The Lost Regiment
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The Lost Regiment is a series of science fiction novels written by William R. Forstchen.
The plot revolves around a Union Army regiment and a artillery battery from the American Civil War which gets transported to an alien world. The 35th Maine Infantry regiment and the 44th New York Light Artillery battery are being transported by ship from Virginia late in the war when they encounter a mysterious electrical storm and end up on a distant planet. The region they are in is populated by descendants of medieval Russians who still live a feudal existence at a medieval level of technology. They learn from their new hosts that there are various civilizations on this world made up of the descendants of people from various eras of Earth history.
The Union soldiers eventually discover a terrible secret that their Rus hosts have been keeping from them when the Tugar arrive. The Tugar are ten foot tall aliens with a culture and technology similar to that of the Mongol Horde. They ride a never-ending circuit around the planet. They have subjugated the human populations in their territory and use them as food. The Tugar visit each human society once a generation and cull part of the population for food. This culling keeps the humans docile and compliant and the Tugar make sure that none of the human societies become advanced enough to challenge them. The Union men are horrified by this revelation and kill the Tugar advance scouts. They then support a peasant rebellion against the Tugar-appointed lords and begin modernizing the Rus society. When the Tugar arrive they encounter a modern army equipped with cannon and rifled muskets. In a hard-fought battle the humans manage to prevail, weakening the Tugar Horde forever.
The next several books take up the story a few years later. The Rus have begun to explore union with the Romans who live in the territory next to theirs and who were spared from the Tugar depredation by the Rus victory. Meanwhile they face a renewed threat from the Merki Horde, members of the same alien race as the Tugars. The Merki make the same circumnavigation of the globe as the Tugars do, but in a zone further south. The Merki seek revenge on the Rus. While they have no love for the Tugars, they have an interest in maintaining their racial dominance over the humans. The Merki are aided by a group of Union sailors who fled the Tugar war on the ship which brought the 35th Maine and 44th New York to this world. In exchange for their survival, the humans help the Merki develop firearms and other technology. The Merki attack is more successful than the Tugar one and forces the humans to abandon the Rus territory in a scorched earth campaign, but eventually they win.
Several years later the expanding human alliance faces a new threat in the form of the Bantag. The Bantag are a horde from even further south. They are led by a member of their race who arrived from another world which has a late 20th-century level of technology. This alien, a soldier on his own world, assumes a messianic role among the Bantag and modernizes their society to equal, and even surpass that of the humans. He is familiar with atomic reactors as well as centerfire rifles. The Bantag scavenge engines from decaying cities abandoned by their people millennia ago and use them to power airplanes. The reader learns that the people of the Bantag had once been a technologically advanced starfaring race, visiting many different planets and seeding teleportation devices across them. The civilization on their homeworld collapsed in nuclear war but the teleportation devices remained sporadically active and ended up transporting various humans to the planet Vallenia (the location of the novel), though Vallenia was not the homeworld of the Tugar/Merki/Bantag race. Using their advanced technology the Bantag attack the Union. However the humans develop their own flying machines and counterattack.
The final book in the series, Down to the Sea, takes place a generation after the arrival of the 35th Maine. With the children of the original regiment members reaching adulthood they face a new threat from across the southern sea, the Kazars, aliens who have an early 20th-century level of technology and who also have a selectively bred slave race of human assassins, the Shiv.
- Rally Cry (1990)
- Union Forever (1991)
- Terrible Swift Sword (1992)
- Fateful Lightning (1992)
- Battle Hymn (1997)
- Never Sound Retreat (1998)
- A Band of Brothers (1999)
- Men of War (1999)
- Down to the Sea (2000)
The 35th Regiment, Maine Volunteer Infantry is a fictional volunteer regiment (Maine really raised 32 Infantry regiments) during the American Civil War in William Forstchen's The Lost Regiment series. (The regiment is based on Joshua Chamberlain's 20th Maine Infantry.)
Before the series Andrew Lawrence Keane is a lieutenant who assumed command when a superior officer was KIA at Antietam. Keane's leadership under the guide of his sergeant, Hans Schuder, made them ripe for promotion as they progressed through Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor and Gettysburg.
At the start of the series, Keane has been promoted to colonel after losing his arm at Gettysburg. Hans Schuder was recently promoted to sergeant major. On the world of Valennia, the 35th becomes essentially a vassal force to Boyar Ivor of the "Rus" people, who appear to be derived from early Russian peoples earlier transported to Valennia. When Ivor is overthrown it becomes the core of the anti-Tugar resistance, with Keane filling as a military dictator. As time goes on, the men of the 35th are rapidly promoted to fill the officer corps of the Rus Army and train the Rus forces. When all hope seemed lost when the Rus broke ranks in the Tugar War, the 35th reformed and made a desperate last defense.
After the Tugar War, the 35th becomes the most respected regiment, on which the Army of Rus is centered. Analogous to the United States Military Academy at West Point, the 35th is the best that Rus has to offer and provides a place to train new officers for the Army of the Republic. Even some men from the original 35th remain in the regiment, when they could otherwise be high-ranking officers.
Men from the original 35th include (in progress):
- Andrew Keane (Colonel)
- Hans Schuder (Sergeant Major)
- Barry (Sergeant)
- Tim Kindred
- Hank Petracci
- Chuck Ferguson
- Vincent Hawthorne
- Jim Hinsen
- John Mina
- Emil Weiss (regimental surgeon)