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    Review of FITZPATRICK'S WAR by Theodore Judson

    Daw, August 2004

    Commoner Robert Bruce is picked by the son of the Consul, Lord Isaac Prophet Fitzpatrick, to join the august group Fitzpatrick calls his Basileis. After having his father killed, Fitzpatrick takes over consulship and launches a war on the rest of the world. A few million 'Yukons,' descendents of the primative farmers who survived the breakdown of western civilization, seem completely inadequate to the role of world conquerers, but Fitzpatrick has the help of satellite-based communications, biological weapons, and soldiers like Robert Bruce. Tens of millions of deaths later, Fitzpatrick is a new Alexander--standing alone in the world, but wondering who is really his friend.

    Author Theodore Judson tells the story of Fitzpatrick, and Bruce's actions and moral ambivalence, in the style of an old man's account, complete with pseudo-scholarly footnotes by an editor who believes everything Bruce says about the sainted Fitzpatrick must be a lie. Bruce's wife is a charming character, adding another note of humor to what could have been a heavy-handed story.

    The near-future world Judson describes, with a militaristic and hopelessly conservative anglo-descended society dominating the world through force, makes for interesting reading--and represents an interesting speculation of current political trends. The strong links between Fitzgerald and the equally mad Alexander--whose armies conquered the civilized world centuries earlier--make the story more interesting still.

    The detailed battle scene, where Bruce and the Yukon army slaughtered millions of Chinese soldiers, went on a bit, hammering home Judson's message.

    In our current age where conservative and anti-intellectual values join with military force, Judson's story contains an important message. This is a truly impressive accomplishment for a newcomer to the SF stage.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/08/04

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