The conclusion of an alternate World War II in North America between the United States and the Nazi-like Confederate States, and supposedly the end of the entire Timeline-191 alternate history sequence. At the start of this book, the CSA has already suffered numerous defeats and US forces are driving towards Atlanta. Atomic bombs, or "superbombs" have already been used in Europe and both sides in America have their own programs to build the bombs and gain a decisive advantage.
The book tells a decent story, but dosn't offer much in the way of surprises. The standard flaws of repetition; long, irrelevant conversations; and some uninteresting characters who do nothing to advance the overall story are still present. The end result of the war has not been in much doubt since the end of Drive to the East, and nothing here changes that. The war finally ends a little over halfway through the book, and starts to drag on with a very extended conclusion of Nuremberg-style trials and the return of the various characters to peacetime life. What was disappointing for what is supposed to the the end of the entire Timeline-191 sequence is that it offers no clues of what the future might hold in a world that is now substantially different from our own post-WWII world. There is no mention of what will happen to the defeated Mormons in Utah, and no hint of how the US will sustain its massive occupations of the rest of North America. The book ends with a much more brutal and dangerous world than our own with the possibility of telling interesting stories that don't just copy from our own history, but that does not seem to be the direction Turtledove wants to take. The whole series does offer some interesting ideas on how the United States' long run of prosperity and freedom owes as much to luck as to anything else, but it does not take enough advantage of its interesting setting to make a truly interesting story.
Harry Turtledove has been at the science fiction game for quite a while, having published his first novel in 1979. He's a Hugo winner and multiple award nominee. I first read him in '88, and wasn't too keen on his short stories, which was unfortunate, as I arrived late to the party and have had a lot of catching up to do. When Harry took up his 'alternative history' pen, he found his stride. As has been acknowledged on the covers of many of his books, he quickly … more
Alternate history master Turtledove brings his 10-book saga of a Confederate Civil War victory to a satisfying if predictable conclusion. Outfought by the United States and their German allies (as anticipated in 2006's Settling Accounts: The Grapple), the Confederates finally surrender, ending WWII. Now the Southern states must be brought back into the Union after four wars and 80 years of independence. The victorious Northern forces wage a brutal occupation, ruthlessly retaliating against the local population for ambushes and car bombs. While the Union joyously punishes the persecutors of those Negro residents of the Confederacy who survived the Freedom Party's genocide campaign, it fails to remedy its treatment of its own black citizens. With Canada and the secessionist Mormon territories remaining under martial law, some readers may wish that Turtledove follows this time line into uncharted territory in yet another sequel. From PW.