Customer Reviews


10 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping conclusion to an alternative history epic
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...
Published on 15 Dec 2006 by Marshall Lord

versus
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rushed, Episodic and Unsatisfying
Final Impact is the third and final novel in the Axis of Time Trilogy following the impact on world events of the arrival during the second world war, via a worm-hole, of a naval task force from the late 21st Century. The preceding books, Weapons of Choice and Designated Targets, dealt with the immediate aftermath of the task force's sudden, unplanned time travel to the...
Published on 2 Mar 2007 by C. Green


Most Helpful First | Newest First

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping conclusion to an alternative history epic, 15 Dec 2006
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Final Impact (Axis of Time Trilogy) (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, the Soviet Union is determined that when the Axis powers have been defeated they 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 difficult 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, an RN Commander who is a half-asian woman. I would like to think that my parents and grandparents' generations would have treated members of the 21st century forces better than they are treated in this book: however, no doubt that Mr Birmingham is right that some people would have treated them well and others very badly.

The action scenes in the book are very well done and make it almost impossible to put down; there is also some excellent use of humour. One of the members of the multinational force from the 21st Century is Prince Harry, who has become a Colonel in the S.A.S. and has some very funny lines. Another moment which had me laughing was the incongruity of Himmler struggling with a Windows laptop and threatening dire revenge against the family of Bill Gates.

None of the books in this trilogy are suitable for those of a squeamish disposition. Faced with Axis and Soviet powers who have become even more cruel and ruthless in their desperation to avoid defeat, the allies have to be almost equally brutal to defeat them. I can't remember reading a story in which the "good" guys kill so many innocent people since E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series.

Bottom line: if you are into alternative history or war stories, you will almost certainly enjoy the "Axis of Time" trilogy
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rushed, Episodic and Unsatisfying, 2 Mar 2007
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Final Impact (Axis of Time Trilogy) (Paperback)
Final Impact is the third and final novel in the Axis of Time Trilogy following the impact on world events of the arrival during the second world war, via a worm-hole, of a naval task force from the late 21st Century. The preceding books, Weapons of Choice and Designated Targets, dealt with the immediate aftermath of the task force's sudden, unplanned time travel to the days just before the battle of Midway and the knock on effect this had on not only the war, but also politics, culture and society. Both books were entertaining slices of 'what if' alternative history science-fiction that tried to deal rationally with the possible effects of an utterly implausible event. They also managed to mix in some solid action, a nice sense of humour and reasonable character development.

Picking up events some months after the conclusion of volume two, Designated Targets, with World War II entering its final phases both in Europe & the Pacific and geo-political attention shifting towards the inevitable future confrontation between the Western Allies and Stalinist Russia, Final Impact should be a rousing and satisfying conclusion to the series. Unfortunately the author, John Birmingham, fumbles the pass at this late stage in the game and the result is an episodic mess of a novel that fails to live up to expectations.

From the first page of the book readers are thrown a curve ball, unsettling them. Without warning events have leapt on months since the conclusion of Designated Targets. So much so that major characters, both 'real' and fictional, have changed almost beyond recognition. Some have even died and the course of the warhas shifted dramatically. Rather than cover all these significant changes quickly and in a manner which is clear however, the author allows details to drip out in increments over the first hundred pages or so. Meanwhile the reader must struggle to work out what exactly has happened to major characters who played a significant part in previous events with almost no background information to go on.

Before they really have a chance to catch up however, they're plunged into events surrounding an alternative version of D-Day. Trying to cover this in detail however, is impossible; there's an entire book's worth of material just in that one event. Instead Birmingham goes for short episodes of action, focusing on one character at a time. This sets the tone for the rest of the book, with the narrative constantly hopping from one event to another, crisscrossing the world as it does so. Whilst this allows all the surviving characters to have their individual moments in the sun (including, enjoyably, Prince Harry) it turns the story into a mess. Plot strands are picked up and then unceremoniously dumped, never to be picked up again, and characters both major and minor jump from one place to the other, with huge gaps between that are either explained using clunky exposition or not at all. Over all it conspires to leave the reader confused and frustrated at the lack of a clear narrative structure.

It also prevents any area being handled with any significant depth. Gone are the incidental 'clash of cultures' details that helped make the previous books entertaining. In order to cram a series of world shaking actions and several months of time into what is a comparatively slim book events have to move on at an unrelentingly rapid pace. This means that significant events, from the D-Day to the death of Hitler to the arrival of the nuclear age are often paid nothing more than cursory attention before the story has to move on. It leaves the whole thing feeling rushed.

Mostly this is a result of trying to cram too complex a set of ideas into too short a book. To his credit Birmingham never tries to go for the easy answers. As with with events in the real world, not everything in the reality he's created is black and white or cut and dried. Good guys make bad decisions, bad guys sometimes win and the eventual outcome of this alternative WWII is not inevitably going to be a resounding victory for the forces of democracy. Trying to get all these concepts across and deal with all the 'what-of' strands he has thrown up is however, a mammoth task and one that Birmingham doesn't quite complete. Many events are dealt with too hurried a fashion and too many plot strands left hanging come the end. Whilst a clean cut ending with everything tied up in a nice bow would be unrealistic, the way Final Impact does end with so much unresolved, especially at a personal level for many characters, feel wholly unsatisfactory.

The concept behind the Axis of Time Trilogy is a great one and for two books it was very well handled. By trying to wrap up such a complex story in the space of one final volume however, John Birmingham has wasted a great deal of the series promise and potential. Expanding out to four books and taking more time with characters and story would have resulted in a far more satisfying conclusion. Instead this feels like a rushed and muddled effort that leaves the reader crying out for a better ending.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Techo thriller for the Guardian reader, 27 Dec 2006
By 
M. Williams "fourthwall" (UK london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Final Impact (Axis of Time Trilogy) (Paperback)
Birmingham has successfully combined the thrills of a well written techno thriller with the issues of social and political up heaval following the arrival of a 21st century fleet into the world of 1942-44. Final impact is a great end to a trilogy - giving the reader what they need - but not always what they want - the hallmark of good fiction!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 19 Oct 2007
By 
Teemacs (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Final Impact (Axis of Time Trilogy) (Paperback)
This review is being written after having read all three of Mr. Birmingham's "Axis of Time" books, so it's really review of the whole series. The nearest comparable thing of which I'm aware is Harry Turtledove's "World War/Colonization" series, in which World War 2 is interrupted by an invasion of aliens with advanced technology. In this case, it's advanced technology from our own future. Like Mr. Turtledove, Mr. Birmingham spreads his story over a wide range of characters and situations, with the twist that all the participants in WW2 know of what would have happened and seek to take appropriate action, so, for example, Heinrich Himmler has all the Führer's future enemies eliminated, while hushing up his own attempted peace efforts in the dying days of the Third Reich.

The books drag a bit in some parts, but are also often quite exciting, the series reaching its climax for me in the second book with the attempted Nazi invasion of England whose defence is primarily in the hands of the 21st century HMS "Trident" and its part-Pakistani lady captain, whose very existence horrifies the pukka sahibs of the 1940s Royal Navy. Mr. Birmingham brings out well the stark differences in attitudes to colour, gender and sexuality between the two times and how these two worlds exist uncomfortably side by side. The characterisation is not bad, and, again like Mr. Turtledove, Mr. Birmingham has left open the possibility of sequels. If this standard can be maintained, I for one would welcome them.

In conclusion, an entertaining series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twists and turns that'll make you "what if", 5 May 2007
By 
This review is from: Final Impact (Axis of Time Trilogy) (Paperback)
A 21nd century carrier battle fleet gets sent back in time and thrown smack into the middle of WW2. based over 3 books (Final Impact being the finale), this is a compelling story that can be analysed for hours on end.

I found the first book, Weapons of Choice, is a whirlwind of activity, so much so that it can be very confusing, which is perhaps the purpose. Book 2, Designated Targets, takes us one step further, whilst Final Impact is a fitting end to a great concept. I found this last book the most interesting, although it ends up being a fairly straight forward 'war novel' after a while.

By splitting the story over 3 books, John Birmingham is able to follow a realistic timeline, with several months or years between each book. Saying that, this creates gaps in the story which aern't always explained, and characters dissappear during the 'time off'. Regardless, the plot is easy enough to follow, and quite gripping at times.

I cannot help but think that the author has used the 1980 film, The Final Countdown, starring Martin Sheen and Kirk Douglas (where the USS Nimitz gets transported 40 years back in time to the eve of the attack on Peal Habour) as a source of inspiration for his books, although the axis of time trilogy is much more detailed, and includes a broader spectra of activity, from naval to special forces, with the srory told from many different sides.

Despite being occassionally confusing this series of books is to be recommended to all those interested in alternative history.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Birmingham writes wonderful books, 11 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I wish I had more time to read all of John BIrmingham's books.Loved Before America etc Can't wait to get into these too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Lost his way, 29 July 2011
By 
Graham Bruce (Cambs, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Seems this book was written at a pace and seems to have lost its way from the other books in the set. I felt didn't wrap things up as well as it could have
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rushed to a finish, 27 Mar 2007
This review is from: Final Impact (Axis of Time Trilogy) (Paperback)
The first 2 books in this trilogy were excellent reads. Unfortunately the third and final book is very unsatisfying.

It has two major flaws in my opinion. First is that 3 books just wasnt enough space to flesh out the story - 5 would have been better to keep the pacing and development shown in the first 2 books. As a result everything seems rushed in an attempt to fit it all into one final book.

The second issue I have is with the speed of technology development in a few years. While some of the improvements by the allies are reasonable, Birminghan lets them do too much too soon. I dont think he realises just how much associated development is necessary to get a particular piece of hardware working, debugged and in full production.

But the biggest annoyance is the way he treats the axis and the Soviet Union. The Germans in particular seem to have been unable to do much with the knowledge they gained, yet the Soviets, with a more primitive base and only stolen data - no people to help - get much further. This is presumably because he seems to be setting up another book based on WW3, but in order to set it up the advances of the Soviets are quite unbelievably fast and efficient.

Sorry, but the final book just was a let down after the first two.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling finale, 21 Feb 2008
By 
T. Lynch (Newcastle Upon Tyne, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
John Birmingham's Axis of Time series is one of the most compelling things I've read. Having read Weopons of Choice and Designated Targets back to back over a year ago, I eagerly awaited the arrival of Final Impact. When it came it didn't disappoint. The drama unfolded with the same gripping drama of the first two books.

If there is one criticism that I could make, then I could point out the scene between Halabi and Duffy where Birmingham mistakenly refers to Willett when he means Halabi, but that is a one off mistake, and does nothing to spoil the story or its flow.

I have got a lot of pleasure and enjoyment from reading this series which is full drama, imagination and humour. It is obvious that Birmingham put a lot of thought and research into the series, and Final Impact gives the series a well crafted and deserving end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars could/should have been longer..., 28 Nov 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Have to agree with other reviews, last book felt a bit rushed,was hoping it would have been longer, but still an excellent page turner, one of the best trilogys ive read in a very long time
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Final Impact (Axis of Time Trilogy)
Final Impact (Axis of Time Trilogy) by John Birmingham (Paperback - 30 Jan 2007)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews