Land of Hope and Glory by Geoffrey Wilson
A Recommended Book of the Month
It is 1852. The Indian empire of Rajthana has ruled Europe for more than a hundred years. With their vast armies, steam-and-sorcery technology and mastery of the mysterious power of sattva, the Rajthanans appear invincible. But a bloody rebellion has broken out in a remote corner of the empire, in a poor and backward region known as England. At first Jack Casey, retired soldier, wants nothing to do with the uprising, but then he learns his daughter, Elizabeth, is due to be hanged for helping the rebels. The Rajthanans offer to spare her, but only if Jack hunts down and captures his best friend and former army comrade, who is now a rebel leader. Jack is torn between saving his daughter and protecting his friend. And he struggles just to stay alive as the rebellion pushes England into all-out war.
Alternate history is a new genre for me. I have never actually read a book of this type before but when it appeared on the Fantasy Book Review pending list I immediately wanted to give it a try. Now, having finished it, I'm more than pleased that I took the plunge!
When I first read the synopsis I thought Land of Hope and Glory a steampunk novel and although these elements are definitely there it is alternate history is the genre to which it really belongs.
Before reading I quickly researched the Indian Mutiny of 1857 which is the novel's inspiration and so was able to distinguish between the historical events that actually occurred and the author's own imaginings and fantasy elements that make his début novel so brilliant. The book's main character is Jack Casey, a retired soldier and now security agent for his village. I liked how Wilson used Jack in his story, which is told in the third person and everything happens through his eyes (well mostly). Even though the author only allows us to see events through Jack's eyes the result is not a world that feels cramped or small, actually quite the opposite - it comes across as grand and vivid. In the first few introductory chapters the story slowly gains momentum and soon it settles into a nice and easy pace. I loved the way the story played out, Wilson unveils not only Jack's history but also that of the lands involved and it is a magnificently rich story as the author spends just as much time on his alternate world as he does on his characters plus his battle scenes are simply marvellous. Here is an excerpt from Land of Hope and Glory that shows how Wilson writes his battle scenes:
The first wave of attackers was nearing the summit, but the rebels had set up their remaining guns on unbroken sections of wall and now fired grape down the slope. The muzzles flamed, jolted and disgorged hails of balls and metal fragments that flayed the stone. soldiers fell in groups, as if dropping to their knees in worship before the retching beasts. Jack saw one man race straight at a gun as it fired - his body flew apart in a puff of red.
I am - and will always be - a big fan of magic in fantasy books, it is just cool stuff... well most of the time. Wilson incorporates magic into Land of Hope and Glory with a certain Indian feel to it. I think that authors' are finding it harder and harder to create original ideas magic in their stories but Wilson certainly manges it here and I liked it. I liked it a lot. The magic in Land of Hope and Glory is like this - as well as the well-known elements such as air, earth water and fire there is sattva. Sattva flows around in streams along the land and in order to be able to cast spells people have to memorise certain patterns called yantras. Yantras have a set of diverse abilities, casting fire balls or healing etc.
When I put the finished book down I felt it was too short. I was really into the story and would have like to have read more. The ending was, for me, a little to open as in the last few chapters there are so many exciting thing happening that I would have liked there to have been more of a climax, or a cliffhanger ending. I checked out the author's website and was excited to see a that a new book will be released in October. Land of Hope and Glory was definitely a worthwhile read and I heartily recommend it to fans of alternate history and steampunk.
I’d like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for kindly providing me with a review copy.
This Land of Hope and Glory book review was written by Jasper de Joode
All reviews for: The Land of Hope and Glory series
Land of Hope and Glory
The Land of Hope and Glory series #1
It is 1852. The Indian empire of Rajthana has ruled Europe for more than a hundred years. With their vast armies, steam-and-sorcery technology and mastery of the mysterious...
The Place of Dead Kings
The Land of Hope and Glory series #2
Have you read Land of Hope and Glory?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Land of Hope and Glory reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, a...
Guy Gavriel Kay
For two years Shen Tai has mourned his father, living like a hermit beyond the borders of the Kitan Empire, by a mountain lake where terrible battles have long been fought ...
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska - and not Israel - had become the homeland for the Jews after World War II? In Michael Chabon's Yiddish-speaking ...
Hats off to Brandenburg
London, 1815 – The Roxy Playhouse is in trouble! The Roxy Playhouse Irregulars, those libertine artists and dreamers, are up to their necks in debt – “Pay...
The Master and Margarita
Moscow, 1929: a city that has lost its way amid corruption and fear, inhabited by people who have abandoned their morals and forsaken spirituality. But when a mysterious st...
Catherynne M Valente
Child of the revolution, maiden of myth, bride of darkness. A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, an...
Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines betwee...
The Gamehouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a ...
The Bear and the Nightingale
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes pres...
Nights at the Circus
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan... or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordin...
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of thi...
The War at Troy
The people who lived in those days were closer to gods than we are, and great deeds and marvels were commoner then, which is why the stories we have from them are nobler an...
The Golem and the Djinni
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, di...
One Hundred Years of Vicissitude
"First up, a disclaimer. I suspect I am a dead man. I have meagre proof, no framed- up certification, nothing to toss in a court of law as evidence of a rapid departur...
Those Poor, Poor Bastards
The year is 1868... In the Sierra Nevada, during the expansion of the Central Pacific Railroad, Nina Weaver and her pa, Lincoln, trundle into Coburn Station with a wagonful...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, a...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...