From Publishers Weekly
The latest volume in Turtledove's colossal and brilliant saga of an alternate (and disunited) United States may be the strongest and most compelling since the opener, How Few Remain (1997). Juxtaposing historical dilemmas and universal human ones, the novel explores weird twists of history at both levels. Jake Featherston leads an independent Confederacy toward war, with his propaganda chief a scrawny undersized Jew. Anne Colleton attends the Richmond Olympics of 1936, still dynamic but worried about losing her sex appeal. George Enos has lost his mother, accidentally shot by her drunken lover Ernie, and is now following in his late father's footsteps as a commercial fisherman out of Boston. Cincinnatus Driver and Scipio are on a collision course with the Holocaust that the Confederacy is preparing for African-Americans in Alabama, but Cincinnatus has also borne the burden of making peace with the parents of his Chinese daughter-in-law. Jonathan Moss is climbing back into the cockpit of an alternate P-40, ready to wield it like a sword of vengeance against Canadian terrorists who killed his wife and daughter. And one does wonder what will come of a WWII with France and Britain under quasi-Fascist regimes. Readers will not have long to wait, as the WWII trilogy is only a couple of years from seeing the light of print-which many fans will find far too long.
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*Starred Review* The conclusion to American Empire, part of Turtledove's magisterial saga of an alternate America that also includes the trilogy The Great War, is the most powerful volume in it since the post-Civil War novel that launched it all, How Few Remain
(1997). It demonstrates Turtledove's continuing mastery of historical fiction on the macrocosmic and the microcosmic levels. On the grand scale, there is Confederate president Jake Featherstone (the Confederacy won the Civil War, you see) shouting, "I'm here to tell you the truth," while he does nothing of the sort; the Olympics of 1936 unfolding in Richmond, Virginia; a France ruled by the Action Francaise and upholding a king, Charles XI; and the death of Kaiser Wilhelm II precipitating the next world war. On the smaller scale, three old friends from previous saga volumes are lost: Sylvia Enos to her drunken lover Ernie, the widowed Lucien Gautier to a heart attack while with a new lady-love, and Clara Jacobs to old-fashioned blood-poisoning. Cincinnatus Driver is torn between obligations to his old Red comrades, his family in Iowa, and his parents in a Kentucky that, having voted itself into the Confederacy, is preparing a Holocaust of its black population. Farther south, Scipio has no hope of refuge if Anne Colleton comes after him, while up north Jonathan Moss leaves Canada to return to a fighter cockpit after his wife and daughter are killed by a letter bomb. Busy, to be sure, but almost impossible to praise too highly. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved