Ten years have passed since Admiral Kolhammer's 21st-century battlefleet was dragged into a wormhole and thrown across oceans of time, emerging with disastrous consequences and shattering the history of the Second World War.
Hitler and the Nazis have fallen, but Stalin rules half of Europe and Asia. The great Soviet engines of state power turn and burn to 'set history right'. Not just of the war, but of all future time.
In Rome with his lover, Julia Duffy, an older, mellower Prince Harry is drawn into Stalin's plans when a simple game of spies goes horribly wrong. Underneath the eternal city, former Spetsnaz officer Pavel Ivanov fights a running battle with the NKVD's executioner in chief as Stalin's minions fight to preserve the secret of a weapon that could destroy the West with one fearsome blow.
Moving from Rome to Paris to Cairo, Harry and the uptimers must fight a shadow war against the communist superstate and the suspicion and prejudices of their forebears. They can save the world, but the world does not want saving by the likes of them.
"A weapons-grade military techno-thriller.... It's like a Clive Cussler novel fell into a transporter beam with a Stephen Ambrose history, and they came out all fused together." (Time magazine, on the original Axis of Time series)
©2016 John Birmingham (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
"Birmingham sets new standards in alternate history, time travel, and sheer dancing-on-the-edge-of-the lava gonzo inventiveness. Solid and wild at the same time." (S. M. Stirling, author of Dies the Fire)
I loved being back in this world, and was fascinated to learn more about the divergences and strategic differences from the history of the 21st Century folk. We get to see some of how they have adjusted to being in their new time, but I would have liked even more getting more of that. The viewpoints we mostly get here, probably from the structure of the novellas, focuses the story really thought.
I would have loved to get more of the strategic viewpoints--vantage points that would have given more of a view of the sweep of the new, developing history. I do believe that that wasn't *super* common in the preceding series, either, but I have the impression that it was more prevalent. My favorite characters and viewpoints from the other series were Admiral Kohlhammer and Lonesome Jones--probably in part, because they had the more strategic views of things, and, in Kohlhammer's case in particular, we got to see the efforts, strategies, and worldview of the uptimers as they sought to shape their new time into their mold and with the advantage of their parallel-history hindsight.
That said, I'm definitely in for the next chapters in this history.
While this book is slow to start unlike his previous two books in the axis of time series. It's still a worthwhile listen. While I didn't love it, and I'll admit, bored until the last 2 1/2 hours of the novel it a good setup for another installment.
Lets just hope it's not going to take forever to write like this one. I'd almost forgotten the series was left unfinished.
JB has dialled the pace up to 11 on this one as HRH Harry 'Wales' and friends take some cues from 007 and kick some alternative-history commie butt.
Dropping the breakneck context shifting of the first trilogy for a smaller ensemble cast, Rome and Cairo are all action splodey splodey with most of the 1950's racism commentary, historical juxtaposition and political machinations of the first trilogy taking a back seat here.
Paris does manage to squeeze in a little more politics which helps address some of the need to catch up with a broader range of uptime friends.
The many links to the previous books do get some background but I suspect readers new to the series are better starting at the start.
All in all an enjoyable romp, but the shorter style does leave you wanting for more from this world.
I hated it when the original trilogy came to an end. It felt like there was so much more to come, but we'd missed out. Well here it is :-)
Can't wait for the next full book.
All and all a good audio book to pass a long day. I do think they could have weaved the three novellas together in a more cohesive fashion. But o does this scratch my alt history military/sci-fi spot. Please sir can I have more?
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