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Opening Atlantis

1 rating: 1.0
A book by Harry Turtledove

Even in his lesser efforts, like this start of a trilogy about the Lost Continent of Atlantis, Turtledove is still the master of alternative history. Helped by the cool understatement of Todd McLaren, who makes all the "What ifs?" of the genre fresh … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Harry Turtledove
Publisher: Roc Hardcover
1 review about Opening Atlantis

Not bad, but not up to the usual standard

  • Dec 20, 2007
Rating:
+1
Harry Turtledove has gone out to milk the alternate history cash cow once again. I can hardly blame him. It makes him money and, to a great extent, he's the best in the business at it. Which is why I was somewhat let down by this book.

I went into this story with high expectations. An 8th contenient in the middle of the Atlantic? Full of exotic beasts? The Brits are the first to colonize it? This could get interesting!

What we get instead is an extension of the War of the Roses, a re-tread of every pirate story ever written, and the French and Indian War taking place on Atlantis. None of this is really bad, per se, but it wasn't what I'd hoped for.

Also of note is the fact that for an alternate history, there's not a lot of alternate. One would think the presence of this land would change the weather patterns somewhat, but apparently not. Also, though the point of departure is in 1451, European history seems to flow pretty normally. We still have a Charles on the throne of England in the 1600's, and someone who is obviously George III on the throne during the 1700's. One would think things in Europe would get butterflied a bit more than that.

Plus it's quite clear that Atlantis is being set up as an analogue of America. I'm sure that in the sequel we'll see some sort of revolution against England, and probably a civil war over slavery.

Surprisingly, the book also doesn't include a map, which would have been very useful. I know roughly where Freetown, Hanover (Stuart), and some of the other towns are in relation to each other. Perhaps in the sequel we'll get one.

Still and all, this was a good read, but not a great one. It does do a sufficent job of setting up the next book or two in the series, and I do look forward to reading those. But I can't help but think there could have been something more here.

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