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on 13 March 2009
After reading parts one and two i was expecting one hell of a novel to round it all off.

John Birmingham almost succeeded.

while most of the plot threads are resolved, and yes you do find out who the Murderer was, there are several that he's either forgotten or couldn't think of a way to wrap them up.

I know it's a trilogy, but i can't help feeling it needs another book just to finish it all off.

however, don't by any means think this book is a failure, far from it. it's a cracking read that rattles along at one hell of a pace. if you've read the first two you need to read this one.

all in all an excellent trilogy and I'm very grateful i found it.
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on 26 February 2009
Apart from the pace of action in this book, following on from the previous two, it highlighted to me the significant changes in attitudes since the 1940's. The reduction today in racial and bigoted views compared with 70 years ago. Gave me plenty of food for thought, particularly regarding the Muslim world and all religious fanatics and sects.
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World War 2.3: Final Impact is the conclusion to the Axis of Time trilogy, following Weapons of Choice and Designated Targets. Those books chronicled how, in the year 2021, a UN multinational carrier taskforce was deployed to drive a terrorist insurgency out of Jakarta. Unfortunately, a nearby scientific vessel undertaking experiments into quantum tunnelling accidentally opened a wormhole through space and time, dumping the entire fleet on top of Admiral Spruance's US Navy fleet sailing to relieve Midway in the summer of 1942. With no way home, the UN force's presence rapidly changed the course of the Second World War.

The final novel opens in the late spring of 1944. Both the Axis and Allies are now equipped with considerable technological advances gleaned from the ships from the future. Jet aircraft fight on both sides, and the UN taskforce's immense AWACS and radar capabilities provide the Allies with considerable tactical and intelligence advantages over the enemy. Germany and Japan made alterations to their strategies after capturing some of the ships from the future themselves and these paid off in the short term, with Germany and the USSR concluding a cynical peace and Japan successfully invading Australia and occupying Hawaii. Driven by their superior economic base, however, the Allies are now resurgent, having retaken Hawaii and defeated a German invasion of Britain before preparing their own, improved version of D-Day. The Allies, the Germans and the Russians are now in their own, frantic races to complete the atom bomb before the others, for whoever develops a nuclear arsenal the earliest will likely be the side that wins the war.

Final Impact marks a solid conclusion to the trilogy, although unfortunately some of the more interesting elements that were being developed in Designated Targets seem to have been scaled back. The sociological ramifications of the arrival of the ships from the future continue to be examined, but not quite so cleverly as in the previous volume. The sheer mass of data that the people of the 1940s would have to absorb is overwhelming and you can't help but feel that Birmingham occasionally misses out on a few interesting possibilities (although a scene where John Kennedy quietly arranges for a young Lee Harvey Oswald to be taken into state care is a nice touch). However, with the need to bring this alternate Second World War to a conclusion the sacrificing of some of the quieter elements in favour of the main storyline is understandable. This also explains the somewhat jarring leap ahead of more than a year since the end of Book 2. Several major characters die off-page between the two books, and given the ending of Book 2 it is a surprise to find Hawaii already back in Allied hands. Birmingham obviously felt that expanding on these elements would expand the series to four books or more and I certainly understand him wanting to avoid that.

Final Impact marks a solid ending to the series, with the war rapidly winding down after the nukes start being deployed. Birmingham treats these weapons as the terrible forces they are (some military authors, Turtledove particularly comes to mind, seem to love hurling them around with almost gleeful abandon) and the impact of their use is made clear. The ending is also not particularly neat. The USSR emerges from the war far stronger than it did in real life, with the threat of a real 'hot war' with the Allies seemingly much greater than in reality, but that is not part of the story that the author is telling, so that element is left dangling. As with the prior books, the author mixes action with intriguing historical speculation with solid characterisation and a fascinating contrast of the morales and attitudes of the two time periods: the 'uptimers' are far more inured to war and suffering after twenty years of warfare, whilst the 'downtimers' are prepared to accept far vaster civilian casualties to achieve victory. There is also plenty of humour to be mined, such as SAS commander Harry Windsor having an amusing conversation with his 16-year-old grandmother or disco becoming popular thirty years ahead of schedule, as well as interesting side-effects of the transition, such as questions over who has the copyright on films yet to be made by directors and actors yet to be born.

Final Impact (****) is a solid and worthwhile conclusion to this intriguing trilogy. It is available in the UK from Penguin and in the USA from Del Rey. Birmingham's new novel, Without Warning, which depicts a world where the North American continent was destroyed by an unusual energy phenomenon on the eve of the USA's invasion of Iraq, will be published next week in the USA.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 December 2010
With the final book in the series I was expecting Birmingham to end on a high note and that definitely wasnt the case, while there are high points and some of the book is just as fast paced and exciting as the other books in the series this book sees many of the characters you may have grown to like and love either unceremoniously killed off or rendered inert, miserable and washed up.

Quite brilliant fictional renditions and characterisations of the Soviets abound in this book, they are as great as any of those of the Axis forces in the other books and in this one. The changes in leadership within Nazi Germany and fate of the Japanese and Nazis are done brilliantly although I kind of think that the deployment of atomic weapons and biological weapons is done a little casually when you consider the horror and capitulation attendent on the release of one atomic bomb and Churchill's firestom of Berlin in the original time line.

The possibility of major redirections in history, such as an alliance between Germany and the Allies or Japan (which Birmingham seems less hostile towards and portrays as at least in their leadership as somehow more honourable) and the Allies against Russia or an anti-communist crusade seemed to be only superficially dealt with. The ease with which the possibility of communism taking hold in Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere I felt was unrealistic and didnt really consider the extent to which these developments where independent of superpower conflict and wrong turns in foreign policy.

As alternative history goes it remains one of the best books of its kind, as a naval actioner goes its great too (and has next to no competition), the sub-plots involving future vs. past authorities and culture wars I didnt feel where done as well as in the other two books and the characters individual narratives continue but may disappoint fans who liked the other two books. The murder mystery which began in the first book and I which I eagerly anticipated a conclusion to is concluded but it ends with a whimper rather than a bang.
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The final book in a clever and entertaining trilogy. A number of warships from 2021 are thrown back into 1942 and will have a devastating impact. (Think the film The Final Countdown). By the time we get to this final volume, the race for nukes is on and modern technology and weapons are spread over all the participants.
This could have been a typical pulp alternative future series, but it has more depth than you might think. The leaders of the past have access to historical histories showing what happened to `them' and their campaigns so they are mixing things up a bit. Imagine a world where you find that you will become famous for sport/singing etc and you are part of a future history before you have made it! Likewise those from the future are of different sexes, races and colour, dropping into a world of prejudice. This was an interesting aspect for me, not quite explored enough in the desire to keep the story moving.
And a difficult job for the author who has had to look at existing history and consider the impact of change his 2021 people and technology will bring and make it feel logical. But this is not a book that deals with temporal sociology, it is a thriller with plenty of action. As such the trilogy is brought to a satisfying close.
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on 13 May 2015
The Axis of Time series is superb, not just because of John Birmingham's ability to pack his writing with tension and excitement but also with the way he keeps us on edge throughout. You think you know how things are going to work out but you're left with enough doubts and misgivings that you just have to carry on to the next page, the next chapter... The outcome isn't predictable; there is enough mayhem and destruction, intrigue and chaos (enough cliffs to hang from by your fingernails!) that you really can't be sure... People die, battles are fought... and the arrival of the fleet from the future has muddied the water so much that you have to question that it is a better world... no, you KNOW that it isn't. There is deep-rooted suspicion of these men and women of the future which interferes with the creation of a (possibly) better world.
Superb trilogy.
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on 9 January 2011
Having read all three novels back to back I can say that they are very good solid books with a very good alternative history story line, and some fine characters.

However the books do jump from one perior of time to another and major developments have occurred and reader is advised of them as an after thought. Some of the battle areas are inaccurate as the Author seems to have picked them at random and guessed at the their distance from a capital, and the makes up the surrounding area, to fit in with the book.

Apart from this the books for me were almost compulisive reading and I have completed them all within 4 days. I look forward to reading more from this Author and just hope the story lines do not jump around as much.
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on 28 August 2012
This is the 2nd book in a 3 book trilogy. A pacey well thought out read. The characters are believable and the plot provides an alternatve view from the middle of the 2nd World War to its ultimate conclusion in book 3. It must be read in conjunction with the other 2 books in the series to make sense of the plot. The impact of 21st century technology and thinking on mid 20th century warfare is done in a very believable way and makes the whole scenario quite plausible. This book and the other two in the series compare very favourably with Harry Turtledoves' "World War" and "Colonisation" 8 book series, which is praise indeed.
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on 8 May 2013
I'm a big fan of this series, and think that it brings to an end the trilogy very well, emphasising the strange mix of optimism and bleakness that affects both the 'Temps and the Uptimers as the war comes to a close. With the 'new' technology so thoroughly ensconced throughout the world, and a slightly different end to the war, the knowledge that came back ensures that the future will be... interesting after the way. Can we have another trilogy? :)
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on 22 April 2012
I have now collected all 3 books in this riveting trilogy. Didn't intend to buy any but when ordering form library i wasn't able to keep them long enough to finish each book.(not a fast reader, like to savour the words).
Will sell them on at car boot sale when i have read the 3rd and final chapter. They are all good value for money.
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