Category Archives: Alternate History

Book Review – Three Miles Down

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Harry Turtledove https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Turtledove is the author of more than 100 novels. Three Miles Down was published in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as G.

The novel is set in the early 1970s. The primary character is Jerry Stieglitz, a marine biology graduate student at UCLA and part-time science fiction author. He is approached by the CIA to take part in a secret mission. A Soviet submarine had been lost and then discovered by the US. He is told that he will be part of a marine biology cover story for a ship attempting to recover the sub. He jumps at the chance for a well-paying summer stipend and the opportunity to gather research data.

He finds out that the real mission is the retrieval of what appears to be an alien spacecraft. A specially built ocean research ship travels to the North Pacific to find the spacecraft. The crew struggles to retrieve the vessel and find themselves faced with a first-contact situation.

Their ship is surveilled on and off by a Russian vessel, causing tensions to rise. Stieglitz is not always comfortable with the secrecy around the project or the longer-term goals of the CIA.

I enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this 279-page alternate history novel. I have been a fan of books by Mr. Turtledove for many years. Among his recent novels that I have read are The House of DanielBombs AwayFallout, and Through Darkest Europe. This story is a bit slow but very engaging. I hope to see a sequel in the near future. The chosen covert is very eye-catching. I give this novel a rating of 4.5 (rounded to 5) out of 5.

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

Book Review – The Albion Initiative

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – George Mann https://www.georgemann.net is the author of more than 30 novels. The Albion Initiative was published in 2022 and is the 6th and the final book in the Newbury & Hobbes series.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this book/novel as R. The series is set in a steampunk Elizabethan alternative universe.

Newbury & Hobbes, along with their fellow Secret Service agents, find themselves set upon by Queen Victoria’s men. They come to the realization that the Queen is no longer in her right mind. To save the Empire they must enact the ‘Albion Initiative’ to break Prince Edward out of Bedlam.

Their investigation reveals the depths of madness to which the Queen has fallen. Will they be able to put things right? Will the Empire survive?

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 244-page steampunk thriller. The novel can be read stand-alone, but it would be best to have read the prior works. I was fortunate to read book 5 of the series The Revenant Express in the summer of 2019. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review – The Barbarossa Secret

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Christopher Kerr https://christopher-kerr.co.uk is the author of three novels. The Barbarossa Secret was published in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is journalist Hans Schirach.

In 2020 Schirach is approached. He begins to learn the truth about what happened. The true Nazi legacy from WWII. The Third Reich may have fallen in May of 1945, but a new Reich was now in power. It is hidden behind the scenes, but wields far more power than Hitler.

There are secrets many do not want to be revealed. The revelation of these secrets could cause governments to fall. Efforts are made to keep the information contained. People die.

I enjoyed the 13.5+ hours I spent reading this 468-page thriller. The novel covers from 1932 up to 2020. It is a mix of historical fiction and alternative history. The fictional plot weaves around many historical facts, popular myths, and conspiracy theories. I like the eye-catching cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

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


If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 590 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII. 

Book Review: “The Linden Tree”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author S.D.M. Carpenter published the novel “The Linden Tree” in 2020.


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. The story is an alternative history of WWII. In this ‘universe’ the Japanese never attack Perl Harbor and the Nazis develop nuclear weapons first.


There are two primary characters in this novel. Luftwaffe General Peter von Zimmermann and British SOE agent Emelia Ramsour-Fritsch. Zimmermann is a decorated veteran from WWI. Now he is one of the top bomber pilots in the Luftwaffe. He is chosen to drop the first nuclear weapon on the UK.


Germany immediately threatens both the UK and the US with further nuclear attacks. The British publicly submit. Secretly they mount a search for the German weapons program. Ramsour-Fritsch travels to Switzerland taking on the role of a socialite. She makes her way to Berlin where she meets Zimmermann.


At first, she is just playing her role, but before long true romance develops. As the German ME-264 heavy bomber becomes operational, all of the UK and the East Coast of the US come within range. Can the Nazis be stopped before they dominate the world?


I thoroughly enjoyed the 12+ hours I spent reading this 355-page WWII Alternative History novel. The author was able to integrate many facts from WWII into the novel. The characters were believable and the plot interesting. The cover art is simple but I like it. 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).

If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 500 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

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).

Book Review: “Clemhorn: Nightfall”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Clemhorn: Nightfall” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Andrew J. Harvey (https://www.andrewjharvey.com). This is Mr. Harvey’s third publication.

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. The story is set on several Earth’s in different universes.

In this alternate history/universe story. There are established lines of transport between the various Earths. This story follows three siblings, Donald, Ivy, and Conrad, as their world comes under attack. The level of technology is more “Steam Punk” than modern.

I enjoyed the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 325-page science fiction novel.  The story deals with a very large family in leadership positions on one Earth. It did have a slow start. I was 32% of the way into the book before there was a real conflict. I liked the plot, but the book ended abruptly with many unresolved threads to the story. I will be looking for the follow up novel(s) that take the story to a conclusion. I do like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 3.9 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

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

Review of “Region 6: What if the Allies had lost?”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Region 6: What if the Allies had lost?” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Ian Krender. Mr. Krender has published two novels. 

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 Situations, and Mature Language. The story is set in an alternate history where Germany won WWII. 

The two primary characters are Thomas and Stephen. Thomas has grown up in Region 6, what we know as the UK. He is part of the working class and has experienced first hand the ruthlessness of the Nazi occupiers. Stephen has led a privileged life in Region 6 since her father is part of the Gestapo. He has followed in those footsteps and joined the Gestapo himself. 

Thomas has joined the resistance movement. Stephen is sent in as a spy to make friends with Thomas and find out more about what the resistance is planning. Stephen though is disillusioned by what he learns. That, and a growing relationship with Thomas persuades him to help the resistance. 

I found the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 272-page alternate history interesting. I generally like alternative history novels and almost anything dealing with WWII. When I selected this novel I did not realize there was a significant LGBTQ component to the story. I came close to just ditching the book with a Rule of 50 at the 66% mark. As far as the resistance thread to the plot goes, that seemed realistic, but the end of the novel was less believable. The cover art is reflective of the story. I give this novel a 3.8 (up to a 4) out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Pass of Fire”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Pass of Fire” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Taylor Anderson (http://taylorandersonauthor.com). This is the 14th book in his “Destroyer Men” series. See my interview with Taylor Anderson. 

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 and Mature Language. The story continues the saga of the Destroyer Men who have been transported to an alternate Earth from our WWII era of history. 

Several characters are featured in this volume of the series. The people from our Earth continue their war with the Grik, the Holy Dominion, and the League of Tripoli. The Grand Human and Lemurian Alliance faces what seems to the the final battle with the Grik. They also confront the Holy Dominion at one of their strongholds. As the Human/Lemurian forces appear to be succeeding against the Grik and Holy Dominion empires, the League of Tripoli lurks in the shadows threatening the future. 

I enjoyed the 16.5+ hours I spent reading this 477-page alternate history thriller. I have read three of the fourteen novels in this series and I have enjoyed every one. While you can read this novel stand alone, I would recommend reading these books in order. This edition of the series spreads the story across more characters than I recall in the prior two novels. The story is approaching a conclusion of one of the plot threads, but the series is far from over. I look forward to future novels in this series. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

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

Book Review: “Timekeeper”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Timekeeper” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Heather Albano (https://www.facebook.com/heatheralbanoauthorpage/). This is Ms. Albano’s second publication and the second in her “Keeping Time” 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. The story is set across time in Europe. The primary character is 17-year-old Elizabeth Barton. She, along with her love interest William Carrington and mysterious friend Maxwell, continue their fight to put the timeline back the way it should be.

They use their time travel pocketwatch to move to one critical moment in time after another. They are fighting a very dangerous battle to keep both the Frankenstein like monsters and the metal giants from ever being created. They must also find a way to keep Napolean from victory at Waterloo.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 280-page young adult steampunk thriller. This novel is just a continuation of “Timepiece” the first novel in the series. The characters are much the same as in that first novel. I have enjoyed the first two novels in the trilogy and look forward to the third. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Theater of Spies”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Theater of Spies” eBook was published in 2019 (May) and was written by S. M. Stirling (https://smstirling.com). Mr. Stirling has published more than 40 novels. This is the second novel in his “Alternate World War I” 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. The story is set in the US and Europe of World War I. This story is set in an alternate timeline where Teddy Roosevelt is again the US president and is leading the US aggressively in opposition to the Germans. The primary characters are longtime Black Chamber operative Luz O’Malley and her new genius partner and love interest Ciara Whelan.

O’Malley and Whelan are recovering and enjoying some ‘alone time’ at the home in California that O’Malley inherited from her family. That R&R is cut short when they are ordered to Europe to find out about a new weapon system that the German Imperial Navy is developing.

They must travel by airship to South America, then to Africa under a false identity. Then they make their way behind enemy lines into Berlin to discover the details of the German weapon. They encounter German agents along the way and struggle to survive to arrive at their destination.

O’Malley and Welan need to use their skills to penetrate a plant in Germany, then escape. Making things more challenging, the German agent known as Imperial Sword who the two had dealt with in the first novel of the series (“Black Chamber“) is on their trail and is desperate to have his revenge.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 14.5 hours I spent reading this 464-page alternate history thriller. I have read and been a fan of S. M. Stirling for several years. I have always liked his characters and detailed plots woven in most cases with an alternate timeline. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

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