Russian Amerika

Russian Amerika

3.4 5
by Stoney Compton

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1. To many Americans, and visitors from other countries, Alaska means adventure, romance, and excitement. Russian Amerika delivers all this and more: Revolution against an oppressor, continent-wide alliances, and an epic struggle of a people to be free.

2. This is the first alternate history novel to deal with Alaska and its Native people.

3. Rich in


1. To many Americans, and visitors from other countries, Alaska means adventure, romance, and excitement. Russian Amerika delivers all this and more: Revolution against an oppressor, continent-wide alliances, and an epic struggle of a people to be free.

2. This is the first alternate history novel to deal with Alaska and its Native people.

3. Rich in detail, this novel offers both insight into Alaska's Native peoples and a rousing adventure yarn. Its original setting will strongly appeal to fans of alternate history SF who are tired of variations on the American Civil War, World War II, etc.

4. Advertising in Locus, more

Alaska, 1989. In a world where Alaska is still a Russian possession, charter captain Grigorivich Plesnett has a stained past – as a major in the Czar’s Troika Guard he was cashiered for disobeying a direct order. Now, ten years later, Grig charters out to a cossack and discovers his past has not only caught up with him but is about to violently change his future, and the future of all nine of the nations of North America as well. Spanning Alaska from the Southeastern Inside Passage to the frozen Yukon, this is an epic tale of one man’s journey of redemption and courage to face old challenges and help birth a new nation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Military SF fans will welcome Compton's debut, an alternative history in which the Russians still control Alaska. It's 1987, and Capt. Grisha Grigorievich, a former Imperial army officer now in command of a naval vessel in Alaskan waters, is chafing at the social restrictions that his mixed-blood parentage imposes upon him. He also increasingly resents the arbitrary and petty assertion of czarist authority by any two-bit Cossack in this backwater of the Russian empire. When Grisha is unjustly condemned for killing a government spy, he's sent to a labor camp. After he's freed in a raid on the camp by a surprisingly well-organized Native American separatist movement, Grisha seizes the opportunity to get revenge. Compton creates a plausible backstory for his time line (the Communists never took over Russia), which comes out naturally in bits and pieces. His depiction of warfare under extreme arctic conditions is horrifyingly realistic and vivid. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

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4.24(w) x 6.64(h) x 1.14(d)

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Meet the Author

Stoney Compton has had novelettes and short stories published in Universe 1, Tomorrow, and Writers of the Future. He is Senior Graphic Artist for a Bellevue, Washington company, and has worked as a visual information specialist for NOAA, a graphic artist for the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game, and a staff artist for a weekly newspaper. He was born in Nebraska, lived 31 years in Alaska, and now lives north of Seattle with his wife, Colette, and seven cats.

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Russian Amerika 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Aelius More than 1 year ago
I agree with much of what the other negative reviewers said--cardboard characters, gobs of typos, predictable plot twists, nonsensical non-sequiturs--but I'll focus my review on only one of the flaws of this book. And that flaw--sadly, a common one in much of the schlock that passes for alternate history these days--is the author's failure to build a plausible alternate universe. In any good AH story, the key is to convince the reader that the events described therein COULD HAVE HAPPENED if history is tweaked to produce a different outcome than what occurred in "our history" as we know it. This is often called the "point of divergence," or POD for short. All events that follow the POD must logically and plausibly flow from the single, discrete change in the timeline that the author makes. Sometimes, an AH author will identify the POD; other times, the author will leave it to the reader to infer what was changed. Though either approach is valid in this genre, I prefer the latter because it tests my knowledge of history. This is the approach that Stoney Compton took. In Compton's alternate universe, the Confederacy somehow won the American Civil War. The implication is that this defeat left the truncated United States in no financial position to purchase Alaska from the Russians. But in projecting forward from this POD to 1987-1988, the years in which Compton's book takes place, the AH tale unravels. Let's start with Compton's map of an alternate North America. Such maps are used ad nauseam by Harry Turtledove and other AH authors to clue in the reader on the POD. I can accept the independent republics of California and Texas. After all, a weakened USA might not have been able to hold onto California, and a CSA that refused to allow Texas to secede would be hypocritical, indeed. I can also accept some of the other changes to the map, such as an independent Deseret and First People's Nation--the further Balkanization of North America makes sense following a Confederate victory. But "French Canada"? The French government was kicked out of Canada BEFORE the American Civil War took place. How could a different outcome in the Civil War lead to France regaining a foothold in North America? If anything, Great Britain would have been better equipped to withstand a French invasion of Canada with an independent CSA as a likely ally. Then there's "New Spain," consisting of Mexico and Central America. Again, Mexico had achieved independence from Spain BEFORE the American Civil War. How could a different outcome in the Civil War lead to a Spanish reconquest of its lost territories? During 1864-1867, a French puppet regime ruled Mexico. If any European power could have seized Mexico at this time, it would have been France, not Spain. This is especially so if France had grown as powerful as Compton suggests, able to recapture half of Canada despite British mastery of the seas. Compton's missteps are not limited to the "big picture"--many of the little details are equally implausible. For example, take Compton's conception of the California Republic. The film industry is centered in California, just like in our world, and Ronald Reagan is the republic's president. I find it hard to believe that California is the only place on the North American continent suitable to house the film industry. Wouldn't the USA have its own film industry, centered in Chicago perhaps? And wouldn't Reagan, who was born in Illinois, prefer to work for his own nation's film industry, rather than that of a competing upstart republic? This assumes that Reagan would have been born in Compton's universe in the first place, and made similar life choices all along the way, leading him to California and a political career. If the USA had lost the Civil War, Reagan's parents might never have met, much less had sex on the exact same night as they did in our universe to produce the child that would one day become known as the Great Communicator. Even more implausible is the Russians' use of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, known in our world as the ubiquitous AK-47. Compton expressly states that World War II did not happen the same way in his universe as it did in ours. So then how could a Russian tank mechanic named Kalashnikov just happen to observe--on an Eastern Front that never existed--the German MP-44--invented during a Nazi era that never occurred--and use this as a model for his own invention of the AK-47, as he did in our history? What these examples show--and there are many more, but I won't bore you further--is that Compton failed to appreciate the logical ramifications of his chosen POD. As a result, I couldn't suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy his otherwise flawed alternate-history story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good storyline with solid characters and an unique premise. The background for a North America split into several rival nations begs to be explored further.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1989 in Czarist Russian controlled Alaska, Naval Captain Grisha Grigorievich detests the de jure and de facto prejudice that he suffers from just because he is a half breed. Less competent with less success officers have been promoted before him. However, even worse in his mind is the true-blood theory of law in which a Cossack purebred can invoke Czarist control on half breeds or Native Alaskans it galls Grisha when a lightweight uses his heritage to order him about like a slave. --- Grisha learns how far his lack of status goes when he is accused and convicted of murdering a government agent. Without any chance of repudiating the accusation, he is taken to a prison labor camp with no hope of exoneration or for that matter freedom no one escapes the internment camps. However, not long afterward, Native American Alaskan separatists attack the confinement complex freeing Grisha. The freedom lovers plead with Grisha to join their cause, but he has plans to kill those whose lies led to his incarceration. --- Alternate history fans will relish this superb thriller whose basis is that Russia never sold Seward¿s Folly. The concept and the subsequent dominoes that occur from that opening historical alteration seem reasonable. However, what makes for a delightful thriller is the ¿current¿ time scenario as Stoney Compton interweaves the key events from the past in the present. Perhaps the best scene in the novel and one of the best of the year is the revolutionaries (insurgents?) and the Czarists battle in the cold regions where climate is a deadly weapon. This is an excellent alternate historical saga. --- Harriet Klausner