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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a magic world a nazi officer gets a 2nd chance to choose right or wrong
Harry Turtledove is one of those authors for whom almost every book they write attracts some people who love it and others who hate it. "After the Downfall" is clearly yet another example. It is obvious from other reviews here and on the Amazon US site that some people really didn't like this book - though how any sane person can read the book properly and express the...
Published on 30 Oct 2008 by Marshall Lord

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible!!!!
This has a great idea, that a German officer is magically transported from wartorn Berlin in 1945 to a fantasy world of Unicorns and Wizards, etc, where there is a war going on too so naturally he can offer his expertise and modern automatic weapons.

However despite this original concept this books is sooo very dull, nothing happens! A great missed opportunity...
Published on 6 Jan 2009 by SJ SMART


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a magic world a nazi officer gets a 2nd chance to choose right or wrong, 30 Oct 2008
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: After the Downfall (Hardcover)
Harry Turtledove is one of those authors for whom almost every book they write attracts some people who love it and others who hate it. "After the Downfall" is clearly yet another example. It is obvious from other reviews here and on the Amazon US site that some people really didn't like this book - though how any sane person can read the book properly and express the view that "nothing happens" in it is beyond me - but others did enjoy "After the Downfall" and I was one of them.

While perhaps it is not up there with Turtledove's very best writing such as "The Guns of the South" or "The Two Georges" I found this to be one of his more original and enjoyable novels. Like many of his works, it is an exploration of what happens when people who are not wholly evil find themselves fighting on the wrong side, and of whether there is anything they can do about it ...

The story begins as the Russians are over-running Berlin in 1945. Hauptman (Wehrmacht captain) Hasso Pemsel and what's left of his unit are in the City Museum, surrounded by overwhelming numbers of tough Red Army soldiers who have a score to settle with the Germans after what the Nazis did to Russia.

In between dodging bullets in what he expects to be his last minutes of life, Hasso notes an inscription above an ancient stone which suggests that the stone was supposed to be a gateway to other worlds. As an act of gallows humour, he follows his Feldwebel's advice to sit on the stone and see what happens - and the astonished NCO sees him disappear. The NCO leaps, too late, for the stone himself, only to be cut down by Russian bullets. To the advancing Red Army soldiers who loot and rush past his body it is only another stone.

Hasso Pemsel finds himself in a swamp in a completely different world - and the first person he sees there is a tall, magnificently beautiful, blonde woman fleeing from three men, armed with crude weapons, who are pursuing her with obviously hostile intent. Without thinking he acts to rescue her, and this is not too difficult as his sub-machine gun works perfectly in this new world (at least, it does while he has ammunition for it.)

The lady insists on thanking Hasso, there and then, in the most intimate way that a beautiful woman can thank a man for saving her life, and then shows him the way to her people's nearest fortress: shortly thereafter they travel to Drammen, the capital.

As he learns their language, Hasso discovers that this is a world of magicians, spells and unicorns, but no technology. His lady friend, Velona, is regarded by her people as a Goddess incarnate - a bit like the Dalai Llama, except that this woman is much sexier and is definately not an advocate of non-violence. Her country and her race, the blonde, blue-eyed Lenelli, are engaged in a war to the death with another nation, Bucovin, which is inhabited by the shorter, dark-haired Greyne. It's Aryan versus Slav all over again.

The Lenelli welcome Hasso, first as a hero for saving their incarnate goddess, then as a recruit to their army who can advise on more effective ways to fight the Grenye.

But Hasso soon becomes uncomfortable with the atrocities which his new country inflicts on anyone who gets in their way - crimes which his actions in winning battles for them are helping to bring about.

As Hasso's concern grows, both at the evils he sees and the overconfidence of his new comrades, he begins to see disturbing parallels with the war he has just escaped, and also begins to look with a new light at the actions of his former country, Nazi Germany. Has he again found himself on the wrong side, and is his new country going down the same evil course to disaster ?

The plot includes some well-crafted battle scenes, a detective story as Hasso tries to establish why the Lenelli's magic becomes less and less reliable the further they advance into Bucovin, and some strong and interesting characters.

As mentioned, not everyone liked this, but for me it was one of Harry Turtledove's better and more imaginative works and I recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the far eastern front, 5 Nov 2009
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: After the Downfall (Mass Market Paperback)
Writer Harry Turtledove, best known for his alternate histories, has also done stories set in fantasy kingdoms where events parallel history in our world. This is a - seemingly - stand alone novel that falls in between the two. It involves Hasso, a german captain fighting in Berlin in 1945 who is magically transported to a fantasy land where two kingdoms are at war.

The one he ends up in regards the other kingdom as little more than vermin, but their invasion after initial success has to contend with local resistance and harsh weather. Thus it parallels the eastern front of Hasso's experience. And when he ends up spending time with the other side, he finds he has a lot to learn...

Hasso being wermacht is not a nazi, and although he has attitudes and beliefs typical to a german soldier of the time he's not an unlikeable character and is quite easy to relate to. The world in which the story is set is well drawn without being anything remarkable, but the writing sensibly keeps one big plot revelation - why magic doesnt effect some of the people here - back for quite a while.

This is a long book at 600 pages and a lot of is talk, with hasso slowly having his attitudes changed by contact and conversations with the locals. It's also a fairly realistic depiction of relatively primitive warfare, and as ever with turtledove of people being caught up in history as some events happen off screen.

Two different women also feature heavily in hasso's new life and a lot of the writing is about his attitude to and his relations with them.

Despite moving at quite a fast pace in the first hundred pages it doesnt really get going as a story till after that. And it's all very readable. It's pretty much self contained as a story but does leave enough loose ends should the writer desire to do a sequel.

Probably more a book for harry turtledove's fans than one that will convert new readers. But a decent if unexceptional read all in all. There are gory scenes, scenes of an adult nature, and a little bit of strong language, so it may not be for everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good workout at fiction not at historical fiction, 2 Aug 2009
By 
Fausto Oliveira (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: After the Downfall (Mass Market Paperback)
The book is very good and the Universe built with some interesting characters, however it seems that the plot could have benefited from a few more pages and overall you are left with the impression it was finished in a hurry. Nonetheless I would advise it to my friends.

For those that are looking at buying this book based on the previous works that have a historical basis I would say that this book is very light on that subject with the occasional reference to events in WWII being emeshed with the story instead of being integral part of the plot.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible!!!!, 6 Jan 2009
By 
SJ SMART "Smartie" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: After the Downfall (Hardcover)
This has a great idea, that a German officer is magically transported from wartorn Berlin in 1945 to a fantasy world of Unicorns and Wizards, etc, where there is a war going on too so naturally he can offer his expertise and modern automatic weapons.

However despite this original concept this books is sooo very dull, nothing happens! A great missed opportunity. Dont buy this book. Try Poul Anderson instead, he was a great fantasy writer.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars after the downfall, 23 April 2009
By 
Duncan Emery (ENGLAND,BLACKPOOL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: After the Downfall (Hardcover)
A WORKMANLIKE BOOK PREDICTABLE BUT THE CHARACTERS ARE ENTERTAINING A STANDALONE BOOK NOT ENOUGH FOR A SEQUEL.
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After the Downfall
After the Downfall by Harry Turtledove (Mass Market Paperback - 7 July 2009)
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