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Final Impact: A Novel of The Axis of Time Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Axis of Time Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The eagerly awaited conclusion to Birmingham's popular Axis of Time trilogy (after Designated Targets and Weapons of Choice) deftly explores how a temporally displaced 21st-century naval battle group changes the outcome of WWII, both militarily and socially. In 1944, the Germans and the Japanese may be close to developing an atom bomb, while the swift Russian advance in the east threatens to engulf all of Europe. Admiral Kolhammer and his future warriors, veterans of 20 or so years of the war on terror, can be just as ruthless as the Axis. How the social changes inspired by Southern California's multicultural "zone" will fare in the face of opposition from the followers of the outed (and self-slain) J. Edgar Hoover remains an open question. Since the western Allies are left facing a Soviet Union that refuses to accept the judgment of history, it's clear that the author has the makings for a sequel. Alternate history fans can only hope Kolhammer and crew will soon be back. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Bookmarks Magazine

What of a writer who once penned a book called He Died with a Falafel in His Hand? The conclusion to John Birmingham's Axis of Time trilogy is another imaginative and logistical tour de force (previous volumes include Weapons of Choice and Designated Targets). Birmingham has credited fellow Aussie and adventure novelist Matt Reilly (Ice Station, Contest, Seven Deadly Wonders) as an influence in his foray into popular fiction. The result garners broad praise from critics, who compare Birmingham's alternate histories favorably to those of genre veterans Eric Flint and Harry Turtledove. The work inspires devotion from general readers as well, with its careful plotting, full-throttle action, social commentary, and a sly sense of humor as the author plays with history and its familiar figures.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 399 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034545717X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345457172
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marshall Lord TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found the first two episodes in this trilogy so fascinating that when I learned that the final instalment had been published in Australia several months before the US and UK releases I could not wait, but had to order this one from Oz. It didn't disappoint me.

The full "Axis of Time" trilogy is

Weapons of Choice

Designated Targets

Final Impact

In the first book, "Weapons of Choice" a multinational force from the 21st century is accidentally sent back in time to 1942 when a scientific experiment goes wrong. The first unfortunate effect of their arrival is that the Japanese fleet which was about to be sunk at Midway gets wind of something unusual, retreats and consequently survives. The second is that elements of the multinational force turn up all over the world and some are captured by the Imperial Japanese, Nazis, and Soviet Union - all of whom resolve not to repeat the mistakes which in our world consigned them to the dustbin of history.

In this volume a very different and even more brutal second world war is grinding towards its conclusion. The Allies, the Soviets, and the Nazis are all desperately trying to expedite their Atomic weapon programmes, and Stalin is determined that when the Axis powers have been defeated he will control much more of the world than in "original" history so as to go into the Cold War in a stronger position.

Meanwhile the men and women from the 21st Century face a continuing struggle both to adapt to the very different world they find themselves in, and to persuade the "temps" (short for contemporary) from their own side to accept such things as an African-American U.S. Marine colonel, and an RN Commander who is a half-asian woman.
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I really loved the first volume of the AXIS OF TIME trilogy. I enjoyed the second one as well, though, like most trilogies, I thought it not up to the first. I was prepared for the third installment to make everything right once again. Unfortunately, it was the least of the series.

The scenario is that of a multinational naval task force from the year 2021 finding itself thrust back through time to the second world war. This causes disruptions for both the allies and the axis. Most of the fleet winds up in the hands of the allies but a few wind up in Japanese or Russian hands. The armaments of this fleet of the future are quite welcome but the historical references to things that have not yet happened are bound to be chaotic. Even more intriguing are the interaction between those from the future and those from the 40s. Black or Japanese officers are treated with suspicion and women are not really taken seriously. It would be expected that the Nazis would be insulted by having so many of their plans thwarted by a woman commanding an uptime British ship and they consider their injuries even worse since the woman is of Muslim descent. The really awful thing is that she is treated as a pariah by her own countrymen as well. This is just one of the many examples of cultures in conflict.

In this third installment, things finally come to a climax. The Russians under Stalin have been busy and want to avoid the mistakes of the alternate history. That they are the first in this world to develop nuclear weapons seems to put them in the catbird seat. The American admiral from the future recognizes the Soviets as an even bigger threat than the Nazis and Japanese but passions are so inflamed over the latter that his warnings are not taken seriously until too late.
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Final Impact concludes World War 2.1 with literally a bang. Or, perhaps, a whole lot of bangs as the Allies, armed with the weapons developed by crew of the 21st Century battle fleet that popped into the middle of the Battle of Midway, close in on both Nazi Germany and Japan. But the Nazis and the Japanese, armed with their own weapons and a desperation born from the foreknowledge of what was due to happen to them in the old timeline, will not go down without a fight. And the Soviets, who are also armed to the teeth, will not accept the verdict of original history and go into that good night.

Though the revised version of World War II concludes with a blood letting even greater than what occured in our history, it may be only the beginning. John Birmingham has allowed himself room for ample sequals for a Cold War 2.0, which may not be "Cold" for very long.

Highly recommended for fans of technothriller, action, and historical fiction.
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Format: Paperback
What an excellent read!

John Birmingham really did himself well by this - and he did even better by the fans of his earlier books in this series.

This tale could easily have devolved into an overblown fanboy raving where the good guys get all sorts of super high-tech weaponry to mow down endless waves of cardboard character bad guys. Thankfully, Birmingham didn't fall for such banal writing and setting.

The whole Axis of Time series is very intelligently written and smartly focuses on its characters with the high tech stuff coming in a distant second. Birmingham takes a step away from the standard tropes of the genre by examining the political and social changes that such an arrival of highly advanced and highly different, socially, solidiers from the future would wreak upon even their allies - let alone upon their enemies. The result is a far more believeable and far more "real" read.

I found this one as much a page turner as the previous two. Sure, as a fan, I wanted more and would've been happy enough to have every bit of what happened be completely detailed in the telling of the tale. But, I can also appreciate the need to prune some things and to have others happen "off stage." Otherwise the book would wind up an almost unreadable six inches thick and thus appeal only to a few die hard fans. I appreciate the way Birmingham handled this as it did not reduce the impact of the story nor seem otherwise out of place. I wish other authors could exercise such discretion in the way they tell their tales.

All in all this was an excellent read. The plot was realistic and briskly paced.
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