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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Excerpt: Purgatory's Shore (Artillerymen Book 1) by Taylor Anderson

Prepare to embark on a thrilling new military sci-fi adventure from New York Times bestselling author of the Destroyermen series, Taylor Anderson. Perfect for fans of David Weber, Jack Campbell, and S.M. Stirling, PURGATORY’S SHORE (Ace Hardcover; September 21, 2021) is the first installment of the Artillerymen series and takes place in the same world as Anderson’s acclaimed Destroyermen novels. The story follows a group of American soldiers who are on their way to fight in the Mexican-American War, only to be swept away to a strange and deadly alternate Earth.

by Taylor Anderson
Genre: Alternate history, war fiction
On their way to fight in the Mexican-American War, a group of American soldiers are swept away to a strange and deadly alternate Earth in this thrilling new adventure set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Destroyermen series.

The United States, 1847. A disparate group of young American soldiers are bound to join General Winfield Scott's campaign against Santa Anna at Veracruz during the Mexican-American War. They never arrive.

Or rather . . . they arrive somewhere else.

The untried, idealistic soldiers are mostly replacements, really; a handful of infantry, artillery, dragoons, and a few mounted riflemen with no unified command. And they've been shipwrecked on a terrible, different Earth full of monsters and unimaginable enemies.

Major Lewis Cayce, late of the 3rd US "Flying" Artillery, must unite these men to face their fears and myriad threats, armed with little more than flintlock muskets, a few pieces of artillery, and a worldview that spiritually and culturally rebels against virtually everything they encounter. It will take extraordinary leadership and a cadre of equally extraordinary men and women to mold frightened troops into an effective force, make friends with other peoples the evil Holy Dominion would eradicate, and reshape their "manifest destiny" into a cause they can all believe in and fight for.

For only together will they have any hope of survival.
Praise for Taylor Anderson and the Destroyermen series
"I cannot recommend [these books] too highly."--New York Times bestselling author David Weber

"Taylor Anderson . . . [has] steamed to the forefront of alternative history."--National bestselling author E. E. Knight

"Action sci-fi doesn't get significantly better than this."--Booklist


“Captain Cayce! Captain Cayce! Oh, please wake up! We need you rather badly!”

Lewis’s mind rejected what he was hearing. It sounded like the young dragoon lieutenant. Coryon Burton, wasn’t it? Of North Carolina. Class of ’46. But that’s impossible. I’m dead. We’re all dead, swallowed by the void.

“He’s alive,” came another impossible voice—Giles Anson’s. “And none of his arms or legs seem broken. Probably bumped his head. Maybe he fell on it? Without a surgeon, who knows what’s wrong with him if he won’t wake up.”

“I can’t wake up,” Lewis managed to protest through painful lips. “None of us can.”

“Aye, he’s comin’ around,” came a gruff, slightly Scottish voice. “You, Private Willis, pour some water on his face. He probably can’t even open his eyes with all that dried blood gluin’ ’em shut.”

“But Sergeant McNabb!” objected a harsh, squeaky voice, apparently Private Willis, “we ain’t found any fresh water yet, an’ all I got’s in my canteen!”

“Do as ye’re told, damn ye! There’s plenty o’ water in the ship—if we can get to it before all the started butts leak it out.”

Lewis sensed movement beside him and a sudden coolness on his face. Gentle fingers massaged his eyes and he cracked one open. The sky was bright pink until he blinked several times to clear the blood. It looked perfectly ordinary then; bright blue with the sun creeping into view overhead. But that was the only thing right. The deck below him didn’t move because it wasn’t a deck and the sun was beginning to glare through tall, straight trees, many of which had their branches savagely ripped from the near side of their trunks. Colorful birds—Lewis assumed they were birds, though they were shaped very strangely—flitted through the trees, cawing raucously. Those of different species didn’t seem to get along very well, and there was constant skirmishing. That didn’t matter. Realistically, the only birds Lewis should’ve seen were gulls.

Giles Anson leaned into Lewis’s view, festooned with all the weapons he generally carried in the field. A pair of Colt Paterson revolvers were in belt holsters at his side, and a Model 1838 flintlock pistol was thrust into his belt. An 1817 flintlock rifle, a fine, .54 caliber weapon like Lieutenant Swain’s Mounted Rifles carried, was slung over one shoulder and a pair of tooled, privately made pommel holsters were draped over the other. Knowing the Ranger as he did, Lewis wasn’t surprised the man had immediately collected his weapons. Anson nodded with apparent relief and produced a genuine smile. “See there, Lewis? You can wake up.” A more customary ironic smile replaced the first one. “Might wish you hadn’t, though.”

Lewis groaned and picked clumps of dried blood from his eyelashes, still knitting the other eye closed, while a man behind helped raise him to a sitting position. He’d expected to find himself sitting on sand for some reason, but realized he was on a bed of dry, ferny-looking leaves with spines as rigid as pine needles. That didn’t make any sense. “I thought I was dead,” he confessed hoarsely, “but even in hell, I doubt I’d hurt this much.” His other eye clear, he gently probed his scalp under blood-matted hair. “And either I didn’t feel what hit me when we were wrecked—I assume we were wrecked?—or I did fall on my head.” He looked up at Anson and Burton. “But not in the water?”

“Give him a drink, ye fool,” came Sergeant McNabb’s voice. Lewis looked at him and beheld a virtual stereotype of his breed. Tough, craggy-faced, probably in his forties, McNabb wasn’t particularly imposing, but his rank in the regular foot artillery meant he’d been in long enough to develop sufficient skill, personality, and experience to deal with much larger men. Private Willis, also one of Lieutenant Olayne’s 1st Artillerymen, looked like he sounded: a short, wiry youngster, wearing a put-upon expression in addition to all his gear. Beyond them, and a cluster of other armed men (1816 muskets, bayonets, and short swords for the artillerymen, .54 caliber 1817s for the Rifles, and .52 caliber breechloading Hall carbines hanging from white leather straps and iron clips on the dragoons), stood a densely wooded forest of tall, straight-trunked trees. Lewis blinked. Private Willis handed over a gray, stamped-steel canteen.

Lewis took a small sip and nodded his thanks. “I have a glaringly obvious question, I suppose,” he managed with a firmer voice.

“Think you can stand?” Anson asked.

“I must.”

Anson and Lieutenant Burton grasped his arms and hauled him to his feet. His legs supported him, but a wave of painful vertigo left him swaying for a moment before the dizziness, at least, began to pass. Gently, the men still holding his arms guided him around to look behind. “My God,” Lewis Cayce muttered.

He’d assumed the men had carried him inshore from whatever coast they’d struck, but the wreck of Mary Riggs was in this strange forest as well, far from any sound of the sea. Dizziness threatened to take him again as Lewis contemplated the impossibility of that.

Anson knew what he was thinking. “Do you remember falling? All the rest of us do, an’ apparently the ship fell with us.” He gestured at the stripped branches on trees, extending fifteen or twenty feet up. Somehow, that felt about right. Anson pointed back at Mary Riggs. “That”—he hesitated—“peculiar storm must’ve carried us inland on a wave surge of some kind, leavin’ the ship—us—here as it receded.”

About the Author
Taylor Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Destroyermen novels. A gunmaker and forensic ballistic archaeologist, Taylor has been a technical and dialogue consultant for movies and documentaries and is an award-winning member of the National Historical Honor Society and of the United States Field Artillery Association.

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