In this stellar time-travel novel, a modern-American nuclear-powered cruiser sails through a time portal and goes back 152 years to the days just before the beginning of the Civil War.
The USS California, under the command of Capt. Ashley Patterson, an African-American woman, is headed toward Charleston, S.C., to participate in a ceremony commemorating the first battle of the Civil War: the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. But before her ship reaches its destination, the massive cruiser—and its 630 crew members—travel through some sort of temporal wormhole and end up near the Charleston Harbor in 1861, just hours before the Confederate assault is about to begin.
After eventually wrapping her head around the fact that her entire crew has traveled back in time, Patterson realizes that she has some difficult decisions to make: Does she let history repeat itself and focus on trying to find a way back home, or does she use the military superiority of the California—“outfitted with enough fire power to unleash Biblical hell on an enemy”—to help end the war quickly and thus save the approximately 620,000 soldiers who would otherwise die in the next four years?
Powered by a cast of well-developed characters—Lincoln and Lee are among the prominently featured historical figures—consistently brisk pacing and a pulse-pounding (albeit slightly predictable) conclusion, the humanist themes of this novel are momentous and just as timely today as they were back in the 1860s.
This provocative, intensely powerful novel is a must-read for sci-fi fans and Civil War aficionados, though mainstream fiction readers will find it heart-rending and inspiring as well. A rare read that’s not only wildly entertaining, but also profoundly moving. From Kirkus Reviews
A Kirkus Best Indie Book of 2013
Genre – Science fiction/time travel/alternative history
On the morning of April 10, 2013 the nuclear guided missile cruiser USS California left Norfork, Virginia heading toward Charleston, South Carolina. Once there the ship would anchor at Fort Sumter for a ceremony commemorating where the first battle of the Civil War took place on April 12, 1861. After the ceremony Captain Ashley Patterson would deploy her ship to the Persian Gulf, but as it turns out, time can be unpredictable.
Author Russell F. Moran like so many authors before him wrestles with science fiction and time travel to the extent of what would happen if we could go back into history and change just one event. He thanks his friends Bill Holland, Nick Wartella and his wife for their fresh perspective, input and editorial analyses. He also gives appreciation for invaluable technical input from his friend Lloyd (Hoss) Miller, Rear Admiral, Retired, United States Navy. Admiral Miller was the first commanding officer of the USS California, the ship that plays the pivotal role in the story. Admiral Miller makes a cameo appearance in the book as the strong leader, likeable person and gentleman that he is in real life.
The author is quick to point out that this is a work of fiction and with all fiction imagination plays a pivoting role. At the very start the reader is introduced by name to 55 major characters who bring the story of ‘The Gray Ship’ from the blue-green swells of the Atlantic Ocean through a port-hole (worm hole) that will not only change history, but tens of thousands of lives. His characters are realistic as with Captain Ashley Patterson while in her astute position wrestles with her own inner demons.
Who right now or in our future might want to go back in time to abolish war or the worse acts of humankind? When faced with the dilemma of being forced back through time into a dark period of American history, Captain Ashley Patterson and her crew had to risk mutiny or at the very least commit treason. If and when they could make it back to their own time, how would they be judged by friends, family, the military and the world? Who would believe their story?
One of my favorite quotes from the book reads, “Dr. Weinberg,” said Admiral Miller, “Do you believe these stories?” “It isn’t my job to believe stories or not to believe them, Admiral,” said Weinberg. “It’s my job to assess whether the witness believes his own story. But I will say this. I don’t know much about this time travel stuff, but ever since I worked on that book with Jack Thurber, I’ve noticed that I’ve developed an obsessive compulsive disorder. I never step on a crack…it may be a wormhole.”
Reading ‘The Gray Ship’ has left me wanting to read this authors other three books; A Time Of Fear, The Skies Of Time, and The Thanksgiving Gang.
Theodocia McLean endorses The Gray Ship by Russell F. Moran as a science fiction, time travel story that will cause the thoughtful reader to ask what he or she might change if the opportunity presented itself? I purchased and reveived this book from a Kindle format. This reviews was completed on February 21, 2015.
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