Britannia's Fist Trilogy Opinions

So I would like to start this thread on any thoughts or opinions of the Britannia's Fist Trilogy. I personally thought that it was one of the more compelling alternate histories of Britain getting involved in the Civil War. Still, I think it had some issues; mainly with the actual prose that Peter Tsouras used. It came across as way too technical as opposed to more narrative that I was used to in other alternate histories.

Any thoughts?
 
Actually that's the one set of Tsouras's books I would recommend avoiding. Not so much for its huge bias, colossal wank, and massive ahistorical technical advances (One-sided only, of course), as much as for the knowledge that the writer could do so much better.
His previous Gettysburg and Disaster at D-Day, are very good. However the Britannia's Fist Trilogy rapidly devolves into a flag-waving exercise. Giving one side Powered Flight, in the 1860's, is simply the most obvious bias. Its to his credit that Tsouras uses the Scorpion and Wivern as his POD as opposed to the Trent. As an alternative to the Trent War Scenario it makes an interesting POD. And a refreshing change using the Laird Rams as the point of contention.
Unfortunately, its done in a profoundly stupid way. The author cannot seem to admit that the US could be at all wrong about anything. The "evidence" presented by the US Ambassador is the "heresay" the British Government describes it as, since the Secretary of State gets the intended names wrong this is hardly surprising. And the war begins when a USN Warship opens fire on an admittedly ambiguously owned ship in British Territorial Waters, which is blatantly an Act of War, regardless of what flag it is sailing under. He seems to think that firing on a vessel flying British Flag inside British Waters is somehow not a hostile act, and doesn't constitute Casus Belli? (It should be noted that USS Kearsarge studiously avoided engaging CSS Alabama until it left the French 3-Mile limit)

And its still better than any other story about potential British involvement in the ACW.

(Admittedly Tsouras can be commended for conceding that the best the US could hope for was a draw, but its a small consolation)

He uses the same questionable performance figures for Armour and Ordnance as others, is often horrendously biased, and has the US pulling off wildly implausible coincidences and one sided advantages.
Transfering every single Maine Regiment from the Army of the Potomac back to its home state just in time to repel a British attack on Portland is pushing things a bit. Especially when the first train pulls into Portland literally just as the British are landing.
Even pre-war the British are apparently in awe of American arms and want "to purchase Dahlgrens in large numbers"?
The Casco Class Monitors are described in glowing terms as a definite advantage, as opposed to more traditional views involving words such as "Fiasco" and "White Elephant" (To be found in the Osprey Guide).
And continues the classic, wildly inaccurate, character assassination of British historical figures, such as Palmerston's "Malevolent Hostility" for the United States, this is Man who maintained a lifelong correspondence with his friend Harriet Beecher Stowe, and portraying all the British Royalty as unpleasant, arrogant, malicious, incompetents. In the Trilogy Prince Alfred, Victoria's second son, is described as an unpopular, thoroughly dislikeable, ungrateful wretch, as opposed to the actual history of a competent Naval Officer (Who retired as a well regarded Admiral of the prestigious Mediterranean Fleet), who has schools named after him, and when an attempt was made on his life personally appealed for clemency for his attacker. His description of Garnet Wolseley as a man with "a Weak Chin and a Thin Moustache" borders on farce.

And if you want a laugh at Tsouras' expense, he actually portrays Bernard Cornwell's completely fictional character of Richard Sharpe as if he were a genuine historical figure!? Which goes to show how attached to reality it is.
(Book Two introduces Harry Flashman as a historical figure, you have to wonder if the author was actually Trolling his own audience and writing an incredibly subtle satire?)

You don't even need to negate its technical failings to criticise the books.

Lincoln is about the only person who seems to be able to grasp the reality of the situation, especially in the face of Seward and Stanton's bluster, and grabs the opportunity for a negotiated settlement as soon as possible.
Which is something a lot of the reviewers seem to gripe about.
(Not the Generals raised from the dead nor the sudden invention of powered flight)

To be honest I was enjoying Britannia's Fist, despite the obviously being written for a "Good-Guy" American audience, with some crazy biases and interpretations, right up to the Third Battle of Charleston chapter.

Not just the horrible "The Royal Navy can only ever try to re-fight Trafalgar" meme. Whereas the tactical situation more greatly resembles Aboukir (The Nile) or Copenhagen. Two Columns of British warships try to split the Union Fleet's Line of Battle. The approach is over the treacherous passage of Charleston Bar and the Union Ships are in an essentially static position. Royal Navy Officers tended to study the Campaigns of Nelson with the fanaticism of a religious text, not just one battle. They would have noticed the resemblance on an almost instinctive level, and adjusted their tactics accordingly. That none of this bears any resemblance to Mobile Bay or Lissa probably shouldn't surprise us?
Completely ignoring the Dahlgren issue, the American fleet has every Monitor, bar one, in the Union Navy, more than every Ironclad in the USN present and at most a third of the RN's available Ironclad Strength, arguably less since the Royal Navy List for 1862 lists 28 Ironclads. Versus just two Royal Navy Iron Frigates, the author completely ignores the availability of Royal Oak and Terror.
Admiral Dahlgren gets a power boost by re-commissioning the former CSS Atlanta into his forces, USS Wabash is suddenly upgraded from its historical broadside of IX Inch Dahlgrens to XI Inch guns. (Apparently mid-battle?)
The division of Monitors sent for a refit at Port Royal turn up at the last minute to swing the odds.
And the utter capstone ... a pair of USN Submersibles, neither they nor their Captains, nor their Mothership, simply referred to as the Submersible Tender, are ever named, at the height of the battle launch a successful attack on a moving target, Black Prince, with limpet mines

This is the point my suspension of disbelief leapt out the window

Its as if the American player has the scenario set on easy and knows all the cheat codes.

The bit with Ulric Dahlgren, yes the Admiral's son ... who was an Army officer, how does that work?, singlehandedly launching a boarding action was just silly.
(With only one leg, historically he was not fit for service until February 1864)
As opposed to having the more realistic presence of the Admiral's other son Charles?
Who was a Naval Captain! And actually served under his father off Charleston.
(A good AH might also mention that John Dahlgren's younger brother fought for the South)

And don't mention the Russia thing!
Oh, God ... equating the Russian Orthodox Church with Catholicism!!!

And that's just book one.
 
Actually that's the one set of Tsouras's books I would recommend avoiding. Not so much for its huge bias, colossal wank, and massive ahistorical technical advances (One-sided only, of course), as much as for the knowledge that the writer could do so much better.
His previous Gettysburg and Disaster at D-Day, are very good. However the Britannia's Fist Trilogy rapidly devolves into a flag-waving exercise. Giving one side Powered Flight, in the 1860's, is simply the most obvious bias. Its to his credit that Tsouras uses the Scorpion and Wivern as his POD as opposed to the Trent. As an alternative to the Trent War Scenario it makes an interesting POD. And a refreshing change using the Laird Rams as the point of contention.
Unfortunately, its done in a profoundly stupid way. The author cannot seem to admit that the US could be at all wrong about anything. The "evidence" presented by the US Ambassador is the "heresay" the British Government describes it as, since the Secretary of State gets the intended names wrong this is hardly surprising. And the war begins when a USN Warship opens fire on an admittedly ambiguously owned ship in British Territorial Waters, which is blatantly an Act of War, regardless of what flag it is sailing under. He seems to think that firing on a vessel flying British Flag inside British Waters is somehow not a hostile act, and doesn't constitute Casus Belli? (It should be noted that USS Kearsarge studiously avoided engaging CSS Alabama until it left the French 3-Mile limit)

And its still better than any other story about potential British involvement in the ACW.

(Admittedly Tsouras can be commended for conceding that the best the US could hope for was a draw, but its a small consolation)

He uses the same questionable performance figures for Armour and Ordnance as others, is often horrendously biased, and has the US pulling off wildly implausible coincidences and one sided advantages.
Transfering every single Maine Regiment from the Army of the Potomac back to its home state just in time to repel a British attack on Portland is pushing things a bit. Especially when the first train pulls into Portland literally just as the British are landing.
Even pre-war the British are apparently in awe of American arms and want "to purchase Dahlgrens in large numbers"?
The Casco Class Monitors are described in glowing terms as a definite advantage, as opposed to more traditional views involving words such as "Fiasco" and "White Elephant" (To be found in the Osprey Guide).
And continues the classic, wildly inaccurate, character assassination of British historical figures, such as Palmerston's "Malevolent Hostility" for the United States, this is Man who maintained a lifelong correspondence with his friend Harriet Beecher Stowe, and portraying all the British Royalty as unpleasant, arrogant, malicious, incompetents. In the Trilogy Prince Alfred, Victoria's second son, is described as an unpopular, thoroughly dislikeable, ungrateful wretch, as opposed to the actual history of a competent Naval Officer (Who retired as a well regarded Admiral of the prestigious Mediterranean Fleet), who has schools named after him, and when an attempt was made on his life personally appealed for clemency for his attacker. His description of Garnet Wolseley as a man with "a Weak Chin and a Thin Moustache" borders on farce.

And if you want a laugh at Tsouras' expense, he actually portrays Bernard Cornwell's completely fictional character of Richard Sharpe as if he were a genuine historical figure!? Which goes to show how attached to reality it is.
(Book Two introduces Harry Flashman as a historical figure, you have to wonder if the author was actually Trolling his own audience and writing an incredibly subtle satire?)

You don't even need to negate its technical failings to criticise the books.

Lincoln is about the only person who seems to be able to grasp the reality of the situation, especially in the face of Seward and Stanton's bluster, and grabs the opportunity for a negotiated settlement as soon as possible.
Which is something a lot of the reviewers seem to gripe about.
(Not the Generals raised from the dead nor the sudden invention of powered flight)

To be honest I was enjoying Britannia's Fist, despite the obviously being written for a "Good-Guy" American audience, with some crazy biases and interpretations, right up to the Third Battle of Charleston chapter.

Not just the horrible "The Royal Navy can only ever try to re-fight Trafalgar" meme. Whereas the tactical situation more greatly resembles Aboukir (The Nile) or Copenhagen. Two Columns of British warships try to split the Union Fleet's Line of Battle. The approach is over the treacherous passage of Charleston Bar and the Union Ships are in an essentially static position. Royal Navy Officers tended to study the Campaigns of Nelson with the fanaticism of a religious text, not just one battle. They would have noticed the resemblance on an almost instinctive level, and adjusted their tactics accordingly. That none of this bears any resemblance to Mobile Bay or Lissa probably shouldn't surprise us?
Completely ignoring the Dahlgren issue, the American fleet has every Monitor, bar one, in the Union Navy, more than every Ironclad in the USN present and at most a third of the RN's available Ironclad Strength, arguably less since the Royal Navy List for 1862 lists 28 Ironclads. Versus just two Royal Navy Iron Frigates, the author completely ignores the availability of Royal Oak and Terror.
Admiral Dahlgren gets a power boost by re-commissioning the former CSS Atlanta into his forces, USS Wabash is suddenly upgraded from its historical broadside of IX Inch Dahlgrens to XI Inch guns. (Apparently mid-battle?)
The division of Monitors sent for a refit at Port Royal turn up at the last minute to swing the odds.
And the utter capstone ... a pair of USN Submersibles, neither they nor their Captains, nor their Mothership, simply referred to as the Submersible Tender, are ever named, at the height of the battle launch a successful attack on a moving target, Black Prince, with limpet mines

This is the point my suspension of disbelief leapt out the window

Its as if the American player has the scenario set on easy and knows all the cheat codes.

The bit with Ulric Dahlgren, yes the Admiral's son ... who was an Army officer, how does that work?, singlehandedly launching a boarding action was just silly.
(With only one leg, historically he was not fit for service until February 1864)
As opposed to having the more realistic presence of the Admiral's other son Charles?
Who was a Naval Captain! And actually served under his father off Charleston.
(A good AH might also mention that John Dahlgren's younger brother fought for the South)

And don't mention the Russia thing!
Oh, God ... equating the Russian Orthodox Church with Catholicism!!!

And that's just book one.
Spot on with your assessment. Though for all of its criticisms, Tsouras writes a far better trilogy than that other series that saw the U.S. invade both Ireland and Britain during the Civil War.
 
Tsouras' trilogy started off well but quickly went high and right which as others have said, is disappointing because he is a smart guy who has written some pretty good stuff in other publications.
 
Tsouras' trilogy started off well but quickly went high and right which as others have said, is disappointing because he is a smart guy who has written some pretty good stuff in other publications.
I've actually met him in person. He's a very engaging and intelligent person.
 
Tsouras' trilogy started off well but quickly went high and right which as others have said, is disappointing because he is a smart guy who has written some pretty good stuff in other publications.
Well at least it is better than the Stars and Stripes trilogy.
 
A thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters would do better than the Stars and Stripes trilogy, IMO...

On a side note, one thing I did like was Lincoln going Papa Wolf on Big Jim Smoke--the assassin sent to kill him, who had just injured his son Tad--and straight-up killing him with his bare hands...
 
A thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters would do better than the Stars and Stripes trilogy, IMO...

On a side note, one thing I did like was Lincoln going Papa Wolf on Big Jim Smoke--the assassin sent to kill him, who had just injured his son Tad--and straight-up killing him with his bare hands...
Well Lincoln does do Vampire hunting as a side job.
 
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