Top critical review
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Disappointing and a dull read
on 29 August 2011
This is the third book in HT's new series and a series which started well with the first book - Hitler's War but has sadly quickly bogged down with HT's usual problem of lots of pointless conversations with lots of characters not really doing very much and this is true again in this latest offering - The Big Switch. For example a football match the German solider's play lasts 3-4 pages but I dont remember one battle or action scene lasting anywhere near as long.
As most of the other reviewers have pointed out that the big switch is that Britain and France make peace with Germany and then ally with her against the USSR (which I believe was one of Stalin's nightmares). Churchill is assassinated in an "traffic accident" probably by a German agent which helps make the change over possible.
Despite this major plot twist its a very dull book and despite some references to British and French troops being on the Eastern Front with the Germans we learn very little about anything that is going on there. Now in this story the USSR is facing Nazi Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Britain and France. I would have thought that this coalition would make a difference, be forcing back the Soviets at least a bit and create some really alternative history but all the characters are doing is complain about the cold, very stereotypical. Apparently the British dont have any cold weather gear is one remark I remember being made by a supposedly better equipped German soldier, the historical inaccuracy is horrendous sometimes. Perhaps its irony?
I do wonder why Turtledove bothers with these wartime scenarios since the wars, battles, etc play such a small and insignificant (and often badly told part) of his stories. He may as well just have a British person, French person, German person, Japanese person, etc. in peace time talk and talk and you would have exactly the same affect just a different date!
I really regret buying this book, very disappointed, have donated it to my local charity shop. I cant see this series improving now. I cannot recommend it.
For a REALLY good alternative history set in World War two I would recommend either Seelowe Nord: the Germans are coming. A completely fresh fictional new take on Operation Sealion - the German invasion of England in 1940, but the Germans land in the North east of England instead of the south. Very well written, full of action and very convincing or Guy Saviles -The Afrika Reich - really great reads unlike the above.Seelöwe Nord: The Germans Are Coming and The Afrika Reich