Land of Hope and Glory by Geoffrey Wilson
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
It is 1855. The English revolt has failed, and brutal General Vadula governs England now. Only a few small bands of English rebels still hold out against the Rajthanan empi...
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
A Brightness Long Ago
Guy Gavriel Kay
International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay's latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose li...
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...
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 ...
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...
Great fantasy books published in 2011
The Crippled God
The Bonehunters march for Kolanse, led by Adjunct Tavore. This woman with no gifts of magic, deemed plain, unprepossessing, displaying nothing to instill loyalty or confide...
There's a reckoning on the way . . .. . . and Sookie has a knack for being in trouble's way; not least when she witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, ...
The Book of Transformations
Mark Charan Newton
A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. ...
The Alloy of Law
The Mistborn trilogy has become a firm favourite with fantasy fans the world over. The imagination that Sanderson brought to the series and his skill at marshalling epic st...
Cat and her cousin are key players in a drama of dragons and politics. Everyone wants something from them - including the warlord who's conquering all Europa and the Co...
City of Dragons
The dragon keepers and fledgling dragons have discovered a route to the lost city of Kelsingra but there is one problem: they need to be able to fly to cross the treacherou...
The Wise Man's Fear
Picking up the tale of Kvothe Kingkiller once again, we follow him into exile, into political intrigue, courtship, adventure, love and magic ... and further along the path ...
The Neon Court
War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point towards their ancient enemy - The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone loses. But...
The Silly Solar System
Our Solar System's a wonderful place, A collection of planets rotating through space, With the Sun at its heart, its own glowing star- ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: