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Literature / War Between the Provinces

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The War Between the Provinces is one of the many Fantasy/Alternate History stories of Harry Turtledove. In a Fantasy version of The American Civil War, he turns the war upside down, left to right, and every which way. To summarize, the Kingdom of Detina is engaged in a civil war. The recent ascension of King Avram to the throne has split the North from the South after the king announces he intends to free the blonde serfs from their bondage to the land. His cousin Geoffery splits apart the Kingdom and leads the North to keep the serfs and preserve how they live. The Southron armies in gray march to reunify the Kingdom, while the Northron Armies in blue prepare to defend their new country. The three books in the series focus mainly on an altered version of the Western Theater of the real American Civil War, only with his twisted version of events and characters.

The series contains the following books:

  • Sentry Peak
  • Marching Through Peachtree
  • Advance And Retreat

These books show examples of:

  • Automatic Crossbow: The Southrons develop repeating crossbows that are the Fantasy equivalant of the repeating rifles used towards the end of The American Civil War. Most of the footsoldiers are regular crossbowmen before being equipped with this.
  • Cool Horse: Unicorns are the cavalry mounts for the main armies. Those horns on the end aren't just for decoration.
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The American Civil War in a fantasy setting.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Detina is a monarchial version of the United States, only upside down. The South is the industrial center, the North is the agricultural heartland, and serfs replace slaves. Also, the colors are reversed, as the Southrons are in grey uniforms, but is for a united Detina, while the North is blue, but for a split kingdom. Also, the action takes place in the Eastern Theater for them. Also railways are glideways, for low-level flying carpets on set paths, and finally, crystal balls are their telegraphs. Got all that?
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople): The many places of Detina are parallels to our real world locations. It is in fact possible to follow the story with a real history and map of the Western Theater by simply reversing the directions and recognizing the puns. Examples include:
    • New Eborac = New York City (Eboracum was the Roman name for York in England)
    • Georgetown = Washington, D.C.
    • Nonesuch = Richmond
    • River of Death = Chickamaugua (Allegedly a Cherokee word meaning "Bloody River)
    • Sentry Peak = Lookout Mountain
    • Five Lakes = Great Lakes
    • Hayek = Selma, Alabama
    • Peachtree Province = Georgia
    • Cloviston Province = Kentucky (named after Louisville; Clovis is the root of the name Louis)
    • Croatoan Province = North Carolina, named after a historical Native American tribe
    • Palmetto Province = South Carolina, the Palmetto State
    • Franklin = Tennessee
    • Parthenia and East Parthenia = Virginia and West Virginia ("parthenos" is "virgin" in Greek)
    • Peterpaulandia Province = Maryland
  • Medieval Stasis: Most of the attitudes, culture and technology are heavily based in medieval European cultures. Instead of pants, most of the men wear pantaloons, crossbows are the long range hand weapons, pikemen are still in use, etc.
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  • Recycled In Space: The American Civil War retold in Middle Earth. With crossbows, swords, unicorns and dragons!
  • Siege Engines: Both sides use catapults as the cannon alternative, which can either sling heavy stones or firepots, and ballista like weapons, but with higher rates of fire. Their description implies they may be an analogue to the machine gun, with their ability to fire multiple darts at once.
  • Stealth Pun: Many:
    • A King Kermit is mentioned to be a past king of a French like country. Given that a nickname for French people used to be frogs, one can only see the pun arriving.
    • Doubting George is a reference to the cautious yet brilliant General George H. Thomas (nicknamed Doubting Thomas).
    • Hesmucet is Wiliam Tecumseh Sherman.
    • Ned of the Forest is Nathan B. Forrest.
    • Fighting Joseph is Joseph Hooker (nicknamed ("Fighting Joe").
    • Robert, Duke of Arlington, is Robert E. Lee.
    • James, Earl of Broadpath is James Longstreet.
    • Thraxton the Braggart is Braxton Bragg.
    • Leonidas the Priest is Leonidas Polk, the Fighting Bishop, and he comes to the same end as well.
    • Advance and Retreat is also the name given to General John Bell Hood's own memoirs.
    • The counterpart of the real life General Rosecrans is General Guildenstern, as a nod to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
    • The name of the Kingdom itself. "Detina" backwards is "Anited," which if said out loud sounds an awful lot like the word "United."
    • The capital of the Russia equivalent is Pazhbull.note 
    • The gods of Detina live on Mount Panamgam, the equivalent to Mount Olympus.note 


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