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Review of Book Two: The Translator

Posted by Robert G. PIelke on April 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (3) Book Reviews

by rmframe 4/18/13

A New Birth of Freedom: The Translator by Robert Pielke was an exciting read that deals with complex issues. It is an excellent follow up to the first book that surpassed expectations.


The book follows the continued efforts of Edwin Blair to stop the world from being destroyed in the future by the Pests, some of whom are with him in the time of the Civil War. The events of history are now significantly altered due to the presence of Blair and the aliens, but Blair does believe that history will bounce back. Unfortunately due to both the changes and memory loss he doesn’t know what is going on any longer.


There is a greater examination of Blair character and we learn more about the other characters that we met in the first book, such as Lincoln, John Hay, Cornelia Hancock, and the Pests themselves. We do not meet a great number of new characters, but we do get to meet Goyahkla and William Philo Clark whose translation ability is used in an interesting way.


The book delves further into the themes and plotlines brought up in the first book. Some of these include a more intense loss of memory and further loss of historical reference for the main character. Now Blair has only hints of stuff that he thinks he is supposed to remember, but he doesn’t always know what or why.


It also deals more heavily with the theme of prejudice as Edwin Blair attempts to hold on to his hatred for the “Pests” as more and more evidence piles up that they are a whole lot more like humans than Blair is comfortable with. It also deals with the greater reaction of the world to the aliens, which vary from pointing out their intelligence and human-like characteristics, to arguing for immediate extermination. It is set against the race relation issues of the Civil War, and some “sectarians” equate the African-Americans with the Pests, which causes great unease for Blair.


It was fascinating to watch Blair attempt to hold on to both his mission and his identity as everything slipped away from him. The reactions of people around him were interesting as they react with amusement, irritation, and fear to the fact that he no longer has a plan to achieve his goal, although he is sure that he had one when he arrived. This is troubling not only because of Blair’s own sense of self, but that he may no longer be able to stop Earth’s destruction if he doesn’t remember anything.


An interesting aspect to the plotline is that there was evidence that the future, past, and present were being tampered with, and not by directly Blair or the aliens, which lends a sense of mystery and urgency to the plot. It also dredges up the question for Blair as to whether he has been repeating the same actions over and over and may be thwarting or directing himself.


It was an excellent read and I look forward to reading more about Blair’s journey in the final book. If you like exciting and intricate plotlines with interesting themes and a protagonist who is less than ideal, then I think you will highly enjoy this book.

Review of Book One: The Visitor

Posted by Robert G. PIelke on March 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM Comments comments (0)




A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor by Robert G. Pielke is both complex and gripping. It details the time travels of Edwin Blair, a history professor from 2203 who travels back to the middle of the Civil War in order to triumph against a group of alien invaders in his own time.


The history of the Civil War itself is both realistic and intricate and provides a background setting for the larger story, but more than that is proves to be vital to the overall story as history, as Blair knows it, begins to unravel.


Blair is a sympathetic individual trying to save the world from the invading “Pests” after they have already killed his wife and daughter among many others. The reader does not even think to question Blair when he details, to President Lincoln, General Lee and others, just how dangerous and deadly the invaders are, but in the end both the reader and Blair himself start to question his venomous hatred towards the aliens, helped along by the reactions of some of those from the 1860s. He is also losing who he is, as valuable memories, both general and personal, begin to disappear.


Less central than Blair, the Civil War era characters are also interesting and well developed, from Lincoln and Lee to less high-profile characters such as Cornelia Hancock and John Hay. I also appreciated that the characters had their own motivations and did not always jump on board with Blair’s agenda.


The fluidly of time is an intriguing aspect of this book, as not only the future, but also the present, and even the past could be threatened by the presence of time travel, but neither Blair nor the aliens are concerned about returning history to the status quo. Blair expresses some concern, but he is more concerned with the general survival of humanity as opposed to historical detail, even though it is one of his most powerful weapons.


The book moves along at a good pace, providing detail and setting up the story, but not dragging along too much. The book becomes more intense towards the end with the increased unravel of time and the readers realization that they might have been mistaken all along. The speech patterns are also authentically historical and I loved the historical detail throughout.


The theme of prejudice is dealt with in an interesting way, as Blair tries to remember that he is in a time before people were more tolerant of one another, but at the same time does not question his own opinion on the aliens. Time-travel is always interesting, but the way that it is played with here, where no detail is safe and saving history is not the goal, is both interesting and unique. It was also both touching and exciting to have the protagonist slowly lose details of his past and who he is.


This is the first book of a trilogy, and I look forward to learning more about Blair’s adventures through history, and what happens with both the Pests and history itself. If you like complex, intriguing stories that pay attention to detail, but also tell an exciting story with a an interesting main character and dilemma, then I think you will also like this book.

A Message from a Reader

Posted by Robert G. PIelke on February 26, 2013 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)

"This is a message for everybody out there in facebook land. if you really like sci-fi, blended in perfectly with history, and you like one of our greatest presidents abe lincoln, you will trully love these books. but, to follow the story you will need to read book one first. the new birth of freedom the visitor. the second book is a new birth of freedon the translator.

I have both copys, and they are both signed by mr. pielke. if you are a sfi-fi and a history buff like myself, you will really love these books. the first book the visitor, i couldn't put it down and finished it in one day. this is my favorite of the two, and i am awaiting the final book of the triolegy book three. i know there are a lot of books on lincoln available, but none like these two. I highly recomend you give book one and two a try, before the possible movie comes out. the sceenplay has already been writen."

Bill A [from Facebook]

Review of Book One: The Visitor

Posted by Robert G. PIelke on February 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Robert Pielke - A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor - Giveaway & Review - Blog Tour Stop

Sometimes the scope of human tragedy is too large to comprehend. The mind grasps for alternate explanations in order to come to terms with staggering loss. Robert Pielke's A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor tries to reconcile the over 50,000 lives lost during the three day Battle of Gettysburg. How could the death toll be so catastrophic? How could the number of casualties be explained? How could men cut each other down in such a brutal way? Because according to Pielke, it never happened - not the way historians would have us believe.


His revisionist account takes a science fiction approach. What if an alien invasion were actually to blame for the carnage inflicted during the pivotal moment of the Civil War? Surely, 19th century cannonballs and gunfire could not have killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War. Some other sinister force had to be responsible.


Enter Edwin Blair, a mysterious time traveling stranger from the 23rd century, a.k.a. the visitor of the title. In his time, Earth is on the brink of destruction. An infestation of locust-like, technologically savvy aliens has mercilessly descended on the planet killing humans like ants and devouring every type of vegetation in existence. The key to possible survival lies in tampering with their time travel abilities. Blair knows their spacecraft will appear over the Pennsylvania fields during the Battle of Gettysburg. The only way to stop them is a full out assault by the combined Union and Confederate forces in order to disable their ships stranding them in 1863.


Abraham Lincoln is the man that Blair must convince in order to set his plan in motion. In a fascinating look at the revered president, Pielke shows a shrewd yet deeply curious Lincoln. The depiction does Lincoln justice illustrating his intellectual and open-minded nature. While his advisers look upon Blair as a lunatic, it is Lincoln who believes his spectacular claims. His mind is able to grasp concepts like extraterrestrial life and computer science. The scope of his intelligence is not limited to the period of time in which he finds himself. He is able to look beyond his contemporary world and see the bigger picture. War is war and he knows that understanding the enemy - whoever or whatever it is - provides the only path to victory.


Another key figure in Blair's plan is General Robert E. Lee. He must convince the esteemed solider to lay down his weapons and join in a temporary truce with the Union army. Without the combined firepower of both sides, Blair's plan will not work. Lee does not disappoint. The distinguished gentleman stands head and shoulders above the field both figuratively and literally. He too is able to operate on faith. He does not understand what Blair is telling him, but he is willing to risk everything in order to at least give Blair's plan a chance.


What ultimately convinces Lee? Blair demonstrates the apocalyptic force of the aliens' weaponry. It leaves even a hardened warrior like Lee shaken to the core. While he may be unable to parse through the details of Blair's story, Lee cannot doubt the destructive ability of which he speaks.


It is intriguing to witness two of the greatest military minds of the 19th century grapple with the concept of an alien attack. Pielke provides a glimpse into how Lincoln and Lee might have handled things if they had been faced with such a possibility. Their stature, poise and determination serve as a source of comfort during a time when capable leadership would be of the utmost importance. Having leaders who can be depended upon during a time of crisis is something the American consciousness innately craves. If only the heroes of the past could save the country from its future problems, and through Pielke's account they are able to do just that.


Overall, a fascinating look at how the heroes of America's past strive to save its future


Review of Book Two: The Translator

Posted by Robert G. PIelke on February 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)


About the Book


Noam Chomsky argues that communication with aliens would be impossible. Stephen Hawking argues that it would be extremely unwise even to try. What if it were absolutely necessary to do so? This question arises with extreme urgency at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, in this time-travel, alternate-history trilogy.


My Review


No one is hotter right now than Abraham Lincoln. From Daniel Day-Lewis' award-winning portrayal of the sixteenth president in Stephen Spielberg's motion picture to his fabled visage appearing in commercials for the 2013 Lincoln town car, Honest Abe is back on the radar of the cultural zeitgeist. As the nation celebrates one of its most beloved presidents this month, science fiction author Robert G. Pielke returns with his own spin on this American icon.


In The Translator, the second installment of his time traveling trilogy, A New Birth of Freedom, Pielke continues to humanize a figure often cloaked in legend. With dialogue steeped in the colloquialisms of the Civil War era, he skillfully demonstrates how Lincoln might have dealt with an alien invasion. A literary exercise that is daring for both the author and the reader. Pielke's depiction of Lincoln's thought processes - on how he might shrewdly coax the United States out of such a predicament - is truly entertaining and enlightening.


Lincoln is bombarded on both fronts. He is waging war against the Confederacy while coping with the unexpected arrival of these extraterrestrial lifeforms at the battlefield of Gettysburg. Yet he takes this new development in stride, launching into fable-like memories from his past, in order to keep his staff at ease. Ironically, his worries about General Robert E. Lee become secondary in importance. In fact, the two sides will have to work together in order to save the planet. Lincoln says, "Each one of us wanted to destroy the other, but neither one of us got what we wanted. It remains to be seen what will happen in the long run..."


And that's where things get tricky for Pielke as a storyteller - the implicit Catch-22 scenario that lies at the heart of time travel. If events are changed in the past, they irrevocably distort the future. And that's where Pielke's protagonist, Edwin Blair, comes into play. He's a visitor from the twenty-third century attempting to rid his world of the 'Pests.' But if he stops them with Lincoln's help in 1863, will he be terminating his own existence, as well as theirs, in the future? It's a tricky line to plot as a writer, and Pielke deftly manages the monumental task. The dilemma of right and wrong bleeds through the novel at every turn, and Pielke guides the reader through Edwin Blair's moral dilemmas. And who better to advise him than the Great Emancipator?


For those invested in Pielke's series, book two does not disappoint. Instead, the journey is interconnected with the power of language, and the ability to communicate with one's adversary. The Translator provides a message relevant for any part of American history, and Pielke interweaves this theme brilliantly through the creation of his 'Pest' motif, since it is only through shared conversation that understanding of any kind can take place. And sometimes it's the messages to oneself that become the most important of all