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    Review of THE VICTORIOUS OPPOSITION by Harry Turtledove


    Del Rey, August 2003

    Although they were defeated in the Great War (counterpart to WWI), the Confederate States haven't given up the idea of getting revenge. Now ruled by Jake Featherston (Hitler), the south has began a campaign of genocide against the African Americans, incited rebellion in the territories occupied by the Union, and violated all of their agreements to remain disarmed. THE VICTORIOUS OPPOSITION is the countdown to war with the Union doing everything it can to avoid it--even if it means appeasement.

    Author Harry Turtledove (see more reviews of novels by Turtledove) has created a powerful alternate reality in the GREAT WAR/AMERICAN EMPIRE series of which this is fifth novel. Aided by Britain and France, the south won the civil war. When the United States allied with Germany during the Great War, France, Britain, and the Confederacy were defeated. Like the Germans in our own reality, the seeds of future violence were planted in that victory.

    Turtledove tells his story from the point of view of a number of characters--a builder in Los Angeles, an officer on an aircraft carrier, a lawyer in occupied Canada, a farmer in free Quebec--including several senior officers and politicians. Some of these characters are more interesting than others (and some are dying, having played out their roles in earlier novels). Because Turtledove uses so many characters, he has developed strong character tags--which sometimes step over the barrier into repetition.

    While a few of the point-of-view characters fail to move the story along, THE VICTORIOUS OPPOSITION still makes fascinating reading. It is interesting to think of a divided United States (and dramatically different voting patterns within the current U.S. make it even more interesting as readers contemplate a southern President who lies his nation into war) and how a different outcome in the American Civil War would have affected the entire course of history (would we have considered the Austrian reaction to the assassination of the Arch-Duke as justifiable in light of the terrorism that Serbia supported?).

    The book could have stood a careful edit and some trimming, but Turtledove's story-telling overcomes these limitations.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 8/23/03

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