2021-02-27 13:32:50 UTC
I liked the idea of following a version of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and it gives structure and pacing to the book. The most interesting ideas are lifted from the real life expedition - like the Girardoni rifle, which sounds like a typical Baen flourish, but really was used in the expedition. If you take away the expedition, the book is less impressive - none of the characters seem to have any particularly bright ideas, and there isn't much world-building beyond reference to Native American mythology, such as Coyote. So I don't regret buying and reading the book, but I'm not sold on the Arcane America series.
It is possible that other authors writing in the series would have been more to my taste - I tend to find Kevin J Anderson unimpressive. There is a sort of Easter Egg - a drinking song brings in echoes of our timeline, which appears utopian to this one - this looks like a Hoyt touch to me.