Monday, 8 April 2013

Angel of the Revolution

Written in 1893, and now 120 years old, this book is a classic period piece of  'invasion literature' which I really enjoyed.  In many ways, Griffiths is quite prophetic in his vision of a Great War involving all the European powers.  One one side he has the aggressors of the Franco-Slavonian League, comprised of Russia, France, Italy, Spain (who were promised Gibraltar), Portugal (who are promised the Congo) and Serbia.  Matched against them is the Anglo-Teutonic Alliance of Britain, Germany and Austro-Hungary supported (in varying degrees of willingness) by Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.  So while he didn't quite get the alliances exactly right, he rightly forsaw the impact of such a titanic conflict, and the transition of warfare from one which involved personal heroism and gallantry into one of mechanised butchery. 

Add then to this mix, a fleet of newly invented dirigibles employed by the Tsar's and Gallic forces which can bomb the opposing armies unopposed (and without mercy of course) and make short work of them and their prepared fortifications.  Luckily though a third force lurks in the shadows - the Brotherhood of Freedom (better known throughout the world as Terrorists or Nihilists) who, thanks to their new and clever recruit, have solved the problem of aerial navigation and now possess the only real aerial fleet in the word.  Able to significantly outfly and outgun the war balloons of the Franco-Slavonian League, their support could change the course of the war but they elusively pursue their own ends... 

Wrapped around some wonderful British romanticism of the period, are some great descriptions of battles, particularly the second Battle of the Nile, the Russians forcing an exit from the Baltic and subsequently raiding the coaling station at Aberdeen, the RN Atlantic convoy system, and some major engagements in British Homewaters.  Two squadrons of French Aquanefs also make an appearance towards the end so there is something for everyone (but no Land Ironclads or Terranefs though I'm afraid).

Highly Recommended - if you haven't read it, go find yourself a copy and enjoy!
You can get this reprint from Heliograph here:

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An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!