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William Burton McCormick Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Lenin's Harem (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blue Amber (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Prometheus Saga: A Science Fiction Anthology(2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

William Burton McCormick
William Burton McCormick is a historical fiction author born in Maryland and raised in Nevada. The talented author is a Brown University graduate with degrees in Computer Sciences and Ancient Studies. He also holds a University of Manchester MA in Novel Writing and studied briefly in Lomonosov Moscow State University. McCormick has won several awards for his educational software, computer games, and short stories. He is also quite the adventurer and has so far lived in seven countries, including Russia and Latvia, while researching for his debut novel, Lenin’s Harem. McCormick was in 2013 elected as a Hawthornden Writing Fellow, and he has also been a Derringer Finalist four times.

Lenin’s Harem
Lenin’s Harem stars Wiktor Roots, an aristocrat who loses his home and heritage when the Lettish attack and burn properties belonging to old Land Barons. Wiktor is fortunate to get out of his family estate alive. With nothing to hold onto in Latvia, Wiktor joins the Russian army, and the turbulent war years that follow take his mind away from his misfortunes. During the Bolshevik Revolution, Wiktor becomes part of the Red Riflemen elite regiment, also known as Lenin’s Harem. Members of this group were dedicated to the cause, and their friendship grows beyond the army. While Wiktor feels the brotherhood between him and his fellow army men, he doesn’t let anyone know about his aristocratic past.

It is during the war that Wiktor also falls in love with a communist girl. However, when the war ends, he has no choice but to go back to his homeland. Life at home doesn’t turn to be any good as betrayal awaits. Before Wiktor can settle back home, Stalin’s soldiers come knocking, and once again, he turns into a victim of circumstances. Through Wiktor, the author covers issues such as nationality, ethnicity, class, ideology, and religion. Walking with Wiktor from his young age on his family estate to the trenches during the war is exciting. The descriptions, especially of the war scenes, are so vivid you can smell and see the gas clouds and stacked dead bodies through the pages.

This book is set in Latvia and Russia between the year 1905 and 1941. It covers a fascinating time starting with the revolution all the way to start of the Second World War in a place most authors have overlooked. In about 270 pages, the author offers great insights into the Latvian culture and history. If you are interested in European history, this is an excellent book for you. A lot of facts are packed in this short story, and it is amazing how the author gives accurate historical information in such an engaging way. There is also a good balance between facts and good storytelling, so the author is able to handle a harsh subject without coming off as offensive.

Lenin’s Harem is an intriguing story of brotherhood, love, and nationhood. It is a beautifully-written and fast-paced story that exposes a lot about Latvian history. The author is a talented storyteller, and his skills show throughout the story. It is hard to believe that the author knew nothing about Latvia before deciding to write this book. The story leaves you in a pondering position, and it is easy to get immersed in history and keep turning the pages. Whether you are Latvian or not, this book will stir your curiosity about Latvian history.

Blue Amber
Blue Amber tells the story of Fricis Svaars, a revolutionary put behind bars thanks to the Tsar police. While Fricis knows that his fate is sealed, he is determined to keep fighting. There is no way he is going to walk quietly to his assassination. Because he knows that the secret police plan to murder him in Riga prison, Fricis comes up with a clever escape attempt that leads him to Baltic sea’s shores. It is amazing how he manages to outsmart everyone and get a chance to get out even though the police follow him a short while after.

The shores of this sea are rocky, but this is nothing compared to the winter that is at its harshest. Now Fricis is trapped between the sea’s chilly water and the guns of the police officers pursuing him. Which move will he take? What will a man do in such a situation where there is no easy way out? Despite the odds not being in his favour, Fricis has some few things working to his advantage. First, his powerful build makes it possible for him to overcome great challenges. He is also strong, determined, and in every possible way, a survivor.

This is a gripping story of a man literally caught between a rock and a hard place. The book is not only visually satisfying but also cleverly written. McCormick also allows the reader to see Fricis as he struggles to keep his head over the water with the irons weighing him down. There is always that feeling that something might go wrong, and the rising tension will keep you reading. From the time Fricis’s sleigh gets to the shore, the suspense never stops. Following this strong man as he tries to cheat death enough time is exciting, and the adrenalin throughout the escape will keep you glued to the pages.
Blue Amber is a gripping story that is so convincing that you will feel like you are right there with Fricis, following him through his misadventures. The author takes you to the Baltic sea with its savage beauty and politics. It tides just right for a short swim, will captivate you, but the icy waters will make you wary of what awaits. You will come out of this story a little dazed, but you will glad that you discovered this little gem. If you are a thriller fan, you will love this book. There is also a lot of history that will appeal to any historical fiction lover. While this story is quite short, it packs quite a punch. You can only hope that the author will turn it into a full-length novel and maintain the quality.

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