cover image Angels of Vengeance

Angels of Vengeance

John Birmingham. Del Rey, $26 (560p) ISBN 978-0-345-50293-3

The concluding volume of Birmingham’s hefty alternate history trilogy (following Without Warning and After America) is a seamless fusion of alternate history, postapocalyptic fiction, and espionage-fueled thriller. After most of the world’s population inexplicably vanishes, the surviving Americans form an enclave in the Pacific Northwest and attempt to rebuild their beloved country before foreign invaders and internal strife destroy it forever. Multiple narrators—the beleaguered president of the United States, a secret agent obsessed with revenge, the dispossessed teenage daughter of a Mexican farmer, etc.—offer unique perspectives, making the grand-scale story profoundly intimate in a way that recalls Harry Turtledove’s alternate histories. Birmingham’s story is tightly woven and deeply considered, and his geopolitical speculation is intriguing. The only false note is the somewhat anticlimactic conclusion, which does not entirely repay series readers for their 1,500-page investment. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Apr.)