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An Alternate History novel by Eric Flint, the Trail of Glory series covers a United States that diverges from its original history at the start of the War of 1812, covering an area from the Canadian border in the north, New Orleans in the south, where the war's final battle was fought in 1815, and in the sequel from the US east coast to west of the Mississippi River.

After Baen Books picked up the series contract from Del Rey, two more books have been planned for the series, but as of June 2011 no publication date is known for the other two novels[1], and nothing of the story has been written.

The two published novels:

  • The Rivers of War (paperback title: 1812: The Rivers of War)
  • 1824: The Arkansas War

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Briefly comes into existence when overzealous soldiers protecting rip down the doors of one of the main entrances to the Capital building to block the other main entrance. After chewing them out for this act of idiocy, Driscol makes them block the entrance they just rendered defenseless - by pushing two huge statues into the doorway.
  • Action Girl: Tiana Rogers plays this straight, with a side order of The Chief's Daughter.
  • The Alcoholic: A part of the reason Eric Flint choose Sam Houston as the protagonist was that he wanted to show a realistic high-functioning alcoholic.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Or at least plenty of plantation owners.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Plenty, but just call it the Arkansas Chiefdom.

  A nation might produce no poets, no philosophers, no inventors, no scientists, no statesmen, no theologicans, no sculptors--no barbers and butchers and bakers, for that matter. But if it could beat down anyone who tried to conquer it, no one could claim it didn't produce men.

  • Boom Town: New Antrim.
  • Cavalry Officer: Averted. The United States at the time had no cavalry regiments.
  • The Chessmaster: Henry Clay. Silently backing a freebooter expedition. If it succeeds, get credit for it. If it is crushed, then use it as a rallying cry for war and a bid for the presidency.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The first battle of Arkansas Post. 1200 trained and drilled soldiers against 1200 undisciplined freebooters.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: All over the place. Slavery and attitude towards race is front and center. Then add in the views on women, individual lives, religion…
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Sam Houston, a year to the day after the murder of Maria Hester.
  • Edutainment Book: About the early days of the United States, especially the first book.
  • Field Promotion: In modern/NATO terms, Sam Houston went from O-1 to O-6 in a matter of months. Meanwhile Driscoll bounced from senior NCO to Major in the same timeframe.
  • For Want of a Nail: Ensign Sam Houston's not being hit by an arrow between the goalposts at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend as he was OTL is the point of departure for the series.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Oh, yes, with an alcoholic as the main protagonist.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: What happened to the Filibusters after the First Battle of Arkansas Post, and the state militias at the second one, was neither pretty nor undeserved
  • Monumental Damage: Averted in "The Rivers of War". Washington is sacked, as in the original war of 1812, but a hastily rallied group of defenders manage to defend the Capitol.
  • Moral Myopia: The attitude towards blacks, "mixed-bloods", and about slavery in the early United Stated is exposed at any turn.
  • Noble Bigot: Andrew Jackson is portrayed as this. He is highly bigoted, even by the standards of the time, and does not hesitate to call friendly Cherokees "savages", ask how Houston can be so sure that his coloured teamsters won't steal his gear, and sum up state militias as drunken and cowardly to a man. However, he decides not to shoot Red Eagle (a rebel Cherokee responsible for a major massacre) because he surrendered voluntarily, promotes a coloured sergeant to commissioned rank (against regulations), and threatens to kill a man who won't join the militia himself but protests against arming free coloured men. Essentially, the Andrew Jackson in the book is bigoted against groups, but is capable of respecting an individual who is especially heroic and or a fierce fighter. While he is a bigot, he hates fools and cowards even more.
  • Noodle Incident: Enforced in that "The Arkansas War" wasn't planned to be the second book. That was "The Trail of Glory", which would cover the alternate Cherokee migration, the riots in New Orleans that are alluded to in "The Arkansas War", and how many of black freedmen ended up moving to Arkansas. It was nixed by the publisher.
  • Sliding Scale of Alternate History Plausibility: Type I, though some question the probability of the events as depicted in the novels and would argue the series more qualifies for Type II.
  • Scary Black Man: Many in the U.S., primarily slaveholders and would-be slaveholders, regard Arkansas Army as this and/or wish to convince everyone else of it. When angered, General Ball pulls it off magnificently in his own right.
  • Sudden Principled Stand:
    • What the black Chiefdom of Arkansas is to the United States.
    • At the end of The Arkansas War, Andrew Jackson has joined forces with John Quincy Adams and other moderates and liberals to form a new Democratic-Republican Party to wrest control of Congress from Henry Clay's supporters in the upcoming off-year elections and go for the White House in the 1828 election, one of whose chief planks is gradual emancipation. This sets up a showdown with the Deep South, and its ideological leader John Calhoun, in future books, though it's strongly implied that the Upper South - especially Kentucky and Tennessee, which are Jackson country - will side with the new party.
  • Worthy Opponent: In the first book, General Robert Ross. In the second, General William Henry Harrison (to a certain extent) and Colonel Zachary Taylor who is actually more of a Friendly Enemy.


  1. the tentative title for the third novel in the series is 1826: Oklahoma Burning, as per a comment by Flint on the Baen's Bar forum
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