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The Thousand Years' War between Vovim and Yclau does not correspond chronologically with any war in our world, but this particular alternate-universe story is set (except for its epilogue) in the equivalent of 1874, close to the time of the USA's Civil War. The town that the narrator escapes from corresponds to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, which was raided and burnt by southern forces during the Civil War. Chambersburg's "Old Jail," built in 1818, survived the 1864 burning. The jail (now a museum) has underground cells that are dubbed "the dungeon."

The railroad from Chambersburg, the train bridge over the Potomac River, the roads that the narrator travels, and Harpers Ferry (of course) all correspond to places in our world in the 1870s. East Vovim takes the place of Pennsylvania, southern Vovim of West Virginia, and Yclau of Virginia.

In the 1870s, the Appalachian Trail had not yet been blazed; nor had Skyline Drive yet been built atop Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. However, the mountain gap roads I mention did exist at that time, and Snickers Gap did have a tollgate that looked like I've described it.

The small town of Luray, Virginia, is home to a famous cave inside a hill.