Thursday, March 24, 2016

Osprey Books: War of the Worlds The Anglo-Martian War of 1895

  • Author: Mike Brunton
  • Illustrator: Alan Lathwell
  • Short code: DARK 9
  • Publication Date: 20 Nov 2015
  • Number of Pages: 80 
On one terrible night in August 1895, the world changed forever. Grey metal cylinders, launched from Mars and hurtled through space, came crashing down in southern England. The next 15 days were marked by courage and despair, hope and shock, defeat and fleeting victory as Queen Victoria's army struggled to contain the terrible alien threat. The war, man against machines from space, was fought without mercy on both sides. And the outcome would be decided by the smallest of things…

This book covers the whole of the Anglo-Martian conflict, beginning with a look at the relative strengths and weakness of the two armies, both English and alien, and comparing the different strategies employed. It then takes a detailed look at the actual military struggle, covering all of the major engagements between the tripods and Victoria's army.

“This is a history of that short, cruel, and genocidal war, reconstructed from the perspective of the surviving human defenders…. There are no Martian accounts or documents of any kind about the Invasion. Not a single recognizable account or record was ever recovered from the Cylinders or the Martians’ remarkable machines.”

Osprey Publishing, whose tomes usually delve deeply into military history with such works as Railway Guns of World War II, and Vietnam: A View from the Front Lines, has another less non-fiction subset of their company. Osprey Adventures combines the real and unreal into a fun little book, complete with glorious illustrations, and tons of factual fiction. Their Dark Series has produced their next book, War Of The Worlds: The Anglo-Martian War of 1895 by Mike Brunton.

Written from the perspective of Great Britain once again (as exemplified by the excerpt, and much like the 1898 novel-first serialized in 1897), War of The Worlds has George Herbert Wells as a war correspondent (and an unpatriotic one at that). It is broken down into 5 chapters and 2 Appendices: “The Hunter” and “Winston Churchill’s Martian War.” The Intro and subsequent 4 sections give a true twist to the story of the Martians’ invasion of England via giant cylinders, and one man’s adventure through the chaos.

This 80-page gorgeously designed novel emphasizes the military strategy employed by both sides during the battle, and really makes you feel like this could really happen. Quite enjoyable, especially with the beautiful art by Alan Lathwell, every aspect of this book is quite detailed, including full descriptions of the red weed, the servitors, the cylinders, and the Martians themselves — “rotund sacs of brains, with hideous gargoyle faces, and huge, unearthly, luminous eyes!”

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