The War Between the Provinces is a series of novels by Harry Turtledove. It is a retelling of the American Civil War in a fantasy setting called the Kingdom of Detina. The series focuses on the Eastern theater of the "War Between the Provinces".

There are many analogues to real life historical figures as is much of the story based on real events of the historical Civil War. However, the character Alva is based on Thomas Edison, who was alive during the Civil War but did not take part in it.

The third novel of the Series.


A dark-haired people who come from the mother kingdom colonized a different continent, which already had blond-haired tribes living on it. Using iron-made weapons, unicorns and their chariots, the settlers were able to defeat the blond tribes and their bronze weapons and enslave them. Within the next few years, the Detinans, as the settlers called themselves, forced the blond serfs to learn their gods and almost destroyed the entire blond language and culture.

When King Buchan dies, his son and successor King Avram declared that he would emancipate all the blond serfs, causing the northern provinces, who relied on the manpower of the serfs and ruled by aristocrats, to declare the nephew of Buchan, Geoffrey, their King and try to secede. Avram and the 'southron' provinces, who were less aristocratic and did not like slavery, immediately declared war on the secessionist provinces.

At first. the North has its advantages with its better armies and sorcery but the south soon overwhelms them with its advantages of superior manpower, weapons, geography and of course, the one and the only Alva.

Some characters with historical counterparts[]

Literary Comment[]

The series has some similarities with the Darkness of Derlavai series. Both depict a fantasy analogue of an actual war (American Civil War/Second World War); in both, the actual leaders of respective Republics (United States of America/Soviet Union) have Monarchs as their analogues (Abraham Lincoln/King Avram; Joseph Stalin/King Swemmel of Unkerlant, respectively); in both, an actual discriminated or persecuted group has blond-haired analogues (Black slaves/blond serfs, Jews/Kaunians); and in both series, actual directions are reversed (Slave-holding North vs. Free South in The War Between the Provinces, while Darkness has a hot North and a cold South, a highly developed East and a developing West). However, War Between the Provinces cleaves rigorously to the analogy, having an analog for nearly every historical personality, place, and event; whereas Darkness mixes, matches, and borrows on several occasions.

The substitution of blonde people in the role of black people in the 19th century also appears in "None So Blind," an allegory of "darkest Africa".

Turtledove later wrote Fort Pillow a work of straight historical fiction whose POV characters include Nathan Bedford Forrest. This series includes Forrest's analog Ned of the Forest as a POV.