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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Harry Turtledove has certainly earned his title as the “master of the alternate history novel” with numerous acclaimed books to his credit, including How Few Remain, The Guns of the South, and the popular Worldwar series. Now, continuing in the Worldwar saga, Turtledove gives us Colonization: Aftershocks, concluding the seven-novel epic of alien-invasion/what-if adventure. With a great flair for bringing period history to life and infusing it with his unbridled imagination, Turtledove uses his talents to create a familiar and moving narrative that draws the reader into a compelling past not quite our own. Tying together numerous threads from all seven novels, the author manages to give us all the answers we’re after, even while dangling the possibilities of future chapters in the series.
It's been more than 20 years since the Race, a lizardlike alien species of conquerors, first invaded the Earth during World War II and failed to fully subjugate it. As the mid-1960s approach, the four superpowers -- the United States, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Race -- continue to rule the world. Technology is advanced enough so that space travel is becoming an almost common occurrence. In the last novel, Colonization: Down to Earth, we saw a nuclear attack launched against the Race's colonization vessel as it arrived with innumerable “sleepers” ready to settle the Earth. Now it’s revealed that the United States began this offensive, and in retaliation the Race destroys a number of U.S. cities. Political rebellions abound in all quarters of the globe, from Poland to China, with rebels fighting both the Race and the Nazis. Despite these troubles, it seems that both humanity and the Race are tired of all the wars and skirmishes, and we see many major characters slowly change their outlook enough to possibly work together and ensure the survival of both species.
Characters not seen for several novels make appearances, which should overjoy fans of the series who’ve been clamoring to see their favorite heroes once again. The author does well to place these characters in situations that bring out the protagonists’ most intense and unexpected personality traits, as the plot moves forward in a startling and suspenseful fashion. Turtledove does a superb job of reintroducing characters and events from decades past without bogging the story down in lengthy exposition.
Turtledove’s greatest strength in his alternate-world novels may be the fact that each of his characters gets an equal amount of stage time, none standing too far above the others, each a small part of a much more elaborate whole. They remain an important piece of our history, and Turtledove deftly keeps enough celebrated scenery of the '60s to make the world seem familiar. Colonization: Aftershocks completes the Worldwar Saga with a satisfying and resonant ending, yet still leaves room for discovery and surprises if the author ever wishes to return to his epic saga.
Tom Piccirilli is the author of eight novels, including Hexes and Shards, and his Felicity Grove mystery series, consisting of The Dead Past and Sorrow's Crown. He has sold more than 100 stories to the anthologies Future Crimes, Bad News, The Conspiracy Files, and Best of the American West II. An omnibus collection of 40 stories titled Deep into That Darkness Peering is also available. Tom divides his time between New York City and Estes Park, Colorado.