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Designated Targets (The Axis of Time Trilogy, Book 2) Paperback – October 25, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Axis of Time Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Birmingham's worthy sequel to Weapons of Choice (2004), the world of the 1940s continues to struggle with the ramifications of the Transition: the intrusion into the middle of WWII by a 21st-century naval task force fighting the global war on terror. While the lion's share of the technological windfall falls into the laps of the U.S. and Great Britain, the Axis acquires enough to increase its deadliness exponentially. Furthermore, Hitler and Stalin make an uneasy peace as they unite to prevent both of their respective systems from being consigned to the ash heap of history, freeing German forces for a renewed invasion of England. The time-displaced warriors from 2021 find that their most implacable foe is not Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny but J. Edgar Hoover, furious at being "outed." The author doesn't make the mistake of pitting his protagonists against morons, and he rightly shows how improvements in command and control trump bigger and better guns. Entertaining cameos by Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy will delight the geek in all of us.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for Weapons of Choice
First book in the Axis of Time

“[A] weapons-grade military techno-thriller . . . It’s like a Clive Cussler novel fell into a transporter beam with a Stephen Ambrose history, and they came out all fused together.”

“High-tech intrigue and suspense similar to the works of Tom Clancy.”
–Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Series: Axis of Time Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (October 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345457145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345457141
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.8 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,027,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim F. Martin on April 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
_Designated Targets_ by John Birmingham is the excellent follow up to his earlier alternate history science fiction novel, _Weapons of Choice_, a novel that began with the basic premise that a U.S.-led multinational naval task force from the 21st century is accidentally and suddenly transported to the Pacific right in the middle of the Battle of Midway.

As most of this fleet came into the possession of the Allied countries (basically the United States), one might think that the advanced weaponry, ships, and trained personnel from the year 2021 would enable the Allied powers to quickly defeat the Axis, as certainly anything they had could outclass anything Germany and Japan possessed in 1942. Quite the opposite occurs, as the Axis, at the heights of its power at the time the future fleet arrived (an event now referred to as the Transition), redoubles its efforts to conquer the world, benefiting from it own captured weapons, ships, and personnel from the future as well as the wealth of information in the computer databases of those ships, decades of analysis and detailed histories of the Second World War and its aftermath, revealing the results of battles, the identities of spies and traitors, failed weapon systems, successful weapon systems that should have been better supported, etc. The Soviet Union and Germany quickly declare a ceasefire with one another (Stalin thankful for the break from the Nazi onslaught and eager to begin work to avoid being the target of later German aggression as well as seeking to avoid eventual Soviet defeat in the Cold War by the United States) and both Germany and Japan rapidly develop and execute radically different plans from what they did in our timeline.
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Format: Paperback
As an avid fan of the first volume of the "Axis of Time" series, I was among the many fans looking forward eagerly to the release of the next installment. For me this book was well worth the wait, as John Birmingham avoids the middle-volume slump all too typical of trilogies. Picking up the action four months after the end of the first book, he shows how the impact of the accidental travelers from the future has dramatically changed the course of history - the Japanese have invaded Australia, the Germans and the Soviets have signed a cease-fire, and a vast industrial park is blossoming on the outskirts of Los Angeles as the Allies begin to leapfrog their technological development.

What makes this book so enjoyable for me is Birmingham's imaginativeness. After reading the first volume, I wondered where he would take events from there. The answer is in surprising directions. On one level, it involves posing intriguing questions: What would the Japanese fighting World War II do with knowledge from the future? The Germans? The Americans? Birmingham's answers break away from the predominantly military focus of the first volume to areas that might be unexpected but entirely plausible. The result makes for an enormously entertaining read and one that kept me enthralled to the last page. The only problem I had when I finished was the same that many others have expressed - the prospect of having to wait for the final volume of the series to be written. As frustrating as it may be, I'm willing to wait as long as it takes for Birmingham to produce a conclusion so satisfying.
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Format: Paperback
John Birmingham is a bastard.

I spotted Designated Targets just before its official release at a bookshop in Brisbane airport, appropriately enough on my way to a meeting in the Forgan Smith building at the University of Queensland (the building features prominently about mid-way through). I had thoroughly enjoyed Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1 (as it's subtitled down under), and had hoped for another good read - airport style - to keep me entertained in the downtime that you inevitably get in a busy week spent away from home on business.

Well, what happened was that 2.2 redefined my downtime over the next couple of days - 'downtime' was suddenly comprised of the compact slices of time where I tried to do all the trivial things not related to avidly reading this gripping yarn - work, sleep, drive, ablute, etc.

This wretched, brilliant book completely ruined that week, and for that I am deeply grateful to its stupidly talented author.

Designated Targets is absolutely great stuff - all of what we love and a bit more besides. Clever narrative, suspenseful design, well controlled scenario, thorough research, insightful invention, perceptive psychology, great dialogue, and terrific action. All in all, accursedly unputfckendownable.

Birmingham handles the action genre as an adept - he obviously reads widely in it, and has paid attention to a range of movie genres as well (westerns, war flicks, Hong Kong martial arts, gangster movies, Arnie, straight out action, etc.). Clearly he has also taken a lot of inspiration from the different strands of alternate history, speculative SF and psychodrama that populate contemporary culture, both written and cinematic.

There are amusing and perceptive commentaries on the past.
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