One of my Christmas presents was the next in the alternate World War Two series, by Harry Turtledove in which the war starts early, The War That Came Early: West and East.
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.
Now we have the Early War period for Flames of War, there are 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 are plenty of French and British tanks too.
I have read the first couple of chapters of this book and I am really quite enjoying it. I think having read the Blitzkrieg Flames of War sourcebook I am more intrigued by this era and the story in the book.