Writer Harry Turtledove works mostly in the field of Alternate history, and has produced many novels in that genre. This is a collection of some of his short stories and novellas, the bulk of which are alternate history tales also.
Although the cover design makes it look as if it's part of his recent Atlantis series of novels, only two of the stories in this collection are actually set in that particular fictional universe.
All of the stories in here have also appeared elsewhere. Mostly in magazines but some in other anthologies.
All the stories have introductions from the writer that are short and to the point, and which explain how the story came to be.
Lead story 'Audubon in Atlantis' runs for sixty pages and see a famous naturalist visit Atlantis [for those not familiar with those novels, it's a world in which a large chunk of land broke off from America millions of years ago, and was discovered by europeans in the middle ages. The colonisation and subsequent history of the place parallels real American history] looking to paint a native species before they become extinct. The lead character does use the methods of the time in that he shoots and then paints the animals, and some may have issues with that. But it does go with the time period of the story. The whole thing is about a man who knows he won't be around forever looking for creatures who won't either. In a land where change marches on. As a piece about the fact that things don't last, it is quite moving at times.
'Bedfellows' runs for just ten pages and considers what would happen if the relationship between two real figures from this world was taken to a certain extreme. The central point is quite thought provoking and the story is just long enough not to outstay it's welcome.
'News from the Front' runs for thirty pages and is told in the form of newspaper reports, showing how World War Two would have gone for America if news media of the time had behaved the way they do today. It's a rather depressing read but it's a clever and thought provoking piece of writing.
'The Catcher in the Rhine' runs for twenty four pages and sees a man visiting Germany get caught up in the middle of something from mythology. It could be rather slight but it's not a bad character story in the end, although it's a little inconsequential.
'The Daimon' runs for just over sixty pages and sees the Peloponesian war go rather differently for Athens. This story may take a while to get into if you don't know the history behind it, but it does become rather involving anyhow, and does end up being a good strong read.
'Farmer's law' is a twenty page murder mystery set in the Byzantine Empire. It's a nice little character study but if you don't know the history behind the Farmer's law of the title, it may not grab you.
'Occupation Duty' is a twenty page story set in a certain area of the Middle east, where the problems the main character encounters are very familiar. But things about the setting are rather different. An interesting bit of alternate history with some good points to make.
'The Horse of Bronze' runs for fifty five pages and is a tale of ancient times, when a group of Centaurs on a journey meet all sorts of mythological creatures. Then they meet a new one. Who stands on two legs...It doesn't really grab till the halfway point and although the ending is quite affecting it's one of those things that will either grab you or not.
'The Genetics lecture' is just three pages long and a one joke story. But it's a good joke. If you get it.
'Someone is stealing the great thrones of the galaxy' is a thirteen page science fiction story written ina very strange style that is presumably a humorous homage to something. I have no idea what so it didn't appeal.
'Uncle Alf' runs for thirty five pages and is set in a world where the Central powers won the first World War. It's told in the form of letters from a German soldier sent to Occupied France on a mission. It's an interesting and clever bit of alternate history and very readable.
'The Scarlet Band' is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche set in the World of the Atlantis stories, as the great detective and his assistant come to Atlantis to work on a case. Using versions of established fictional characters in another setting doesn't jar at all, and as an Atlantis story it's quite good. So it's a good read.
And it's a pretty decent collection all in all.