Book Review: “Shadows of Annihilation”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author S. M. Stirling (https://smstirling.com) published the novel “Shadows of Annihilation” in 2020. Mr. Stirling has published more than 60 novels. This is the third book in his ‘Alternate World War’ series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story continues the struggle between the Black Chamber and Germany.

The Black Chamber is a secret spy unit of the US Secret Service. It is 1917 and the World War has settled into a stalemate. The Germans have driven US troops from mainland Europe. Of course, this is an entirely different world than the one we have lived through.

Black Chamber agents Luz O’Malley and Ciara Whelan are on the job again. They travel to the US protectorate of Mexico. Their destination is in the remote highlands. They are to assist with the security of a secret facility under construction there. This is the first Annihilation Gas facility built by the United States. They must have it to hold the Germans in check.

Unexpectedly, German agent Horst von Duckler appears on the scene. Luz and Ciara have run up against him before and he has a grudge to settle with them. The pair encounter him and German sympathizers in one confrontation after another.

I enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 396-page alternate history novel. I have read many of Sterling’s novels. He is one of my favorite authors. This third installment in his Alternate World War series does not disappoint. While I have read both of the prior novels in the series (“Black Chamber” and “Theater of Spies“), you could read this one stand-alone. I do recommend that you read them in order. There is an element of LGBTQ in the story as Luz and Ciara are an intimate pair, but that plays a very minor role. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4.5 (Rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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