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Armistice: The Hot War Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 18, 2017
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“The story’s focus remains on ordinary characters and how they cope with their particular circumstances. . . . Readers who savor the patient accumulation of detail around each scenario will by now be thoroughly addicted.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The series is entertaining and explores life on the razor’s edge.”—SFRevu
PRAISE FOR HARRY TURTLEDOVE
“Turtledove is the standard-bearer for alternate history.”—USA Today
“No one writes alternate-history novels quite like Turtledove. . . . Expect epic political stakes as well as personal and heartfelt stories of war.”—BookTrib
“Turtledove’s thorough research and grounded imagination work to create a frighteningly realistic past where world leaders act out of desperation and fatalism and a large cast of common folk suffer the consequences. . . . The vicarious sense of eschatological dread is always powerful.”—Booklist
“All quite plausible . . . Turtledove’s focus on the characters serves to fill out the big picture with patient, nitty-gritty detail. . . . Armchair warriors will have much to ponder.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A you-are-there chronicle of battle on land and sea and in the air.”—Tor.com
About the Author
Harry Turtledove is the award-winning author of the alternate-history works The Man with the Iron Heart, The Guns of the South, and How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Hot War books (Bombs Away, Fallout, and Armistice); the War That Came Early novels: Hitler’s War, West and East, The Big Switch, Coup d’Etat, Two Fronts, and Last Orders; the Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the American Empire novels: Blood and Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and the Settling Accounts series: Return Engagement, Drive to the East, The Grapple, and In at the Death. Turtledove is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters—Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca—and two granddaughters, Cordelia Turtledove Katayanagi and Phoebe Quinn Turtledove Katayanagi.
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Before I get to that, let's revisit the overall idea of this series. It takes place in a world (insert voice over here), where MacArthur was allowed to use tactical nuclear weapons against advancing Chinese forces during the Korean War. Strangely, the Soviet Union doesn't just sit back and accept this, and they drop an atom bomb on one of our allies' cities. We retaliate, they retaliate, and the next thing you know, World War III is happening.
The premise isn't bad, and could easily sustain a novel, maybe two. Alas, this premise was stretched to three, and by the time we're done with it, it's more a sense of, "Well, I'm glad that's done," than anything else.
By the time book three rolls around, the war itself is pretty much over with. An H-bomb takes out Stalin early on, peace is soon negotiated, and we then get to collectively sit back and review the aftermath. This takes about 350 pages.
Now I'll admit that I'm glad there's a fairly solid conclusion here, unlike with the "War that Came Early" series, where the conclusion to the Japanese part of WWII is left up to ones' imagination. No, here you're left in no doubt as to what the conclusion is to the stories for pretty much every character. This is good with some of the characters. I wouldn't have liked to have wondered about the fate of those stuck in a Soviet gulag, or a man from Harbin now stuck in Poland. I'm glad that we get some closure with them.
But really, I can only take so many scenes of appliance delivery before I want to rip out what little hair I have.
Then there's the return of Turtledove's extremely repetitive writing style. In case you weren't aware, life in a small lumber town in California is different from life in Seattle. Also, being a white Russian (and a child of White Russians), in Harbin isn't easy, because of all the Chinese people there. But life is very different in the Soviet Union! Also, if you're an adult white man and you adopt an adult Korean man, people will think you're gay. Should you fail to be aware of these, and many other things, or should you forget them, worry not; you'll be reminded constantly. It isn't as bad as in the aforementioned "War that Came Early" series, where I felt like every other page was a reminder that dive bombers get lighter after they drop their loads, but it was still pretty bad.
Also, I have a really hard time believing that after months at war, with enemy bombers hitting several positions on the West Coast, that the United States is LESS prepared for a bombing run on the East Coast than we are in the real world. Yes, this is a complaint that mostly references the previous book, but it's representative of problems throughout the series, where people just don't behave in a believable fashion.
Turtledove has proven, yet again, that he's a genius when it comes to thinking up scenarios, and that he's somewhat less than adept at populating those scenarios with interesting characters. With "Guns of the South", Timline-191, and the Worldwar series, the scenarios were interesting enough to compensate for sometimes boring characters. But with the Supervolcano series, "The War that Came Early", and now this series, the shine is really wearing off.
It's a shame, and I really hope he starts to get some of his old magic back. Of course it would help terribly much if he would STOP writing about things that happened from roughly 1933 - 1953. But I have limited expectation of that occurring.
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It may be that Harry Turtledove is the master of alternative historical...Read more