Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $38.49

Buy for $38.49

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

War seethed across the planet. Machines soared through the air, churned through the seas, crawled across the surface, pushing ever forward, carrying death. Earth was engaged in titanic struggle. Germany, Russia, France, China, Japan: the maps were changing day by day. The hostilities spread in ever-widening ripples of destruction: Britain, Italy, Africa...the fate of the world hung in the balance. Then the real enemy came. Out of the dark of night, out of the soft glow of dawn, out of the clear blue sky came an invasion force the likes of which Earth had never known---and worldwar was truly joined.

The invaders were inhuman and they were unstoppable. Their technology was far beyond our reach, and their goal was simple: Fleetlord Atvar had arrived to claim Earth for the Empire. Never before had Earth's people been more divided. Never had the need for unity been greater. And grudgingly, inexpertly, humanity took up the challenge.

In this epic novel of alternate history, Harry Turtledove takes us around the globe. We roll with German panzers, watch the coast of Britain with the RAF, and welcome alien-liberators to the Warsaw ghetto. In tiny planes we skim the vast Russian steppe, and we push the envelope of technology in secret labs at the University of Chicago. Turtledove's saga covers all the Earth, and beyond, as mankind---in all its folly and glory---faces the ultimate threat; and a turning point in history shows us a past that never was and a future that could yet come to be.

©2009 Harry Turtledove (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

“Turtledove excels in alternate history, and this panoramic exploration of a world at war...showcases his fertile imagination. A feast for history buffs as well as sf fans.” ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about Worldwar: In the Balance

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    435
  • 4 Stars
    258
  • 3 Stars
    100
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    8
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    408
  • 4 Stars
    197
  • 3 Stars
    67
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    398
  • 4 Stars
    183
  • 3 Stars
    86
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    7

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • W
  • 03-29-10

Awesome

If you like long epics you'll like World War. This is a fun alternate universe where earth is invaded by 'lizards' a race of alien reptiles. Be warned, the author is a 'multiple POV switcher' so just when you get used to one character's viewpoint it switches. Often without notice.

I only wish audible would produce the next one in the series. There are four total:

Worldwar Tetralogy
In the Balance (1994)
Tilting the Balance (1995)
Upsetting the Balance (1996)
Striking the Balance (1996)

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Alternate 'V'...

I was first exposed to this when I friend of mine gave me the first book back in college. At the time, I wasn't a very big fan of 'alternate history' and actually didn't read the book till much later. After turning the first page, I became hooked in the genre. Admittedly, it reminded me of the show 'V' with lizards coming to Earth to conquer us, if not to eat us. The book does have a large cast of characters, some historical and some fictional, but Turtledove does a good job of balancing not only the people but the places that are jumped from all over the world.

Having just finished this, I can' wait for the second book in the tetralogy to be made. Todd McLaren does a good job with delivery as well as different accents for the large cast in the book.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting concept

What did you like best about Worldwar: In the Balance? What did you like least?

The author takes factual historical tidbits and tucks them into the story as guideposts so that his fiction never strays too far beyond the bounds of believability.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The alien invader's culture is interesting. The obligatory love story lines are distracting.

Which scene was your favorite?

The German's use of a railway gun to fight a highly advanced opponent.

Could you see Worldwar: In the Balance being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No. In the end it is simply a story of a more advanced species attacking a less advanced one and getting a bloody nose for their hubris.

Any additional comments?

The author uses graphic sex scenes to indulge his own fantasies. They are unnecessary and repetitive. It seems that all of the main characters end up having sex at least several times each throughout the book. That is, except for the faithful scientist.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Left hanging...

I enjoyed this in print many years ago and have enjoyed the recorded version. Looking forward to the rest of the series. You aren't going to leave me hanging? (part 1 of the "Worldwar" series released; part 1 of the next series "Colonization" released?)

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story spoiled by indifferent narration

I have the entire series on Kindle.
Mr.Turtledove writes brilliantly. His sweep of imagination and perspective is simply breathtaking.

I would have expected Audible to use a dramatization and full-cast for this entire series to make it sound like a movie. Audible did it with John Birmingham's alternate history, or the ones by Larry Corriea.

Sadly, the narrators of this story sound indifferent and robotic. They don't even know how to enunciate certain characters. Worst of all their accents are horrible.

If you overcome the painful rendition, you will enjoy the story.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Watch out for the Chapter switch overs!

Would you listen to Worldwar: In the Balance again? Why?

Yeah, it was a pretty good listen. There was so much going on (like in all of Turtledove's books) that on second or third listen's you'll pick up on stuff you missed (or didn't find important because it's foreshadowing).

Any additional comments?

For those not familiar with Turtledove and how he writes the stories will be told through the eyes of 10-20 different characters on all sides. In print edition the narrative changes every few pages and this is made clear by either the chapter ending or there being a much longer space than normal between paragraphs. In other audiobooks of Turtledoves (the southern victory series) there was a few second gap between switches in narratives, nothing too long but obviously much longer than the normal pause between reading paragraphs. That DOES NOT take place in this audiobook. If anything when there is a SHORTER than normal pause when narratives switch, making it sound like the previous sentence has been carried on without pause.

This was a tad confusing until I got used to it and I imagine it would have been even more confusing and hard to follow had I not been familiar with his form of writing.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Genuinely Authentic & Purely Brilliant. Wow!

The entire Worldwar series took me completely by surprise — and what a pleasant surprise it was indeed. Despite being very well-read and a big fan of sci-fi, thrillers (military in particular), and both historical fiction and non-fiction novels, I wasn't familiar with the author Harry Turtledove. But I'm a richer man for having listened to Worldwar: In the Balance (I purchased it on a whim bc the publisher's summary sounded interesting and other listeners gave it glowing reviews - thank you for the role you played in my introduction to this illustrious author!). The publisher's summary rings true, so no need to reiterate the book itself; however, I would like to add that both the story and writing are truly exceptional. The entire Worldwar series is a genuine timeless masterpiece. Highly recommended, obviously! PS. I was also new to Todd McLaren's work. His narration is superb.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable read/listen.

I found the book to be pretty engaging and a good story. I've had World War come up a few times in talks of Alternate History and Science Fiction and decided to finally check it out. I was not disappointed. the narration is clear and smooth and does a reasonable job of conveying a scene's emotion as well. all in all, would recommend.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Poor Production: hard to listen to.

a good story though horrible audio production. This book has a many POV changes per chapter. which is not bad in itself, however there is no pause between POV changes. it confuses the story progression and requires lots of rewinding to keep context in perspective. This would not be a problem if reading text but is not good for an audio book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very fun premise

This is a very creative story and I love the rich historical details behind it.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for joe
  • joe
  • 04-14-16

Disappointing

Great idea, Good start, lost it's power and ends up like a cheap soap about uninteresting Americans in love. Shame.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carlos
  • Carlos
  • 08-05-10

Amazing book

I love scifi and i am loving this book. I was looking for a good book after the finishing The Lost Fleet series, by Jack Campbell. It was a great book and I was afraid I couldn't find another good book. Fortunately I came across this book and im loving it. The story is amazing and the characters very convincing. It's a long story, so if you prefer short stories this is not for you. The reader is also very good. I passed some audiobooks who have some bad readers but you can listen to this guy for some hours and not get tired of the reading. Recommended!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for carlo
  • carlo
  • 11-14-13

Interesting!

Would you try another book written by Harry Turtledove or narrated by Todd McLaren?

Sadly no

Could you see Worldwar: In the Balance being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Yes a good idea

Any additional comments?

I'm a fan of the second world war so found this interesting, but very long winded.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andrew
  • Andrew
  • 06-06-11

Good Book, could have been great

Turtledove weaves and excellent yarn in this alternative history epic.

This book was a pretty good listen. It was my first venture into the alternative history genre and I was pleasantly surprised. The fact that the author knows his background helped and as a history fan myself I didn’t come across anything obvious that spolit the story.

I’ve listened to all four of this series now and it gets pretty compulsive at times. I could tell my wife was getting annoyed as I just couldn’t switch it off. Especially at the really exciting bits! I was also very tired for work one day after staying up late listening.

The only downside was the narrator. Yes he’s got a nice voice and when he’s doing an American or doing a stereotypical German or Russian this was fine (although maybe a German or Russian would disagree). The trouble was when he was doing an accent that was outside his comfort zone he got very very annoying. He has absolutely no comprehension of what British people sound like. His Yorkshire man sounded like a cockney with some sort of affliction and when we are introduced to a character from Cornwall, for some reason, he decided to do an impression of Paul McCartney. Annoying in short bursts but after a long stretch it was just offensive. Thankfully the book jumps around quite a lot so it was just about bearable.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr A J Dawson
  • Mr A J Dawson
  • 08-24-20

Just a fun book.

The concept is great and I enjoyed it throughout. Todd McLaren does a great job of distinguishing the many different characters with his accents, even the aliens, but oh god those British accents are dire, one sounds like an Australian doing a bad impersonation of a cockney, but don't let this put you off, it was a great book. The writing is good, though the sex scenes feel a little bit gratuitous and at odds with the general tone of the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dom
  • Dom
  • 08-12-20

Great read

Turtledove is a brilliant listen. Twisted history and strong characters that you really invest in.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for allan spencer
  • allan spencer
  • 08-10-20

great story well read

I have read this in print, just as good on audable. had to listen to it lots of thing i missed when i read it before came to light when i listened to it. ready for the next book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James Abernethy
  • James Abernethy
  • 05-12-20

Great start to the series

I listened to this one before I got audible, but got it again anyway so I have the whole series. Great story that establish, not just the alien threat for the humans, but the aliens themselves. You are really able to get inside their heads which is only expanded later in the series. I posted the same comment on one of the other books, I think the narrator does an amazing job capturing the voices of the characters because he has a lot of work to do. I have heard criticisms about his English accents, but if you've ever seen news footage of people talking during that period, or just after, it's not that strange. It's not perfect, but he still does an amazing job. Another small criticism that I can agree with, but feels this was more direction and editing than performance. When jumping to a new character there is no pause to denote change in scene. You are quickly made aware of who you are speaking about, it just takes a moment longer to figure out if these two characters or groups of characters have crossed path and it's still the same scene. Out of all the books a read when I was younger, when you take this series of 4 as whole. This the favourite thing I have experienced and regret not getting these as physical books when I did have time to read them. I came so close to doing that but never did. Loving them on Audible though.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Barry
  • Barry
  • 02-12-20

Creepy Sex Scenes

I only got a third of the way through this book. I can’t explain why but there’s just something about the sex scenes in this book that are really creepy. Like a woman was running out of danger and fell into water and the author describes how her clothes clung to her body and how her nipples were showing - while she ran from aliens. What made me stop reading was the whole sex slavery bit. This is just a creepy book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Vern
  • Vern
  • 01-19-20

Excellent telling

really enjoying this, great work, good voices and narration. loved the books and very pleased with this , it brings the story to life