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.
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.
(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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
(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.
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 1889 Paris, though in an alternate history – a timeline that includes magic. The primary character is treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie.
The powerful Order of Babel forces Alarie to help them on a mission. He recruits some well-known associates to help. There is the engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a near brother. They, along with Hypnos, the young heir of House Nyx, must confront other houses of magic, avoid the efforts of a fallen house, and protect the Babel Fragment held in Europe.
I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 400-page alternate history fantasy. I think better cover art could have been chosen. I liked the plot and the different approach to magic in the alternate universe. The principal characters are an interesting assortment. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.
Book Reviews – “The Iron Codex” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by David Mack (http://davidmack.pro). Mr. Mack has published nearly 40 novels. This is the second novel in his “Dark Arts” 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 and Mature Language. The story is set the contemporary time frame, but in a slightly alternate world, one with magic. The primary character is Russian Anja Kernova who has been hunting former Nazis in South America.
There are three other principal characters: The American Cade Martin who works for British MI6, but who is now under suspicion because he has been disappearing; The German Briet Segfrunsdóttir who now serves as the master magician of the Pentagon’s top-secret magickal warfare program; and the Spanish Father Luis Roderigo Pérez of the Monte Paterno Monastery who has been studying White Magic for the Catholic Church.
World War II has been over nearly a decade. Kernova is using her abilities to hunt Nazis. She comes into possession of the Iron Codex that contains many magical secrets. That causes her to be the target of pursuit by agents of the Vatican, Russia, and others. Complicating the situation is the effort by a cabal led by Dragan Dalca to open the way for demons.
Kernova calls on Martin for help. Both Segfrunsdottir and Pérez are drawn into the fray on the side of Kernova. There are many competing groups all wanting to control the Iron Codex for different agendas.
I enjoyed the 12 hours I spent reading this 375-page alternate history fantasy. I found this novel a little hard to read without having read the first novel in the series, but it wasn’t too bad. I thought that the plot was interesting, mixing magic and spies. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
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 Situations. The story is set in Europe, but not the Europe that we know. In this alternate history, Europe has fallen into a very dark age.
In this world, Saint Thomas Aquinas back in the 13th century had written the Summa Theologica, a book which concluded that studying science corrupted religion because it reduced man’s faith in God’s omnipotence and omniscience. The intellectual pursuits of Christiandom have languished since that time. Nearly a century and a half earlier, the Muslim philosopher al-Ghazali had looked into the same issue but had come up with an entirely different opinion. To him, the more that man learned, the better he can glorify God. This resulted in the Muslim world advancing in science and technology, while Europe fell farther and farther behind.
Now investigators Khalid al-Zarzisi and Dawud ibn Musa have been sent from Tunisia to Rome. Their mission is to do what they can to protect the Pope and the Grand Duke of Italy. The Maghrib, from whence al-Zarzisi and Musa come, does not want the Roman Grand Dutchy destabilized. There is a powerful underground Christian movement in Europe, The Aquinists. The Aquinists have ‘seminaries’ all over Europe for ‘educating’ the young men to strike out against the local governments as well as Muslim interests. Their goal is to turn the world back. To make the world over in their view of how people should live.
As foreigners, al-Zarzisi and Musa have no authority, they can only advise. They work closely with Italian police and find themselves more than once in the way of the Christian terrorists. Al-Zarzisi unexpectedly finds himself attracted to a Christian woman, Annarita Pezzola. As they continue their work, it becomes obvious that there is someone close to them that is working with the Aquinists. Is it Pezzola or someone within the Italian Ministry of Information.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5+ hours I spent reading this 320-page alternate history. The world this novel is set in is a complete reversal of what we see. The Muslim nations are democratic and lead the world in education and scientific discovery. Europe has changed little in decades. The Europeans suffer from much unrest and poverty among the common people. The Aquinists take advantage of this and recruit young men and women as soldiers who are willing to die for their cause and achieve heaven. The story starts a little abruptly and is a little slow. I like the characters of al-Zarzisi and Musa. The fact that al-Zarzisi is Muslim and Musa a Jew puts another spin on things. I also like the whole ‘world-flipped-upside-down’ premise for the novel. I think that the cover art is well chosen. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.