Set in a post-apocalyptic twenty-fifth century, Theodore Judson’s first work of speculative fiction traces the careers of two powerful men: Lord Isaac Prophet Fitzpatrick, Consul and Supreme Commander of the Yukon Confederacy; and Sir Robert Mayfair Bruce, one of Fitzpatrick’s closest companions and his chief engineer. In Fitzpatrick’s War, Judson imaginatively creates a world without electricity and powered by steam. The greatest world power is the semi-feudal and strictly religious Yukon Confederacy comprising present day North America, Great Britain, and Australia. The “war” of the title is one for complete world conquest, waged by Fitzpatrick and made possible by Bruce, who suffers terrible guilt and shame as a result.
To complicate the novel further, Judson structures the book with two narrators. Fitzpatrick’s War opens with the comments of a twenty- sixth century scholar, Roland Modesty Van Buren, who risks his career by producing an edition of Mayfair’s twenty-fifth century memoir of the war. While this first person memoir narrated by Bruce forms the core of Judson’s novel, it is annotated throughout with footnotes from Van Buren who believes Fitzpatrick was the greatest hero the Yukons have ever known. Judson thus establishes an ironic double vision, one that allows him to consider the nature of history and the power of love.
Fitzpatrick’s War has all of the elements of a fully realized novel: strong, well-drawn characters, a remarkably conceived and executed vision of a future world, and a compelling plot that should appeal to a general readership as well as science fiction aficionados.