minutemen only the romantic spirit on their side. But of course, the Azanians just inherited/stole their tech from the men who built it and don't have much actual "science" worth speaking of, themselves, whereas the Confederation does, even with a poorer tech base. Or at least, this is how Rumford sees it.
  • Mr. Exposition: Professor Sanft. Kraft, and even Rumford himself, can also double as this at times, though neither has it as their primary role.
  • Mundane Solution: There almost always exists a low-tech, simple solution to problems. Naval blockade? Spar torpedoes. Stealth planes? Old long-wave radar can spot them easily!
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Thoroughly averted by the protagonists, who would rather burn their nation to the ground and start over than share it with leftists, feminists, non-Christians and cultures besides Western Europe and its derivatives.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When the Feds start bombing Victoria, one bomb accidentally lands in a schoolyard. The same pilot is shot down and captured, and driven out to see the clean-up. Then he is released to spread the story, and the government thereafter restricts bombing to disabling rail nodes.
    • Also, Gunny Matthews has a rather... extreme reaction to having once said the shahada during the Muslim Invasion arc to infiltrate the occupying force. He seems more distressed over it than the intelligence he gained, that Christian blacks are being taken to the Middle East as slaves, insisting that he's no longer a Christian or "fit for decent people." At least until Rumford gives him absolution. Apart from Rumford's regrets over Atlanta, Gunny is the only Christian Marine ever shown to express remorse for anything he's done.
  • Naked People Are Funny: When the Pine Tree dollar is introduced, federal IRS agents surround Maine and confiscate any bills leaving the state, until they are ambushed. Most join the proto-Victorians, the rest are stripped naked, have their butts painted red and are paraded before the crowds before being shipped back to DC in a boxcar.
  • Named Weapons: Initially averted by Rumford, who prefers not to name the Confederation's warships, instead giving them hull numbers. However, he eventually reconsiders, and names two aircraft carriers after famous martyrs of the liberation struggle: the John C. Adams and the John Kelly.
  • Naval Blockade: After the Confederation states declare their independence, the US government institutes a blockade against them to prevent them from obtaining war supplies from overseas. This results in tensions with Russia that ultimately threaten to lead into World War III, as the US Navy fires upon a Russian freighter braving the gauntlet.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Landwehr stop just short of actually calling themselves Nazis, but since they employ incredibly obvious fascist iconography, Nietzschean philosophy and actual Waffen-SS military ranks, they fool no one. Somewhat less blatant is Azania, the eugenicist and militarist Lady Land.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Leader von Braun, or at least he claims to be one; the von Brauns are traditionally a family of Prussian barons, but Rumford suspects that he is not truly a legitimate heir to the name and title.
  • Nepotism: A rare benevolent example. When Colonel McMoster disobeys orders and attempts to intervene against the gangster armies ravaging New Orleans, the politically correct masterminds want him cashiered. But he is allowed to remain in command of his unit because his wife is related to the First Lady, and comes to play a significant role in Rumford's plans.
  • Never My Fault: A major fault of the federal government, as well as state regimes in Maine and Vermont toppled by the protagonists, who blame all the failures wrought by their massive incompetence on racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. This is mentioned several times in-story as the result of ideologies being unable to handle objective reality. An uncharitable reader could also see this vault in Rumford and Victoria as a whole, one is discharged from the Marines for his own choice to make a stand against political correctness and is unable to find work but insists it is all due to strangling federal regulation, while Victoria wages numerous "defensive" wars with enemies on the far side of the continent and the world.
  • New Meat: The Azanian units Rumford's Confederate squadron fight seem to be this, being easily frightened and poorly trained. Most of the Confederation officers attribute their poor performance to their natural female inferiority, but the story establishes earlier on that the Azanians were busily expanding their forces in anticipation of the Confederate invasion, and were suffering a critical shortage in trained personnel in the meantime.
  • New Technology Is Evil: At least according to Kraft, Retroculture is the Only Way and post-1930s technology is inherently corrupting and destructive to communities. Though he is not quite consistent about this, approving of cold fusion and various other advanced technologies. It seems it's mostly really information technology he dislikes, for creating "virtual realities" that confuse and disunite people. Well, that and cars that let people casually leave their hometown.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted, with lines like 'that crooner Madonna' and '(the French Aristocracy) gave us Marie Antoinette who had charm and innocence, they (the contemporary political elite) gave us Hilary Clinton, who had neither.' Strongly averted with Jane Fonda who appears and promptly dies in nuclear fire.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: General Wesley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who, unlike most of the Federal Government leaders, does not seem to care very much about political correctness, and more about crushing the rebels. When the regime begins falling to pieces after its botched final offensive, the President and Cabinet are killed in a supposed lone-wolf terrorist strike, whereupon Wesley proclaims a no-holds-barred military dictatorship and attempts to salvage the situation. By then it is too little, too late, however.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: The early, idealistic Rumford believes this to be true of the power of the federal government, seeking to create a very libertarian state with freedom for the people. Whether he succeeds or not is arguable; at least some readers may see something bittersweet in his early encomium to liberty when contrasting it to how the Northern Confederation turns out in practice:
    Rumford: At one time, America had shunned power, refused power, at home and abroad. Those had been our happy days. Then the "Progressives" came along, who thought the power of government could be used for good. Eventually, they decided the power of government was good in itself—because they controlled it.

    That’s how it always works: power looks good to whoever has it. But it isn’t. Our war was in a way the strangest war of all, a war to bury power, not to seize it.
  • No Party Given: Averted, but in a non-partisan manner, perhaps unexpectedly so for such an otherwise uninhibitedly political book. It's explicitly spelled out that President Cisneros is of the Democrats, while his successor President Warner is a Republican—but both administrations are more or less equally corrupt, without any narrative favoritism either way.
  • No Social Skills: Rumford, who says what he thinks regardless of who might be offended. Sometimes he will also demonstrate his displeasure nonverbally, for example by overtly sleeping through briefings he finds boring or useless.
  • Noble Bigot: While Rumford is one of the good guys, and wishes the best for everyone, his views on various racial minorities, homosexuals, women, etc. are, well, not mainstream by early 21st-century standards.
  • Noble Confederate Soldier: Rumford's sojourn in the New Confederacy offers several Neo-Confederate examples; one that might be mentioned is Colonel Bill McMoster, CO of the 3rd Texas Rangers, who becomes one of his key allies as he takes one the Commune.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Not taken all the way, but Rumford does relax grooming and uniform standards for his elite units, reasoning that they don't need the spit and polish to maintain their discipline, and even jokingly referring to the Sukhomlinov Effect.
  • Nonviolent Initial Confrontation: Rumford's introduction to Halsing, which sees them engaged in polite discussion over a shared breakfast. Unusual in that no witnesses or back-up men from either side are present: both simply trust the other to behave honorably, and correctly so, as it turns out.
  • No True Scotsman: Retroculture, the ideology that isn't, because it's proponents insist all ideology is self-destructive and denies reality, unlike their entirely natural and rational belief that rejecting "modern" social values and some technology makes life better for everyone.
  • Not So Different: There are certain uncomfortable parallels between the Confederation and various of their enemies, especially the Nazis. Some are pointed out by the narrator, and some are more subtly hinted at.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Azania, which (despite Rumford's reflexive condescension) arguably manages to be the most competent enemy faction in the book, except the Nazis.
    • While their air forces underperform against the Confederation's veteran pilots, the Azanians are more dangerous on the ground, even earning the distinction of outthinking Rumford on one occasion. He still wins that battle in the end, but only because of luck and unexpected reinforcements.
    • Later, they manage to be an existential threat to the Confederation even when on the verge of total defeat by virtue of their nuclear doomsday weapons.
  • Nuke 'em: Rumford's response when Black gangs take over Atlanta.
  • Number Two: Rumford to Kraft among the rebels, after he merges the Christian Marines into the latter's broader Retroculture movement. After Kraft becomes Governor of the Confederation, Rumford remains effectively his second-in-command as Chief of the General Staff.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The various state and federal governments are loaded with these, constantly causing headaches for law-abiding citizens and upholding criminals. Rumford is able to topple the Vermont state government simply by becoming one of these, and insisting they follow all their own rules.
  • Occupiers out of Our Country: Many in the incipient Northern Confederation (and the New Confederacy) feel this way about the federal agents and government troops trying to maintain Washington's rule in these areas, even before they formally declare their independence. An even straighter example is the reaction to the UN-backed invasion that follows the downfall of the old regime.
  • Offered the Crown: Not literally, but Rumford is offered the position of head of Free Maine's armed forces. He rejects it, accepting instead the position of chief of staff (effectively, second in command).
  • Officer and a Gentleman:
    • Kraft is one, at least on a good day. Rumford wishes he were one, but knows he isn't.
    • Also Hauptsturmfuehrer Halsing, the Landwehr officer, who may be a crazy Nazi wannabe, but is also cool, competent and scrupulously polite.
    • This is fairly typical of the New Confederacy, where the officers of the conservative "Old South" faction keep alive the traditions of Southern chivalry.
  • Old School Dogfight: Several of the air battles with Azania. Justified in part, since they are fighting among mountain peaks where long-range weapons are realistically less useful; also downplayed, since missiles are used, though under these conditions cannons still claim most of the casualties.
  • Old Soldier: Colonel Kraft, who is already aging when first introduced and quickly steps down from active duty once the Confederation is established.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: When slaughtering the intellectuals at Dartmouth, a choir is brought in to chant the Dies Irae.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, with multiple unrelated characters named Kelly, and at least two of them also share their first name, John. Lampshaded by Rumford, who jokes that sometimes, you might think every third Marine is named Kelly.
  • One-Word Title: Named after The Place that parts of America get renamed into.
  • Oppressive States of America: Even before the economic meltdown, the plagues and the secessions, There is widespread unrest over harsh anti-smoking laws that, among other things, let people exposed to secondhand smoke or scenting tobacco sue the smoker for massive damages. It only gets worse once the real crises begin to pile up.
  • The Order: The Christian Marines, who band together to protect Christianity against the corrupt federal government. Later in the story, the Knights of St. Louis are also this.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: As a slur on real people. The violent criminals and other persons of similarly worthless moral character who overrun cities are explicitly called orcs. Several times.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President Warner is a President Personable with some admixture of President Evil, while President Yancey is a straight example of the former.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Azania, which idealizes progress through technology and considers Christianity a regressive cult that oppresses women.
  • Outscare the Enemy: A standard part of Christian Marines tactics, where they kidnap many hostages to prevent what would otherwise be war-winning tactics by their enemies. In the epilogue, several people who massacred the crew of a fallen Victorian zeppelin are themselves hurled to their deaths from another.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: The strength of Fourth Generation War. Rumford is able to sink modern warships with spar torpedoes, and arrests a bombing campaign by kidnapping pilots and holding them hostage. The outdated military of the US is utterly helpless against these tactics. (Though the spar torpedo incident was against the Islamic fleet, rather than the US Navy, which perhaps mitigates that one somewhat.)
  • The Paragon: Rumford takes up the old German Auftragstaktik and John Boyd's model of warfare as information management, with individual initiative as the key component. His leadership style heavily emphasizes the importance of getting his subordinates to think for themselves, and he always prefers to command by suggestion and example, rather than detailed orders. He also fills this role as a community organizer, helping Gunny Matthews rally the little people against the gangsters who terrorize their neighborhoods.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Inverted with Captain John Rumford, who is a heroic example rebelling against the corrupt system in the future United states. When we first meet him, he is clearly being groomed for greater things in the USMC, and as we later see, his intellectual, organizing and leadership abilities are in fact prodigious. However, his old-fashioned country boy values lead him to rebel against feminism in the Corps, getting him cashiered. Then, after some confused floundering about, he begins his second career as a revolutionary.
  • The Pardon: When the Deep Green militants rebel and their uprising is put down, Kraft reprieves the captives from execution and instead just exiles them from the Confederation. In order to justify this, he argues that while they are traitors, they are less malicious than merely misguided.
    "Because they erred, they had to pay a price, and they did. The price was banishment. Had we set their lives as the price, we would have gone too far. It is useful to remind ourselves that we are all fools on occasion."
  • The Patriarch: William Kraft, who manages his orderly family (wife, son, and two daughters) with quiet authority.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The Christian Marines believe in this early on, tarring and feathering an activist judge who protects the gangbangers and drug dealers that prey on their community. Once established, the Northern Confederation keeps this belief.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: Azania and Cascadia are the outstanding examples, but there are more.
  • Persecuted Intellectuals: The massacre at Dartmouth, broadcast to all, sends a very clear message. Multiculturalism, tolerance, political correctness and all other forms of 'Cultural Marxism' will not be tolerated. Almost immediately after, a proper college is erected to teach the classics and the Western canon.
  • Pet the Dog: In spite of Rumford's racism, sexism, homophobia, and general nastiness, he does feel responsible for the welfare of all law-abiding Confederation citizens, even persons of color. This is brought out when he makes a deal with the Arabic slave-traders to get back the blacks they have stolen away from Boston.
  • The Philosopher: Rumford likes philosophy, and often quotes, paraphrases or alludes to the works of Plato, Xenophon, Clausewitz, Chesterton, C. S. Lewis and various others. Kraft, also. Halsing is a villainous example, who prefers Nietzsche to Christian thinkers.
  • The Philosopher King: William Kraft, who has not only studied the philosophy of the past, but reflected carefully over the problems of the present. As Governor, he maintains an enlightened rule that encourages Retroculture while firmly discouraging socially disruptive technologies and ruthlessly extirpating any and all expressions of Cultural Marxism.
  • Philosophical Choice Endings: In-universe example. When the various enemies are finally defeated and society begins to recover from the disasters, Kraft and Rumford are left with the question of how to make sure the Confederation will not grow evil and corrupt once the generation of the founders has passed on, like most democracies seem to do. Some advisors even want to scrap democracy because of this and ban all opposition to Retroculture. However, Kraft believes in the people, and ultimately uses his influence to make sure that democracy prevails and Retroculture remains voluntary.
  • The Place: The One-Word Title is named after the location that parts of America get renamed into.
  • The Plague: A large part of the fall is genetically engineered diseases. The Victorians are also attacked this way by Muslims and respond in kind during a prisoner exchange. The Victorians wisely quarantine their recovered people, while the Middle East is depopulated by their tailored diseases.
  • Plot Armor: The only reason we can think of that the Christian Marines didn't get stomped.
  • Poisonous Friend: Rumford becomes one to Yancey, Laclede and the other Neo-Confederate leaders through his ruthless solution to the Atlanta insurrection, which he then gives them credit for.
  • Police are Useless: The police are utterly unable to prevent any of the early acts of violence by the Christian Marines. When they come up at all, it's mentioned that a number of Marines are disaffected police officers, and so constantly inform their brothers on police plans. A few times, the various governor's plans or federal troop movements are betrayed specifically because they coordinated with law enforcement. In both Atlanta and earlier in the housing battle of Boston, Rumford is easily able to find frustrated and sympathetic officers who are hamstrung by political correctness and eager to aid him.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Played straight with Captain Halsing, the charming and polite Nazi officer, when contrasted to the often abrasive Rumford. Also compare President Warner earlier in the story, who never uses any foul language. Otherwise generally averted.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Azania and Cascadia are, insofar as any real-life political terminology can be applied to them, totalitarian pseudo-Stalinist versions of feminism and environmentalism, respectively. The federal government early in the story isn't nearly as mad, but certainly represents the trope. Rumford comments:
    Of course, these were the years of "political correctness." Our colonel was running for general, and he figured he could kiss ass by being "sensitive to issues of race, gender, and class." [...] These were the last days of the U.S.A., and the absurd, the silly, the impossible were in charge and normal people were expected to keep their mouths shut. It was a time, as Roger Kimball said, of "experiments against reality."
  • Politically Correct Villain: Most of the villains associated with the Federal Government, ranging from honest liberals to cynical grievance merchants and profiteers. Also, the New South has many of these.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Rumford. So very much Rumford.
    “Word about what?” I replied. “What in hell is going on? Isn’t this the usual summer ghetto free-fried-chicken-and-watermelon riot?”
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Mostly averted, with most of the villains being decidedly politically correct, and the heroes rather anti-PC. The exception, of course, is the Nazi wannabes, who out-Rumford Rumford in their opposition to political correctness.
  • Practical Currency: Barter is reinstated during the inflation crisis, despite federal efforts to ban it and empowering the IRS to confiscate any item for which a bill of sale cannot be produced.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Ultimately, Rumford wants a prosperous, secure, and thoroughly traditional and Christian state and he's willing to do whatever it takes to get it, whether or not the majority of his people even want it. By the midpoint of the novel, all these traditionally liberal states that make up Victoria have firmly come around to his way of thinking.
  • Preppy Name: Mr. Montgomery Blair, the Honorable John C. Adams, Mrs. William Schermerhorn, and various others.
  • Prevent the War: Averted; while Rumford initially argues against Kraft's plans for war against Azania, he is soon convinced by his arguments and acquiesces in the operation. Likewise, a general vote against getting involved in Cascadia fails to resolve itself before the crisis is over and done.
  • Principles Zealot: Rumford would rather be drummed out of the Corps than apologize for not recognizing a woman as a fellow Marine.
  • Private Military Contractors: Evil foreign mercenaries form the praetorian guard of the Cascadian leaders. Rumford's Japanese allies in the same campaign are very technically this, but only in order not to make their involvement in a proxy war official.
  • Proper Lady: Maria, Rumford's love interest. Mrs. Kraft also qualifies.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Kraft's ruminations over the conspiracies of the Cultural Marxists may sound conspiratorial, but he is proved absolutely correct by unfolding events. Even after the downfall of the United States itself, the Marxists in the UN keep trying to subvert and destroy the Confederation.
    • For that matter, the Azanians are proved right as well in a way. Their tyranny and militarism might easily be considered paranoid, but Kraft and his followers quite validate their fears by launching an explicitly ideological campaign of subversion and war against them.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: When the heroes take pilots hostage to deter bombing, it's a clever outside-the-box tactic, when the Feds assassinate a Confederate leader, it's a vile crime. When good Christians are sold into slavery in the Middle East, no effort or expense can be spared in securing their return home, when defeated feminists are sold into sexual slavery in the Middle East, it's only their just comeuppance and a chance to show them what real patriarchal oppression looks like.
  • A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: Subverted. Rumford becomes the leader of the Christian Marines group quite early, and seems bound to become the leader of the revolution against the corrupt regime. But the Christian Marines end up amalgamated with the bigger and better-connected Retroculture movement, and come under the control of William Kraft, with Rumford playing the role of a secondary leader.
  • Public Execution: The massacre of the intellectuals at Dartmouth is televised to all Victoria. More generally, most executions carried out in the Confederation are public hangings.
    • The burning of the bishop Cloaca Devlin for heresy which bookends the novel.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The regular Army's rank-and-file during the downfall, who are fighting only for their paycheck. Most of them actually sympathize with the Christian Marines' ideals, they just have their families to think of in a collapsing society.
  • Puppet King: Bill Kraft refuses to become Governor of Maine and de facto leader of Victoria, until ordered to do so by his Kaiser, the last surviving member of the House of Hohenzollern (who can't actually be a Kaiser). So Victoria has a leader more loyal to his foreign sovereign than his civic duty.
    • Besides which, Russia's financial and military support is invaluable to Victoria, Japan buys and develops all their national parks and China builds a hydroelectric dam in exchange for a hundred year monopoly on power. But at least they're free from the stifling rule of Washington, right?
  • Puppet State: Victoria is dependent on Russia for weapons and military/political support, their leader takes orders from his foreign Kaiser, and the Chinese secure a 99-year monopoly on providing power to Victoria, so there are many powerful foreign influences in the new state.
  • The Purge: Numerous examples. The televised massacre of ideologically unreliable intellectuals at Dartmouth is the most memorable, particularly since it was carried out with short swords, by men in Crusader cosplay, and a live chorus chanting Latin in the background. Also as the first major public act of the Kraft regime. But other examples are sprinkled throughout, like the forced deportation of Boston's entire Puerto Rican population, and the removal of all Blacks from cities.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Landwehr, led by a Nazi wannabe who plays his role as Fuehrer theatrically and to the fingertips, complete with uniforms and Gratuitous German. They're more hobbyists than "real" Nazis (no connection to the historical Nazi Reich), but they act exactly the way historically semi-literate American World War II nerds would imagine real Nazis would: i.e., even more extreme than the real deal.
    • Also, the bomber used to destroy Atlanta is the last surviving example of a Nazi jet-bomber design from the very end of the war. Could be just Rule of Cool though.
  • Questionable Consent: The treatment of the defeated Azanians more generally raises inevitable questions about the beautiful war marriages Rumford alludes to.
  • Quit Your Whining: Rumford's response to what he considers entitled minorities complaining about racism and life in the Confederation in general.
  • Rage Against the Legal System: Rumford, who comes to recognize the corrupt legal apparat in the dystopian future United States as the literal enemy of the people. Realizing this is a major turning point in his life.
    This wasn’t law, I realized, this was war. The Legal Services lawyers, the liberal judges who gave them the rulings they wanted, their buddies in the ACLU, they were just enemy units of different types.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Federal troops, as their discipline collapses in the final stages of America's decline. Especially the Numero Uno Division. Also many of the various bands and hordes that rise up in the power vacuum after the fall.
  • Rated M for Manly: A story about ex-military militiamen throwing off the shackles of Big Government and the Fed, crushing leftism and political correctness and setting up a frontier utopia of well-armed homesteaders and rugged individualism. And fighting dastardly college professors, neo-pagans and techno-amazons along the way.
  • The Real Heroes: Referenced occasionally, with Rumford reminding us that in the end, even an Alexander or Napoleon is nothing without good soldiers to command—and it is usually the latter who end up giving their all more than the former.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Military protagonist John Rumford is a strong Christian believer, who derives great strength from his faith and his complete conviction that he has Providence on his side and is fighting for righteousness and truth. This is also true of several other characters in the book.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Inverted. The only women who can fight are the evil Azanians....not that they're very good at fighting, mind you.
  • Rebel Leader: Rumford plays this role himself, in the first stages of his rebellion, though he soon abdicates in favor of Kraft. Though he remains in command of the Christian Marines organization itself, as a subdivision within the greater revolutionary Retroculture movement.
  • Reference Overdosed: Rumford and Kraft both make a dizzying number of references to middling-obscure scholars, historical figures and military theorists. Helmuth Von Moltke and 'Jenghis John' Boyd are the most frequently quoted, but J. R. R. Tolkien and G. K. Chesterton come up several times as well. Ancient Greek authors are also referenced.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Apparently how Fourth Generation Warfare is meant to work, gambling everything on outside-the-box master-strokes with no contingency planning whatsoever, like using spar torpedoes against modern naval ships, hiding ambushing forces by having them cling to the underside of a bridge for hours, kidnapping an entire air force...
  • Reign of Terror: All the successor states have one. The Confederation's consists largely of a purge of all Marxists from university faculties, media and other positions of power, while continuing to kill Blacks with only a cursory trial. Meanwhile, the Nazis kill the Jews, the Azanians kill the men, and the Deep Greens kill, well, everyone who isn't completely loyal to their regime.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Being libertarians in a kind-of-sort-of way, Kraft and Rumford don't really want to rule the Confederation, and indeed Kraft won't accept the Governor's seat until the Kaiser advises him to do so. Even afterward, they're leery of the dangers of government power, and of how even their own government might become oppressive like the Feds were if they don't take care to avoid it.
    And what then? Would we have Northern Confederation police in black ninja suits and body armor breaking down doors in the middle of the night to seize forbidden devices and arrest people for possessing them? That wasn’t the kind of country I fought to create.
  • The Remnant: Elements of the old regime's military forces hold out slightly longer than the Federal Government itself, but soon cease to offer any meaningful resistance to the victorious rebels. Many of their personnel are implied to join the New Confederacy and other successor states, once the collapse is complete.
  • Renaissance Man: Rumford has mastered foreign languages, classical literature, history, philosophy, theology and operational art, and then farming, too. The Retroculture ideal is that every educated man should have an old-style classical education.
  • The Republic: The Northern Confederation, eventually renamed Victoria, which rises out of the ashes to carry on America's constitutional legacy. Or at least select portions of it.
  • Revenge Against Men: Azania is a whole country behaving like this collectively, by effectively setting up a fascist state where the male sex is the alien "Other".
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Bureaucratized: Zig-zagged. While the Northern Confederation does set up a working government while everything is falling apart, they disdain the old bureaucracy, shift capitol often, and tend to either make decisions with just a couple of people in a diner, or submit the issue to a general vote of the entire citizenry.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Across the board in the successor states. While the author views the Confederation as the nicest of the bunch, even they have elaborately staged public executions of political enemies and mass deportations of Hispanics when they cause riots and disorders. Kraft deliberately invokes the trope when his political enemies jeer and hiss at him:
    Kraft: I too am a revolutionary. My revolution—our revolution, here in the Northern Confederation—is against you. Marxist revolutionaries of every yellow stripe, wherever they obtained power, brought 'revolutionary justice.' Anyone or anything that furthered their revolution was just, anyone or anything that opposed it was unjust. And the unjust were liquidated, by the millions. Now, by your own standard let you be judged. You have opposed our revolution, so you stand condemned.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: William Kraft, when introduced. To the world, he presents the appearance of a well-off harmless eccentric. Actually, of course, he is the leader of the underground Retroculture movement's American arm.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: Before secession, the federal government undergoes a hyperinflation crisis similar to the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe, lacking the political will to stop printing money or cut-off the 'welfare-queens.' A hamburger is mentioned as costing $50 million.
  • Rightful King Returns: The offscreen restoration of the Tsar of Russia.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: The whole Christian Marines movement begins essentially as this, though they are heroes in this story. The Party of the Will and the Landwehr also qualify.
    • In fact, when the Northern Confederacy is formed, the plaid-coated militia have to teach the National Guard how to really fight.
  • Rising Empire: Several of the American successor states, after the downfall of the old regime, as everyone scrambles to first secure their own borders and then take up the mantle of the United States as dominant power on the continent. Though most are weeded out before long in the ensuing struggles. Toward the end of the story, the only two real challengers remaining are the Confederation and Azania, with other, more minor powers appearing to align with either.
  • The Rival: Leader von Braun's neo-Nazi state sort of becomes this to the Confederation. Unlike most of the other "enemy" states at this stage, they are competent and an enemy Rumford and Kraft feel they have to respect, even if they think von Braun's philosophy is evil and wrong, and built up as a major threat towards the final story arc, as they consolidate their position and threaten to overtake the good guys with their ruthless Germanic Efficiency. Though ultimately, the final war ends up being fought not against them, but Azania.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Older tech is always better, because Retroculture. Spar torpedoes can easily sink modern warships, old WWII short-wave radar is fantastic at spotting high-tech stealth bombers. T-34s are more reliable and easily repaired than modern tanks, though at least there it's acknowledged they'll want to avoid any pitched battles with newer armor. The only computers in Victoria are those their EW specialists use to hack and confound the enemy, so their electronic security is absolute.
  • Rousing Speech: Several. Here is an excerpt from one by General LeMieux prior to one of the critical battles against the tottering but increasingly totalitarian Federal Government:
    "What are we fighting for? Everything. Our lives, our families, our homes, our culture, and our God. If we lose, we lose all of them."
  • Rousseau Was Right: Zigzagged, since some villains are presented as truly irredeemable, but the general view of people in Victoria is ultimately rather optimistic. Much emphasis is placed on the fact that the masses are cowed and apathetic only due to mind-numbing propaganda and pressure to conform from the evil authorities, and people flock to the Christian Marines' banners as soon as they present a better alternative to the corrupt status quo. And when the people are given the clearly stated choice between good and evil, the majority choose good.
  • Running the Blockade: Attempted by the freighter White Russia to deliver much-needed supplies to the beleaguered Confederation after the US Navy cuts off its overseas trade. This leads up to a naval clash between the destroyers USS Gonzalez and a Russian submarine.
  • Russia Is Western: The restored Russian Empire eventually allies with the Confederation, the Catholic states, and the German and British empires against their common enemy, Islam.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: The Aztecs, Neo-Barbary States and the Orcs of Philadelphia all provide examples of this. The Northern Confederation's naval forces are equally ruthless in suppressing them.
  • Sacred Hospitality: While the Nazi emissary Halsing visits Rumford, he is treated as his personal guest, and reciprocates appropriately. It is only after he is formally turned over to the authorities that he becomes a prisoner in the usual sense—and consequently, also only then that he begins to work on effecting his escape.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Col. John Kelly, one of the original Christian Marines, who goes down fighting the UN invasion forces. He even takes Ayatollah Ghorbag down with him.
  • Save the Villain: After Azania is defeated, the Confederation forces attempt to help their panicking refugees, rather than let them starve in the wilderness.
  • Scandalgate: Governor Hokem is brought down by one after the Christian Marines publicize his crossdresser-and-blackmail affair.
  • Schizo Tech: Both as a result of the collapse, and mandated by the Confederation's Retroculture ideology. "Modern" technology (which means post-1930s through 2030s, generally speaking) is disallowed, or at least discouraged; on the other hand, however, newly invented science fiction technologies, such as cold fusion or derivatives of Tesla's far-out concepts, are perfectly acceptable.
  • Science Is Bad: Averted; Retroculture doesn't oppose science and technology as such. Just the early 21st-century configuration of technology.
    • Unless it involves television, or computers which create 'virtual realities' or cars that can drive more than a short distance. Despite only having a few computers to hack the enemy, Victoria becomes a world leader in science and tesla-tech.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: A more down-to-earth example than many, but Rumford's forces seriously strain suspension of disbelief through the large and long-distance military operations they smoothly accomplish with utterly minimal support services and staff. The narration occasionally lampshades it, indicating that the author is doing it quite on purpose.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Being a man of principles, Rumford would rather lose his job and eke out an existence as a poor farmer than submit to feminist dogma.
  • Self-Made Man: Terry, the former Marine aviator and aviation buff who made a fortune in real estate and fulfilled his dream—buying and restoring a real-life World War II jet bomber.
  • Semper Fi: Most of the main characters are ex-Marines, and the militia they form (the Christian Marines) is themed on the Corps' good sides. William Kraft is not a Christian Marine originally, but accepted as an honorary Marine for his activities in the civil war.
  • Sergeant Rock: Sergeant Major Danielov, a former special forces man, guerrilla leader and later Rumford's senior NCO advisor. Gunny Matthews is a somewhat downplayed, or at least more humble, example.
  • Sex Slave: The ultimate fate of many women who fought for Azania. A rare example in that it is the protagonists inflicting this fate.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Kraft, when not in his Prussian uniform, typically dressing in impeccable tailor-cut, double-breasted suits.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: With the way the attractive and ever kind Maria is introduced, and her more than somewhat exotic backstory, it is easy to suspect that something is off, and that she must really be some sort of spy or agent of influence—For the Aztecs, or maybe even the Azanians, as this is where they really begin to gather momentum as a major threat. Actually, she is exactly what she presents herself as: a Spanish noblewoman who was enslaved by pirates after jealous underlings betrayed and killed her family, with no ulterior agenda but escaping her tormentors.
  • Shoot the Dog: A lot of Rumford's ruthless but necessary actions could arguably qualify as this, but the one he takes most seriously himself is the nuking of downtown Atlanta to stop the genocidal Commune and end the civil war in the New Confederacy. He still thinks it was necessary and would do it again, but when he meets the Nazis later, this forces him to accept that he is Not So Different from them as he would wish to be.
  • Shown Their Work: Lind, a professional military theorist, was one of the legendary Pentagon Reformers, and Victoria shows considerable familiarity with their works. Rumford's tactics are essentially a playful exaggeration of their theories, with a few winks and in-jokes to readers in the know. Of course, not everyone agrees with all of those theories.
  • The Simple Life Is Simple: At first it seems this trope will be averted, Rumford struggles to succeed as a farmer. But that's only because of oppressive federal regulations. Later, people are easily able to transition from city life to rural agriculture, particularly the Black population of Victoria who are banned from raising a family within any city.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Subverted. At first, the villainy of the World Islamic Council alliance is established through their crucifixion or enslavement of the Christian citizens of the Confederation, and Rumford continues to treat the Muslim slavers with contempt throughout the story. However, he later approves the enslavement of the Azanian intransigents, and this is not treated as unforgivable.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: Rumford's contempt for the Pentagon early in the story includes the observation that, to use a euphemism, promotion there depends less on professional qualifications than on other qualities, and the willingness to employ them. In the context he says it, this may be hyperbole for sycophancy and yes-manship or a literally intended complaint against women and homosexuals in the military, of whom he certainly does not think very highly at other points.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Before the collapse, the US is a more or less straight Level 4, with affirmative action trying but failing to give women full equality. Afterward, it becomes a little more complicated; since there is no longer any uniform culture, conditions now vary from place to place. Generally speaking, Victoria and its allies (and most "good" countries abroad, like Russia) are roughly at Level 3, while the "evil" cultures (e.g., the Arabs) are Level 2. Azania, the odd one out, is currently in the process of establishing a stable Level 9 when destroyed by the heroes.
  • Slut-Shaming: Heroic example, since the Confederation believes in strict morals. They actively champion pre-1950s social values (some hardliners prefer pre-1850s), and have very strict policies in place against prostitutes, wanton women and other sexual deviants.
  • Smash the Symbol: The Azanian capital at Berkeley is burned, bulldozed and salted by the Victorians, symbolizing the complete destruction of this state and all it represented.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Or so thinks Rumford, anyway. Most of the main characters are smokers, whereas the corrupt US Government is early on associated with health-nutty anti-tobacco policies.
  • Smug Snake: Many a villainous spokesperson for the federal government, one gets hurled from a tall building by nuns after dismissing the horrible rape and murder of one of their own. Bill Kraft can come off this way, particularly in his Dartmouth speech.
  • The Snark Knight: Rumford is acerbic in his treatment of everyone, including those few exemplars who actually meet with his overall approval. He will make his one exception where Bill Kraft is concerned most of the time, but even he is not totally immune.
  • The Social Darwinist: The Nazis in the Landwehr, of course.
  • Soldiers at the Rear: Azania's high-tech military, with lots of artillery, sensors, drones and a heavy emphasis on air power, means that they have a lot of these. To the rugged militia troops in the Confederation Army, where there are no slackers and every man fights, this is proof that women cannot be "real" soldiers, and not surprisingly they treat them with massive contempt.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: Rumford considers the US this, the decaying remnant of a once-great nation.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Rumford's writing sometimes approaches this, as his register varies wildly with the topic.
  • Southern Gentleman: Rumford is very impressed with the hospitality of the New Confederacy, and considers them genteel but indecisive.
  • The Spartan Way: The Northern Confederation's military has shades of this, emphasizing live-fire field exercises and campaigning with minimal support services.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: The Japanese admiral Rumford liaises with answers to the name Tanaka, which is effectively the Japanese equivalent of calling him "John Smith" or "Mr. Jones".
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: Azania, which considers (some of) the implications of a Lady Land.
  • State Sec: The Christian Marines are effectively a heroic example of this in the Northern Confederation. A militia of former policemen and military veterans who are the ideological backbone of the Confederation's right-wing regime, they spearhead its armies and perform internal-security functions in peacetime.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Rumford thinks the very idea of women in the military is insane, and considers it a sign of how decadent the old America truly was that it would indulge such madness.
    It’s hard to remember that we even had women in a military, it seems so strange now. How could we have been so contemptuous of human experience? Did we think it merely a coincidence that all armies, everywhere, that had actually fought anyone had been made up solely of men? But these were the last days of the U.S.A., and the absurd, the silly, the impossible were in charge and normal people were expected to keep their mouths shut.
    • He also notes in passing that back in the old US, there were women employed in the government services, implying that this is no longer the case in the Confederation.
  • Still Fighting the Civil War: One of the largest and most prosperous successor states is the New Confederacy. Rumford remarks that black-white relations are fine when everyone knows their place, and that slavery was preferable to welfare.
  • Still the Leader: Peaceful example with Rumford and Kraft. Initially, Rumford is the elected leader of the Christian Marines militia and their support network; but once Kraft emerges as the proven overall leader of the reactionaries, he at once puts his organization at his full disposal.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: This is how Gunny Matthews responds to "ghetto gangsta" culture. By and large, he agrees with Rumford that the black community's biggest problem is not white racism, but rather its own bad apples.
  • The Strategist: Rumford is the Confederation's chief of staff, and his Fourth Generation Warfare tactics contribute greatly to defeating its often numerically, and/or technologically superior enemies.
  • Strategy Versus Tactics: Rumford emphasizes heavily that tactics should serve strategy rather than the other way around, and also comments at length on how the military aspect is merely a part, and not always even the most important one, of the bigger grand-strategic picture. Especially much does he emphasize the moral level of warfare, as described by John Boyd. Though Rumford is as much a tactician as a strategist, and is shown to direct several of the critical individual battles. His doctrine on this level depends on high-risk maneuver warfare, mission-type tactics and independent initiative, and he explicitly acknowledges his indebtedness to German thinkers like von Clausewitz and Moltke for his ideas.
  • Straw Character: Arguably, most of the enemies of the Northern Confederation are some species or other of these. Whether actual goose-stepping Nazi roleplayers, human-sacrificing neo-pagans or genocidally misandristic feminist tyrants.
  • Straw Civilian: Secretary Mowukuu is an extreme example, crippling the military through anti-racism and thereby making a heavy contribution to the crumbling Federal Government's defeat in the war against the Victorians.
  • Straw Feminist: The Azanians, who are even genocidally misandristic. Played with in that, short of the Hollywood Nazis, they are perhaps the most dangerous and (modestly) competent enemies the Confederation faces after the Federal Government collapses.
    • The stereotype is lampshaded through Rumford, discussing an individual example:
    "She was disappointed in love early in her life and has hated men ever since."
    "I've always suspected that being disappointed in love was the origin of most feminism," I replied. "At least she’s not a lesbian."
  • Straw Hypocrite: The Cultural Marxists. As Kraft explains, while the environmentalists or feminists believe in their cause, and champion ideas that might even make some sense occasionally when taken in moderation, the Marxists know their doctrines are lies that lead to ruin, but promote them anyway out of sheer Satanic hatred for Western Civilization.
    Kraft: These people are not the ensnared, but the setters of snares. They are the deluders, the tricksters, the deceivers who serve the One Deceiver.
  • Straw Loser:
    • Governor Fullarbottom, arguably President Warner, and really, the Federal Government collectively. While their tyranny is often quite effective, equally often it's shown to be clumsy and inept, and most of its leaders are pathetic figures privately if not publicly.
    • By contrast, averted with the Nazis and Azania, both of which are portrayed as competent, serious, successful and even glamorous. Until Rumford crushes them, at least, in the latter case.
  • Straw Misogynist: The Islamic terrorists. They're so bad that the worst punishment the Confederation (which is itself moderately/heavily sexist) can inflict on female criminals is turning them over to them.
  • Strawman Ball: Passed around by all the antagonists with blazing speed. Rumford and Kraft, meanwhile, never have a wrong opinion and make one mistake over the course of the book.
  • Strawman News Media: The evil liberal media shamelessly distorts reality and hides the truth.
  • Strawman U: UNESCO funds colleges in Victoria. To show the evils of liberal schools these are hyper-parodies with things like male students forced to prostrate before a Temple of Artemis, white students wearing signs confessing to "PC sins" and lectures on the evils of Eurocentrism.
  • Suicide Attack: A kamikaze plane kills the President and most of the federal government as they flee the Capitol.
  • Supporting Leader: Governor Adams, and Kraft after he succeeds him.
  • Synthetic Plague: The US population is decimated by the N'Orleans Flu, a disease apparently created by some bright kids in a garage just to see if they could. Later, after the Muslim invasion, there's a prisoner exchange in which both sides expose their prisoners to engineered plagues before turning them over. The Victorians wisely quarantine their returned prisoners and the death count is controlled, while the Arab population is reduced by millions.
  • Take That!: To all the forces of 'Cultural Marxism.' Activist judges, liberal media, liberal academia, environmentalists, feminists, modernists, LGBTTQQIAAP, atheists, Muslims, Blacks and more. The "crooner" Madonna is one of the individual examples singled out, as is Jane Fonda.
  • Tanks for Nothing: Subverted and played straight, in various segments of the story. The latter tends to predominate, however. Partially justified, insofar that many of the Confederation's enemies are poorly trained and supplied forces that can't make the best of their armor, even if they have some to deploy.
  • Tar and Feathers: The Christian Marines get their start leading a mob that gives this treatment to a judge who ruled against them. With road tar.
    • In the spirit of this, several federal agents are stripped naked and have red paint splashed across their rears before being shipped back to DC in a boxcar.
  • Terror Hero: The Christian Marines emphasize the moral level of the war in their doctrine, and so try to get good publicity; but against enemies who understand only the fear of force, they deliver exactly that. As Colonel McMoster puts it, terror must be answered with terror.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Rumford's writing is sometimes done like this, usually for the sake of humor.
  • Technophobia: The Confederation restricts, or at least strongly discourages, the use of electronics and most modern technologies developed since the 1930s. But they don't object to new scientific discoveries; in fact, they're the world leader in the development of Super Science.
  • The Theocracy: While the Confederation is a democracy, it very emphatically rejects the idea of separation of church and state, at least as understood by the present-day Supreme Court in real life. The stated goal of the Christian Marines is "a land where the Ten Commandments are the law." By the beginning/end, non-Christians are banished from Victoria. The place is also a training center for the new crusade...
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Nuking the city to get rid of the rioting gangsters in it may be Awesome, but Impractical (and/or horrible, depending on your point of view), but surely qualifies for this.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Some neo-Nazis appear—and disturbingly, they're the only enemies that Lind portrays as anything close to being a Worthy Opponent. Even worse, the major reason given for why they're the enemy is that the Nazis were industrialized and modern.
  • Thoughtcrime: Much hand-wringing is done in the closing chapters over how to keep anyone from using post-1930s technology without creating a police state and constant surveillance. Eventually it is decided that Retroculture must be made a cultural norm, enforced by nosy neighbors and with social, not legal, consequences.
  • Torture Cellar: In Augusta, the state capital. When a Victorian official is assassinated one of the assassins is put on the rack.
  • Token Minority: Gunny Matthews is the one Black founding member of the Christian Marines, and later goes on to bring them valuable intel from Muslim-occupied Boston, and becomes a leader of CORN.
    • There was also a Jewish man, Meyer, present for the founding of the Christian Marines. He is never mentioned or relevant again.
  • Transhumanism: Azania, which seeks to overcome the limits of human biology and sex roles through science, abolishing the male sex entirely and creating an entirely new species and system of social organization. By the time of the war, they have already gotten far enough to replace pregnancy with artificial gestation.
  • True Companions: The early Christian Marines before they grow into a mass organization: two dozen idealistic veterans together against the world—or at least against the organized crime gangs and their corrupt political backers.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Rumford is first radicalized on May 7th, 2016. Two years after the book's publishing.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Subverted. After the death of the President, Vice President and most of the cabinet and leading legislators in a suspicious-looking terrorist attack, General Wesley attempts to suspend the civil government and impose a military dictatorship, in order to finally deal with the secessionists. However, his troops desert him, and instead the Christian Marines take over.
    • Subverted in another way with William Kraft's assumption of power, which is perhaps best described as a heroic example of this. His first public act is to slaughter the leftist professors at Dartmouth, with little remorse. To say nothing of the Confederation's other crimes against humanity.
  • Übermensch: The philosophy of the Landwehr, who have internalized (their own reading of) Nietzsche's philosophy, throwing off the shackles of bourgeois, democratic, and/or Christian values in favor of a more aristocratic ethic. Halsing is a personal example, who is also a Cultured Badass. While the story presents them as clear-cut villains, and arguably strawmans the philosophy, it does go to some lengths to establish them as a serious philosophical alternative to the heroes' more traditional, right-wing Christian Americanism.
  • Underhanded Hero: Deception, misdirection and manipulation make up a large part of the Fourth Generation Warfare arsenal. Rumford concerns himself not only with the purely military maneuvers, but also espionage, politics, propaganda and behind-the-scenes deals. The Machiavellian Kraft is even better at it.
  • The Unfettered: William Kraft will go to any lengths he believes necessary to secure Retroculture, up to condoning terrorism, political killings and (once he takes power) wars of aggression against other states. To his credit, he will also use only precisely the amount of violence he believes necessary, and prefers to pardon enemies who are no longer a threat, but when push comes to shove, he is utterly ruthless.
  • Unfortunate Name: Irving P. Zimmerman, a minor character named for the Zimmerman telegram, is the federal ambassador to Mexico.
    • Several villainous characters have names that were probably intended to be punny or humorous, but just come across as childish and juvenile. Alongside fairly realistic names, you have a female Episcopalian bishop named Cloaca Devlin, a governor named Snidely Hokem, and a Secretary of Defense with the stereotypically "African" sounding name of Kateesha Mowukuu.
  • Unfriendly Fire: In the Cascadia arc, Rumford is less than impressed with the politicized, and female-inclusive, leadership of the resistance, and notices some grunts on the ground aren't either. After retaking the capital, he sends a plane to pick up the resistance leaders as promised, and bombs them all.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Pulled on one of the villains — namely, Governor Snidely Hokem — by a pair of very convincing crossdressing homosexuals.
  • Untrusting Community: Following the N'Orleans Flu, there's a mass exodus from the cities to the countryside, where rural communities decide to shoot first lest someone spread the infection or eat up all their food. Victoria maintains ironclad border control as their highest security concern, even decades later.
  • Urban Warfare: Rumford, the guerrilla specialist, knows how horribly brutal and attritive this is, both to military and civilians, and makes sure to do his damnedest to avoid it if he can help it. He is on the whole successful, though not entirely so.
  • Used Future: Justified, given the post-apocalyptic setting. Even after the economy begins to recover and technology advances again, people prefer sturdy goods and tools that last, and/or can be repaired, over planned-obsolescence consumerist items.
  • Utopia: The Confederation is presented as one. To its supporters, it is a virtual paradise on Earth, where the people live free of corrupt politics, big-city criminality and all the rest of the many problems of the early 21st century. It's detractors do not consider it a real utopia; for example, the neo-Nazis dislike its anti-technology bias and capitalism, while the Azanians are hostile to a society where homosexuality is banned and women are expected to be proper Christian housewives.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Seems to be the attitude of most Victorians, or at least the leaders.
  • Veganopia: Subverted. Cascadia imposes a complete ban on meat, but is probably the single most dystopian of the American successor states, due to the rampant corruption, and/or insanity of its rulers.
  • Velvet Revolution: While the Civil War itself is often extremely brutal, it ends with a whimper rather than a bang, as the Federal Government largely ceases to work after being forced to abandon Washington. General Wesley and his hard-core cadre excepted, most of their remaining loyalists either desert or flee to the New Confederacy, rather than making a last stand.
  • Vice City: All cities seem to be this to some degree, except in Victoria where the modern buildings are torn down and replaced with tasteful traditional architecture, and only a handful of professional Blacks without families remain.
  • Vigilante Man: Rumford and the original Christian Marines early in the story, striking back against the criminals and corrupt officials who are preying on their neighborhoods.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Nazi officer Halsing discusses political philosophy with Kraft, the latter is unable to convincingly rebut his critique of Retroculture, and essentially tries to handwave it. This is probably Kraft's most significant debating defeat in the book.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Zig-zagged with Azania. Their high-tech Lady Land draws large numbers of immigrants from the rest of the former United States, in spite of its totalitarian policies, and even Kraft fears their growing popularity and influence on other states. On the other hand, there is a very vocal opposition against them in the Confederation, the Confederacy and elsewhere, so their image abroad would ultimately seem to be more polarizing than universally positive.
  • Visionary Villain: Several of the successor states are run by political ideologues who wish to turn their own nations into what they consider utopias and beacons to the world:
    • Cascadia's rulers want to build the first modern state where humanity truly lives In Harmony with Nature, without hurting our friends the animals.
    • The Nazis want to free the people of the yoke of Jewish capitalism and build a model Aryan community patterned on the Third Reich.
    • Azania's leaders want to create a nation of, by and for women only, where they can live without male oppression and develop their own culture.
    • Of course, they all use atrocities to make truth of their visions, so even if one may charitably consider their actions well-intentioned in some cases, the actions themselves are monstrous, firmly establishing the "Villain" part.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: Downplayed with Father Dimitri, the Russian priest, who swills a lot of vodka, but is never impaired by it and by and large seems to have the habit under control.
  • Voice of the Resistance: During the Civil War, the regime and its corrupt backers control the mainstream media, but the Christian Marines are able to get their side of the story out through the Internet and (sometimes) undercover sympathizers inside the Propaganda Machine who slip news past the censors.
  • The Von Trope Family: Leader von Braun, who might (by the sound of it) be related to the German rocket scientist, though Rumford has some doubts about how legitimate his name is. On the good side, there is Prince Michael of Prussia, referred to by his family name as Prince Michael von Hohenzollern.
  • War Hawk: Rumford, an isolationist, believes that the Confederation should not seek war with Azania unless they attack first. Kraft, however, realizes that the very concept of a feminist republic is too dangerous and evil to be allowed to exist, and orders military action.
  • The War on Straw: Azania definitely counts. A whole nation of man-hating lesbians, and/or women who are just bitter because they can't get a man.
  • Warrior Poet: Rumford, with his philosophical and sometimes almost mystical bent, emphasizing virtue, Zeitgeist, eternal truths and Divine Providence. Among the Japanese, Captain Yakahashi is also one, though his fatalistic Samurai philosophy looks rather bleak to Western audiences. Halsing offers a villainous example and foil to Rumford, putting Ständestaat social ideas and Nietzschean concepts of transcendence in place of Rumford's Jeffersonian-Jacksonian republicanism and Christianity.
  • Washington D.C. Invasion: Actually, averted. In the last stages of the Civil War, the New Confederacy's forces move on Washington, but it falls before they get there, rioters and gangsters turning it into a burned-out ruin as the demoralized remaining Federal troops (and anyone else who can) flee the doomed city.
  • Watching Troy Burn: The ravaging of New Orleans, and before that Washington to a somewhat lesser extent. Later, the Azanians get a villainous one, when Rumford systematically demolishes their capital.
  • We Are Everywhere: This is the point of the "leaderless resistance" Rumford organizes early in the revolution, with the Christian Marines as its solid core. Not only the organized members, but countless associates and copycats are also encouraged to act on their own, where the system least expects it. By the time Maine's secession approaches, the Christian Marines have infiltrated the whole police and military apparatus so deeply that they can sabotage the entire State Police in a matter of days—And when Governor Fullarbottom tries to hit back, he finds himself handed over to Rumford's men by his own bodyguard.
  • We Have Become Complacent: This is how Rumford and Kraft view modern, politically correct society early in the story. A people grown soft and dependent on technology cannot resist the onslaught of the Cultural Marxists and their creatures. Events prove them quite correct in this assessment.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: As everyone returns to an agrarian lifestyle.
  • We Win... Because You Didn't: This is the strategy Rumford and Kraft successfully pursue against the US federal government. Realistically, their rag-tag rebel forces naturally have no chance whatever to, say, march on Washington and demand its surrender—but they don't really need to, either. All they have to do is to hold out and deny the Federal authorities control of New England, in order to win the war on the moral level: when the rest of the country sees that the Administration is unable to hinder secession, sufficiently many of the other states also jump on the bandwagon, declaring their own independence in response to decades of Federal abuses, thus leaving the government largely powerless.
  • Welcomed to the Masquerade: When Rumford is invited to the Retroculture subculture/conspiracy. Later, he does it for others, as well.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Most of the various successor states at least start out this way, attempting to create utopia with some radical ideology or other. However, most also grow either too corrupt or too extreme to really qualify before long.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Several of the minor characters don't get any resolution to their stories. What happened to the wise old Professor Sanft? Meyer, the Jew who joined the Christian Marines? The pretty crossdressers who helped bring down Governor Hokem? Rumford doesn't tell.
  • What Would X Do?: When Rumford asks, it is: What would John Boyd do?
  • White Guilt: President Warner, who feels that he can't stand up to Ms. Mowukuu's plan of action against the Confederation because doing so would be racist.
  • The White House: Here as in real life, an eminent symbol of the US Government. It is abandoned when the Government hurriedly evacuates Washington to escape the advancing Neo-Confederates, and ends up ravaged and looted by local criminals.
  • White Man's Burden: Rumford and Kraft prefer Western (European/American) culture over all others, especially African and/or Islamic ones. However, blacks are allowed to live in the Confederation if they are law-abiding citizens; in fact, there is even a Council of Responsible Negroes to look after them.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Snidely Hokem, the Governor of Vermont. Also the Honorable Kateesha Mowukuu, Secretary of Defense. And lest we forget, Cloaca Devlin, the God-hating Episcopalian female bishop who was executed for heresy.
  • Wicked Cultured: Captain Halsing, the philosophical Nazi officer. Kraft is a sort of heroic example, who uses philosophy and religion to justify his well-intentioned but often ruthless domestic and foreign policies.
  • With Us or Against Us: The attitude of most Victorians. Are you a loyal, traditional American Christian or one of them, the Cultural Marxists? Gunny Matthews summarizes:
    Gunny: In 1775, a man could be both a Christian and a United States Marine. Now we have to choose. The reason the government we have doesn't work is that it has thrown our whole Christian culture overboard. I don't care whether someone goes to church or not. But unless people follow the rules laid down in the Ten Commandments, everything falls apart.
  • Women Are Delicate: The presence of the women in the military is used as a sign of the decadence and irrationality of pre-fall America, while the Azanian Air Force pilots predictably panic and crash in almost any aerial engagement. The Azanians in general are depicted as high-tech, air and artillery-focused, specifically because women cannot handle the hardships of war.
    ”Because it’s the only way women can fight,” answered Danielov. “It’s clean, air conditioned, and comfortable. No mud, no bugs, no humping packs or squatting in poison oak to take a shit in the woods. They’d rather buy it than do it."
  • The Women Are Safe with Us: After they are defeated, the Azanians are terrified that they will be raped, mutilated and generally horribly mistreated by the Confederation forces. Rumford considers this silly.
    None of those things happened, of course. Ours was a Christian army.
    • Except for those women who don't renounce their wicked feminist ways. They are sold into sexual slavery in the Middle East.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Discussed in-story. Women like fighters, and men like to impress women, everyone in the conversation agrees.
  • Working-Class Hero: Rumford comes from a humble rural background, and originally applies for rather low-status jobs once cashiered from the Corps.
  • World War III: Narrowly averted in the last stages of America's collapse, as a naval incident with Russia almost escalates. However, President Warner realizes that his regime can't win such a war, and stands up to his belligerent military advisors, ordering the US Navy to stand down. While this dramatically illustrates the country's decline, it's also one of the few times the otherwise weak-willed Warner shows himself assertive and competent at a decisive moment. Even the acerbic Rumford gives him rare credit for it.
  • Worthy Opponent: Hauptsturmfuehrer Halsing of the Landwehr. A Knight Templar who really, truly believes in the Landwehr's ultra-Nazi ideology, he is also somewhat of a Cultured Badass who gives a much more favorable impression than any other villain. When captured by the Confederation forces, he escapes, and later there is a callback that leaves Rumford somewhat perplexed:
    About three months later, I got a nice letter from Captain Halsing, postmarked Milwaukee, thanking me for my hospitality. He was the model Nazi, cold, competent, and perfectly polite.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": Both Azania and the Northern Confederation practice "soft" genocides while not calling them that. Azania's Designer Babies society simply does not approve any male births, ensuring that the male sex will "naturally" die out in their country. The Confederation, after conquering Azania, does not physically exterminate the population, but does systematically dismantle and destroy their culture, as well as the advanced technology their all-female society needs to reproduce itself.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Zig-zagged. Rumford and his troops have no qualms about crushing the all-female Azanians' Amazon Brigade with extreme prejudice, nor about condemning captured bitter-enders to slavery. After their defeat, however, he shows untypical concern for the well-being of their civilians, whereas his general reaction to the plight of other enemy populations previously in the story has been indifference at best.
  • Wretched Hive: Lind really, really doesn't like cities. Philadelphia is overrun by "orcs," the population of New Orleans destroys their city in an orgy of senseless destruction, Atlanta is nuked after being taken over by Blacks, and New York City is sold to Puerto Rico because nobody wants it and it's wealth.
  • Writer on Board: Lind despises anything to do with 'political correctness' and so it is political correctness that leads to America's fall. He is also of the belief that all ideologies ultimately fail because they create a distorted reality. Except Retroculture, which is simply acknowledging the self-evident truth.
  • Written by the Winners: Necessitated by the framing device, which presents the book as Rumford's memoirs. This also explains its pro-Confederation bias, as he presents his own view on everything, honestly but very much not objectively or neutrally. One surmises that, say, an Old US loyalist or unrepentant Azanian officer would probably have described and evaluated some things a little differently than does Rumford in his account.
  • Yakuza: Though they do not play a major role in the story, Rumford briefly interacts with them during his mission to Imperial Japan, and they assist him with his demonstration viz. the Chinese. The representative he deals with displays most of the associated stereotypes.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Rumford comforts Gunny Matthews when the latter feels worthless for giving in and claiming conversion to Islam in order to survive captivity by the radical Islamic terrorists, rather than becoming a martyr. Since Matthews is a very serious Christian, he has very high moral standards for honesty, and becomes despondent having violated them; but Rumford manages to reach through to him and convince him that God still loves him—and that his fellow fighters still need him.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Rumford, in several instances, paying well-intentioned but potentially offensive compliments to women, blacks, Marines and others who rise above his expectations of their respective groups.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: Subverted, and arguably inverted, in that it is the heroes who do the killing. Kraft orders Rumford to invade Azania because it symbolizes and embodies the evil ideas that he knows must be destroyed, if the future is to be saved: Not merely feminism, but also the Declaration of the Rights of Man and every other heresy that once sprang out of the French Revolution, corrupting Western Civilization.
    • Also, in the last chapter Rumford joins the Order of St. Louis, and a global crusade to drive Islam out of the Mediterranean.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Rumford's treatment of the Cascadian rebel leaders is, essentially, a heroic example of this.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Though portrayed at all times as heroic and utterly in the right, it's hard to ignore that the Christian Marines do a lot of terrible things.
  • Zen Survivor: Kraft, who becomes Rumford's mentor, is one of the good guys, but his pragmatic ruthlessness makes him a heroic example of this rather than a standard Mentor Archetype.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: The airships in regular use by the "present" of the story show that the new world is not the same as it used to be.

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