cover image Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance

Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance

Harry Turtledove. Del Rey Books, $23 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-345-40221-9

The Axis and Allied powers continue to stand as one to defeat alien invaders in this third volume of Turtledove's alternate-history saga of WW II (Tilting the Balance; In the Balance). There are some unexpected twists here-the Lizards bomb Pearl Harbor, the Americans sacrifice Chicago-but none more surprising than the fact that, unlike in previous volumes, the narrative is dominated not by weaponry and tactics of war but by births and friendship. Liu Han's baby arrives in a Lizard internment camp; and the birth of Barbara Yeager's baby with her current husband, Sam, comes even as Jens Larssen, her physicist former husband, goes walkabout. Meanwhile, the theme of camaraderie in trying times comes to the fore, as does an emphasis on noble action. Even those who have been rooting for the Lizards from the start will notice that this volume highlights the finest, both alien and human, while disparaging the corrupt. After enjoying this morally aware addition to the series, and its many cameos by real-life figures (including Einstein, Stalin and Ribbentrop), most readers will be looking forward eagerly to the next. (Feb.)