cover image The War That Came Early: 
Coup d’Etat

The War That Came Early: Coup d’Etat

Harry Turtledove. Del Rey, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-345-52465-2

Turtledove follows The Big Switch with a ponderous fourth volume in an alternative WWII saga in which the British and French have formed an uneasy alliance with Germany against the Russians. Once again, the action takes place on a variety of fronts, focusing not only on the battles that rage across Spain and Egypt but also on the personal stories in Philadelphia and Münster. The large cast of characters is handled adroitly, even when some are culled. The titular coup causes upheaval for the military brass, politicians, and common soldiers. Fans of battlefield action may be disappointed by the emphasis on character development, and by the end, the war feels nearly stagnant, despite the description of gains made in Russia and losses in the Pacific. It’s not clear how Turtledove will stretch the scenario to the planned fifth and sixth installments. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Aug.)