A first novel.
The Year the Cloud Fell will please not only SF and fantasy fans, but also lovers of historical and revisionist Western fiction. In 1886, the U.S. Army experimental dirigible A. Lincoln is making a scouting flight above the Unorganized Territory when a terrific thunderstorm strikes the craft to earth. Now the mission commander, the president's only son, is a prisoner of the Cheyenne Alliance. The Indians have no reason to love the president, the implacable enemy they call Long Hair: General George Armstrong Custer. And only the strange shamanic vision of one young Cheyenne woman stands between Captain George Armstrong Custer Jr. and death.
With his debut novel, Kurt R.A. Giambastiani has created a fast-paced, imaginative, intelligent alternate history with a bold, breathtaking climax. The Year the Cloud Fell has "gotta" quality, as in "Honey, I'm coming right to bed, but first I just gotta finish this chapter." The novel ends conclusively, yet it also leaves the door open for a sequel that readers will eagerly await.
Unfortunately, whites who create historical fiction or movies about American Indians often end up producing a sort of noble-savage porn, and alternate history provides more possibilities than any other fiction for a simplistic approach to white/Indian interactions. However, Giambastiani has avoided such pitfalls. The Year the Cloud Fell provides no easy answers, noble-savage stereotypes, great-white-father saviors, or clichéd situations. Bravo.
Source: Cynthia Ward, Amazon.com.