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The New World Order Paperback – 5 Jan 2006
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"This is an alternative history novel which, once the central premise is accepted, proceeds convincingly and irresistably" (Dennis Hamley Carousel)
"The intelligent and gripping story comes from an author who has not previously written for teenagers but who will surely do so many times more" (TES)
"It's a "something for everyone" sort of a book with its unconventional blend of history and science fiction, warfare and even a hint of romance, but its wide-ranging appeal and powerful story work well in the classroom" (Kate Agnew Guardian)
"An absorbing mix of science-fiction and historical novel" (The School Librarian)
"Lots of surprises and plot twists in this excellent, really gripping story" (Primary Times)
Aliens invade England during the Civil War in this story of what MIGHT have happened in the seventeenth century-See all Product description
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Once the story really gets going, however, it is excellent. I was impressed by the efforts Jeapes has made, after the admittedly extreme variation of introducing alternate-world dwellers and advanced technology into the 17th century, to keep as close as possible to the actual history of England. He even adds an historical postscript to explain the difference between his version and the real history - though incorporating a clever bit of fiction as well.
The characters - both historical and fictional - are well depicted, their concerns and their moral dilemmas are explained well, and the plot is both logical and enthralling.
Anyway, the book is written for a young adult reader. As such I'd call it a decent read. Probably a 5-star read if I were still a teenager, but the characters and plot were perhaps a little slight and the idea not enirely original. But there's some interesting historical background which an American kid would never get in school but which would be stock stuff for an English kid.
The basic idea is, at first, introduction of advanced technology (rifles, airships, etc.) into the English Civil War. Turtledove tends to get credit for this idea (see his Guns of the South), but the idea's been around since at least the late 1960s and was perhaps best done by de Camp in his Lest Darkness Fall. However, in Jeapes' book the advanced tech doesn't come from the future, it comes from... well, you'll have to read a bit to get the first glimpse of that. Read on and you'll figure out exactly where it is that "John Donder" et al come from.
Donder isn't the only main character of the book. The lost son, whom he finds right away, is just as important. And as major supporting characters we have the Stuart royal family, Cromwell, Monk, and others. Also Donder's compatriots from wherever it is that they come from. Much of this book turns on John Donder's conflicted loyalties and on the efforts of the Englishmen to overcome their divisions and fight off the mutual enemy.
Observing a battle, John Donder recognizes the rifle that has not been invented for another two plus centuries. The Holekhors are influencing the war on land, at sea, and for the first time fighting from the air. John having been stranded here before seeks the woman he loves and left behind years ago though he knows time and space are linear when he first fell through a portal. Now in the present of mid seventeenth century England, a late nineteenth century army led by General Dhon Do has invaded the countryside, but learning that he previously sired a child before his earlier timely departure has shocked and awed him.
This is a terrific alternate history tale with a powerful science fiction cut that changes English history at a pivotal moment with time traveling aliens. The story line is action-packed, but also brings to life the reality of the era by comparing it to later weaponry and tactics and through some of the key historical figures. Though targeting a teenage crowd, Harry Turtledove fans will appreciate Ben Jeapes brilliant novel of THE NEW WORLD ORDER.