Final Impact

By John Birmingham.

Among the various things my Dad sent to me with a new pair of shoes was the third volume in John Birmingham’s World War 2.x trilogy. While the Allies fight the Germans and the Japanese, the Soviet Union is busy creating its own goodies from the 21st century and wins (or at least thinks it’s won) the race to build nuclear weapons. It suddenly re-enters the war, nominally on the Allied side, but clearly pursuing its own agenda. The unexpected surprise is the major plot device of the book. The USSR has been unexpectedly developing the technology from the HMS Vanguard. The Allies unexpectedly have B-52s and, apparently, a larger stockpile of nuclear weapons than anyone was aware of. The Germans unexpectedly halt the Russian advance with nerve gas. The Japanese unexpectedly cripple the Russia’s Pacific fleet with kamikaze jets.

Himmler kills the comatose Hitler; the Russians nuke Lodz and Tokyo; and the Allies nuke Berlin.

The book comes to an inconclusive end as Julia Duffy goes after Artie Snider (the fat policeman from Hawaii?) who turns out to have murdered Daytona Anderson and Maseo Miyazaki way back in the first volume. Commander Hidaka is captured by chance, but apart from being beaten up, he disappears from the pages of the book. The Russians are still a problem, but since World War 2.x is over, that places a full stop at the end of the series.

Hitler and Stalin could almost be the same person dressed in different clothes. The scenes in their respective HQs tend to be the same with each psychotic, unstable dictator inspiring terror in their lackeys. The Japanese war effort centres around Yamamoto, with the emperor turning up in time to be nuked by the Russians. The encounter between Prince Harry and his grandmother adds nothing to the story. The book gets a bit Star Trek at times with technobabble and a bit Central Perk with all the coffee that gets drunk. It’s all readable stuff, but strictly an airport novel.

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