The Books and Writings of
Kurt R.A. Giambastiani

  Short Reviews
on The Spirit of Thunder


The year is 1886; most of the middle U.S. is unsettled frontier inhabited by the Indians of the Cheyenne Alliance. President George Custer is stepping up the undeclared war against the Indians, building a bridge across the Missouri (Big Greasy) River with strategically placed forts to protect future land rush white settlers. In the prequel volume, The Year the Cloud Fell, George Custer, Jr. had crashed his experimental dirigible in Cheyenne territory and was captured. Now he is fighting on the Indians' side. The Indians crush President Custer's reelection campaign hopes by blowing up his new bridge with dynamite and decimating the forts. The Indians still ride around on tame dinosaurs (one reader called the first book "Dances with Dinosaurs") and George falls in love with an Indian maiden. So it's your atypical, yet typical Indian adventure. It is difficult to get into the story without having read the first novel. But quick plotting, good characterization, and great descriptions soon sweep the reader into the maelstrom. Those who enjoyed the first will clamor for this installment.

© KLIATT. All rights reserved


George Armstrong Custer II, son of the U.S. president and an accomplished Cheyenne warrior, arrives in Washington as an ambassador to the U.S. in a joint effort with the New Spanish aimed at protecting the Cheyenne Alliance from U.S. expansion. Unfortunately, a young immigrant, Cesare, who was sucked into underground politics after losing his family in the West, ruins attempts at U.S.-Cheyenne rapprochement with an attempted assassination of President Custer. Balancing abundant action with enough period detail to overcome historiographic qualms, and sustaining the memorable dual portrait of Custer pere and his wife, Libbie, drawn in its predecessors, the third book in Giambastiani's series set in an alternate world where dinosaurs survive in historical North America to become the steeds of the Cheyenne is a solid piece of work. After re-suspending disbelief, faithful series readers, in particular, will enjoy the adventures of young Custer.

—Roland Green

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