The Day After Gettysburg
by Robert Conroy and J.R. Dunn
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781481482516
Date: 06 June 2017 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
As General Robert E. Lee retreats from the fields and hills of Gettysburg, a fateful decision will change the course of the war. President Abraham Lincoln orders the immediate pursuit of Lee. The cornered General turns to fight, leading to a sweeping victory. Instead of retreating over the Potomac River, Lee sets up camp in Pennsylvania.
The Union forces are in disarray and avoid fights. President Lincoln is at a loss as to who to call on as a new leader of the Northern Armies. His choices are few, and the one man who may be able to win refuses command based on the current structure of the Army.
A series of small engagement forces Lincoln's hand and he makes a choice. His new General must turn the war around or the English may get involved. The balance is close and Lee is one of the greatest generals in the world at this time.
The story though isn't just about the big men of history, it weaves in the fates and actions of those who have little power. The success of Lee emboldens the Southern sympathizers who plot mayhem. Fires, attacks, and more come from a cell which includes an actor of some fame. There are also the fates of the freed blacks now near Washington. The daughter of a wounded Colonel is in mourning for a lost beau. She wants to help and begins to teach the freedmen. Being in the camp of the former slaves puts her at risk, but not from the people she is there to help.
This is the novel by Robert Conroy. And this time I mean it. I think. There have been several novels which have come out after Conroy's death. This seems to be the last one in reserve. In his last novel, Conroy turns to one of the classic turning points in alternative history, the U.S. Civil War. It is fitting that his last work focuses where many others begin. I didn't feel this was Conroy at his best, but that may be due to having another writer step in to finish the project. Up until this point, I had believed that Conroy was getting better with each release.
This novel is unrelated to any of his previous work and is open to new readers. As Conroy was a master of the one-off novel, there is no need to feel that there is a missing sequel or that the story isn't contained in this one volume. That was one of my favorite things about Conroy: One and done with a subject. I wish others would follow his example. So with this capstone, readers should go ahead and take one last ride through the eyes of Conroy's vision of a different path.