Alternate Alternate History

I love history. I love alternate history. I love looking at our past through a cracked lens and imagining a different present. Often, when we think of alternate history, we think of World War Two; we think of Nazis; we think of Hitler. Growing up on Star Trek, I saw a lot of this. And I get that. It was, after all, a world war. It was fairly recent, it was huge, it was well documented, and the Nazis are a captivating, singularly terrifying baddie. So there’s quite a lot of WW2 Alternate History floating around.


But of course there was plenty of human history before Hitler made the scene. In fact, folks have been dreaming up alternate history for about as long as humans have been recording actual history. The first known example (thanks Wikipedia!) of alternate history is from around 26BC and it’s all about what might’ve happened if Alexander The Great had taken his military east instead of west.

And, really, that’s what all Alternate History is. It’s a big, “What might’ve happened if___?”


In Silver Tongue, I ask the question, “What might’ve happened if George Washington fell into the Delaware instead of crossing it?” In the Silver Tongue chronology the American War of Independence was fought and lost more than fifty years before Claire and her friends go on their epic road trip riverboat adventure. What’s happened in that time? How is their country different from the one we would’ve known in 1835? What world events have shifted or not occurred at all? Answering those questions is all part of looking through that cracked lens.

Delving into this post-revolutionary war era allowed me to learn about a less written about period and to create my own, original world within that new timeline. Unlike WWII, there’s not a whole lot of Napoleonic American alternate history so it feels like a fresh stomping ground.


So, George Washington falls into the Delaware and drowns. But why? Well, because of secret, supernatural reasons, all of which come to bear in Silver Tongue when Claire, Phileas, and Sam have to face a much more supernatural, much more monstrous, and much more French version of our history.


Book Synopsis for Silver Tongue: The Colonies lost the Revolutionary War. Now it’s 1839 and the North American continent is divided into three territories: New Britannia, Nueva Espana, and Nouvelle France where seventeen-year-old Claire Poissant lives. Claire has a magical way with words-literally. But a mystical power of persuasion isn’t the only thing that makes her different. Half-French and half-Indian, Claire doesn’t feel at home in either world. Maybe that’s why she’s bonded so tightly with her fellow outcasts and best friends: Phileas, a young man whose towering intellect and sexuality have always made him the target of bullies, and Sam, a descendant of George Washington who shares the disgraced general’s terrible, secret curse. But when Sam’s family is murdered, these bonds are tested and Claire’s special ability is strained to its limits as the three hunt the men responsible into dangerous lands. Along the way they cross paths with P.T. Barnum, William Frankenstein and other characters from both history and fantasy as they learn the hard way that man is often the most horrific monster and that growing up sometimes means learning to let go of the things you hold most dear.




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About the Author: Born and raised in Appalachia, AshleyRose Sullivan now lives, writes, and paints in Los Angeles. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and her first novel, Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale is available from Seventh Star Press. She can be found at her website or her blog, My Year Of Star Trek.


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