Marching Through Georgia by S.M. Stirling
This 1988 novel is Book 1 of the Draka series. It is 1942 and in an alternate universe very different to our own – the equivalent of WW2 is raging. The Domination of the Draka, a war mongering, conquest orientated, slave owning society that lives in sybaritic luxury owns 1/2 the globe and is hungry for more.
The Draka have shrugged off their origins as displaced American Loyalists and have long abandoned any pretence of being Christian, British supporting Loyalists. Instead they breed their slaves from generation to generation, each more brainwashed than its predecessors. They are a vicious, ruthless people with a fearsome reputation who have no concept of moral nunace and instead enact their awful will.
Freedom and democracy are a cruel delusion and the Draka are a callous, wicked people who take a terrible toll on the Earth. An American war reporter watches the brooding Byronic Eric Von Shrakenberg lead his Draka troops in a monumentally ugly war admid an atmosphere of crisis. Eric broods every so often about how the Draka way and yoke of slavery are so destructive for the culture it is imposed on and for the people who impose it. But he doesn't brood for long, as he lacks empathy and sees Draka conquest as an unchallenged fact.
We get hints of Draka society, its 'culture' and dark legacy. Draka find their way of life utterly delightful and not at all shameful. They are aggressively vicious and evoke malice. This is a good, vivid altenrate reality and a terrifying look at a society that thankfully never was.
“Had probably been brought up on anti-Draka propaganda and atrocity stories, at least half of which were true.”
“Did not want to be here in this cold and foreign place, covered in blood and sitting on a corpse.”
“In a stright-on knife fight the one who ended up in the hospital was the winner.”
“The Americans who will fight the Draka someday, because they must.”
“A steady stream of casualties he could not replace.”
“Tigers with the minds of men.”
“The Draka were nearly as deadly as they thought they were.”
“Make out the unit blazon on the side of the turret, an armored gauntlet crushing a terrestrial globe in its fist.”
“Someone who doesn't really belive that history can happen to them...”
“Imagine a science that could make her ravings something close to reality.”
“Ceremonial whip at his belt.”
“The Draka exist in a state of either war or serious preperation for same.”
“Pro nullis, pro mortis, pro quadrupedis.”
“Over 90 per cent of the population is property.”