The War That Came Early: West and East

Coming soon from Harry Turtledove is the next in the alternate World War Two series in which the war starts early. The War That Came Early: West and East will be released at the end of July.

westandeast

In 1938, two men held history in their hands. One was Adolf Hitler. The other was British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, who, determined to avoid war at any cost, came to be known as “the great appeaser.” But Harry Turtledove, the unrivaled master of alternate history, has launched a gripping saga that springboards from a different fateful act: What if Chamberlain had stood up to Hitler? What would the Nazis’ next move have been? And how would the war—which Hitler had always regretted waiting eleven months to start—have unfolded and changed our world?

Here, Turtledove takes us across a panorama of conflict fueled by ideology and demagoguery. Nations are pitted against nations, alliances are forged between old enemies, ordinary men and women are hurled into extraordinary life-and-death situations. In Japanese-controlled Singapore, an American marine falls in love with a Russian dance hall hostess, while around him are heard the first explosions of Chinese guerilla resistance. On the frontlines of war-ravaged rural France, a weary soldier perfects the art of using an enormous anti-tank gun as a sniper’s tool—while from Germany a killer is sent to hunt him down. And in the icy North Atlantic, a U-boat bearing an experimental device wreaks havoc on British shipping, setting the stage for a Nazi ground invasion of Denmark.

From an American woman trapped in Germany who receives safe passage from Hitler himself to a Jewish family steeped in German culture and facing the hatred rising around them, from Japanese soldiers on the remote edge of Siberia to American volunteers in Spain, West and East is the story of a world held hostage by tyrants—Stalin, Hitler, Sanjuro—each holding on to power through lies and terror even in the face of treacherous plots from within.

As armies clash, and as the brave, foolish, and true believers choose sides, new weapons are added to already deadly arsenals and new strategies are plotted to break a growing stalemate. But one question looms over the conflict from West to East: What will it take to bring America into this war?

I did buy and read the first book in this new alternate history series, Hitler’s War. Though I liked the premise, the book was well written; I did not enjoy it as much as other Turtledove novels. I think the main reasons was that there was no satisfying ending, always an issue with a series of books, and a usual trait of Turtledove a wealth of characters that can at times get confusing. Having said all that I will be pre-ordering The War That Came Early: West and East.

With the August release of the Early War period for Flames of War, there will be plenty of miniatures that could be used to recreate battles from both books. You could quite easily create a 1938 era Czechoslovakian army to fight an Early War German force. Likewise there will be plenty of French and British tanks too.

Weaver

Saw this in a bookshop recently and am considering buying it.

weaver

Weaver is a novel around World War Two in which the Germans successfully invade England.

The Weaver of Time’s Tapestry has finally succeeded in twisting the threads of history into a new shape; the Luftwaffe have pushed the RAF to the brink, and the invasion barges have reached the beaches of Sussex and Kent. Britain wakes up to the nightmare of the Wermacht unleashed in Southern England. As the desperate battle to hold up the invasion rages it is left to a few individuals caught up in the panic and chaos to piece together what has really happened – is this the culmination of a plan that has taken centuries to play out, a plot from the future to change the past forever? Stephen Baxter’s historical thriller series crashes into the 20th century with a terrifying vision of mechanised war and political atrocity unleashed on English soil. This is the climax of one of the most thoughtful and involving series of novels that have brought history alive like no other.

My only reservation was that this is the fourth book in a series of books, the first of which deal with Romans and William the Conqueror.

Do I need to read the first three books to make sense of the fourth, or can I enjoy the fourth without needing to buy and read the first three books?

Resurrection Day

My book choice this week is Brendan DuBois’ Resurrection Day.

Resurrection Day

One of my favourite alternate history novels, which is a mystery story set in a world in which the Cuban missile crisis turned nuclear.

Brendan DuBois is an award-winning U.S. author of mystery stories: this alternate-world thriller is very much in the tradition of Robert Harris’s Fatherland. Consider this striking blurb line: “Everyone remembered exactly what they were doing the day President Kennedy tried to kill them.” History went awry in this world’s Cuba crisis, leading to a 1962 nuclear war that devastated Russia, crippled America, and left Britain a major world power smugly giving aid to the USA. Cut to 1972 Boston and ex-soldier Carl Landry, now a newspaper reporter whose coverage of a routine murder is suppressed by military censors. He’s unwisely curious, investigates further, and inevitably stirs up a hornets’ nest. Attacks, deaths, and disappearances follow. With a new-found girlfriend–an English Times reporter who is not all she seems–Landry uncovers a succession of red-hot secrets about abandoned New York, perfidious British and military plotting, and crucial documents coveted by several factions with different beliefs about their contents. Is Kennedy unjustly despised for starting World War III? Is the rumor that he’s still alive just this timeline’s version of the Elvis myth? After building up terrific tension, DuBois delivers satisfying answers. Grimly plausible (apart from a few lapses in “British” dialogue) and worthy of the Fatherland comparisons.

I have read the book a few times now and enjoy it all the time, well worth reading.

Buy it from Amazon.co.uk.

Settling Accounts: In at the Death

My book choice this week is Harry Turtledove’s Settling Accounts: In at the Death.

Settling Accounts

This is the final chapter in the long running alternate history series on a divided United States which started with How Few Remain and went through the Great War, a political inter-war period before finishing off with a four part 1940s era series.

This the final book covers the end of the war (and as the cover gives away) the use of nuclear weapons.

It’s been quite a long haul and I am sure I will go back through the series again at some time (as I did with the WorldWar series).

I am only half way through the current book and so far I have really enjoyed it, though typically Turtledove there are a lot of (similar) characters and I have got lost sometimes. Also so far there has been no mention of Canada, which is a pity as I enjoyed that aspect of previous books.

Recommended.

Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Final Impact

Hey a German World War Two Attack Helicopter….

This is the cover from the next (and final) John Birmingham Axis of Time Trilogy set of novels.

A story which looks at what would happen if a future carrier group found themselves back in the middle of World War Two.

I enjoyed the first two novels so I think I will get this one, however it is not released until January 30th 2007.

Buy it from Amazon.

The Leader by Guy Walters

I always liked the film version of Richard III set in an alternative 1930s England. So when I saw this book I was intrigued by the storyline which is set in an alternate 1937.

The Leader by Guy Walters has Edward VIII deciding not to abdicate which results in a constitutional crisis and after much political machinations, Oswald Mosley manages to grasp power and once there he institutes a wide range of despicable policies from internment of the Jewish population to the formation of a Gestapo-like HMSSP (His Majesties State Secret Police). Soon Britain moves from a democracy to a fascist dictatorship.

Stopping him is a Great War hero who has to avoid capture and meanwhile plan a coup to bring back democracy.

Also within all this is a plot by the USSR to put in a puppet Communist government.

It’s not a bad story, but there is a lack off characterisation, some characters just appear and the die. Some historical flaws also make the whole thing lacking.

It’s not a bad read and if you like alternate history then you may enjoy this.

Homeward Bound released 28th December 2004

Homeward Bound released 28th December 2004

Homeward Bound is going to be published on 28th December 2004, it is a sequel to the WorldWar in the Balance and Colonisation series.

Review from Amazon:

Alternate-history maestro Turtledove’s conclusion to his Worldwar and Colonization sagas, about how lizard-like aliens known as the Race invaded Earth during WWII and were fought to a stalemate by the major Allied and Axis combatants, lacks the vividly described battle scenes of its predecessors, but more than compensates by closely examining the Race’s culture and society.

While the Race have colonized much of Earth, they’re amazed by the human ability to adapt to change. (The aliens’ probe some 600 years earlier led them to expect they’d be facing armored knights.) When an American starship makes the trip to Home, the Race’s planet of origin, the lizards fear the loss of their technological dominance and decide to annihilate Earth, their colony included—until another Earth spaceship arrives, this one with the faster-than-light drive the Race never developed.

The question of how much common ground exists between the lizards and humans wouldn’t have been out of place in old issues of Astounding. The author dramatizes the old “nature versus nurture” argument through the moving stories of a human woman raised from birth by the lizards and of two aliens raised as humans. Fans will be pleased that room remains for a sequel.

I really enjoyed the WorldWar series and combined with Guns of the South made me a real Turtledove fan.

You can pre-order the book now on amazon.co.uk.

The Plot Against America

I was in Waterstones (a local bookstore) when I noticed in their main area this new novel, which was an alternative history novel.

Usually Waterstones lumps all the alternative history novels with the Sci-Fi and Fantasy books, but this was at the front of the store alongside all the Dan Browns and Jamie Olivers…

“What if” scenarios are often suspect. They are sometimes thinly veiled tales of the gospel according to the author, taking on the claustrophobic air of a personal fantasia that can’t be shared. Such is not the case with Philip Roth’s tour de force, The Plot Against America. It is a credible, fully-realized picture of what could happen anywhere, at any time, if the right people and circumstances come together.

The Plot Against America explores a wholly imagined thesis and sees it through to the end: Charles A. Lindbergh defeats FDR for the Presidency in 1940. Lindbergh, the “Lone Eagle,” captured the country’s imagination by his solo Atlantic crossing in 1927 in the monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis, then had the country’s sympathy upon the kidnapping and murder of his young son. He was a true American hero: brave, modest, handsome, a patriot. According to some reliable sources, he was also a rabid isolationist, Nazi sympathizer, and a crypto-fascist. It is these latter attributes of Lindbergh that inform the novel.

The story is framed in Roth’s own family history: the family flat in Weequahic, the neighbors, his parents, Bess and Herman, his brother, Sandy and seven-year-old Philip. Jewishness is always the scrim through which Roth examines American contemporary culture. His detractors say that he sees persecution everywhere, that he is vigilant in “Keeping faith with the certainty of Jewish travail”; his less severe critics might cavil about his portrayal of Jewish mothers and his sexual obsession, but generally give him good marks, and his fans read every word he writes and heap honors upon him. This novel will engage and satisfy every camp.

“Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear. Of course, no childhood is without its terrors, yet I wonder if I would have been a less frightened boy if Lindbergh hadn’t been president or if I hadn’t been the offspring of Jews.” This is the opening paragraph of the book, which sets the stage and tone for all that follows. Fear is palpable throughout; fear of things both real and imagined. A central event of the novel is the relocation effort made through the Office of American Absorption, a government program whereby Jews would be placed, family by family, across the nation, thereby breaking up their neighborhoods–ghettos–and removing them from each other and from any kind of ethnic solidarity. The impact this edict has on Philip and all around him is horrific and life-changing. Throughout the novel, Roth interweaves historical names such as Walter Winchell, who tries to run against Lindbergh. The twist at the end is more than surprising–it is positively ingenious.

You can get the book from Amazon.co.uk.

It sounds and looks really interesting, it has been added to my Christmas list.

1901

Finished.

I certainly enjoyed Robert Conroy’s novel of a German invasion of the USA in 1901.

Not knowing a lot about the time period I couldn’t tell you whether it was historically accurate and whether the tactics in the book were the sort of tactics used at the time.

There was (as is the case with a lot of American authors) a slight anti-British feel to the book, but I am starting to expect that and it was subtle unlike say a Tom Clancy novel (though I sometimes feel that he actually thinks he is pro-British when he writes).

It certainly lacks the charm of a Turtledove alternative history novel and some of the characterisation and dialogue seems very late 20th century (rather than every early 20th); it certainly is worth a look if you have an interest in alternative history.

You can order it from amazon.co.uk.

Germans Invade USA (in 1901)

I started reading Robert Conroy’s interesting alternative history novel…

After showing you the screenshot from Star Trek Enterprise with the Germans in charge of the Whitehouse in World War Two, today I can recommend reading Robert Conroy’s interesting alternative history novel, 1901.

In 1901, as the imperial German navy invades the United States in order to force America to surrender its newly acquired territories, President McKinley suffers a fatal heart attack and Theodore Roosevelt, the new commander in chief, rallies the disorganized American forces to defend their homeland.

Though I have only read around a hundred pages it is quite a good read.

It certainly lacks the charm of a Turtledove alternative history novel and some of the characterisation and dialogue seems very late 20th century (rather than every early 20th); it certainly is worth a look if you have an interest in alternative history

You can order it from amazon.co.uk.