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Book: The Grapple - Settling Accounts by Harry Turtledove

Book Review: The Grapple - Settling Accounts by Harry Turtledove

categories: Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction, alternate history

Author: Harry Turtledove
Publisher: Del Rey

 A Disappointing Carbon Copy of Real-Life History

I loved the first book in this series, "Return Engagement" and had high hopes that Turtledove would show the same flair for creative twists on familiar history that we saw in his version of World War 1. Instead, what we're getting is basically a fusion of World War 2 (the Confederacy making all the familiar German mistakes) and the US Civil War (the United States drives towards Atlanta while being bogged down north of Richmond). Anyone with a passing familiarity with those wars will recognize the battles that Turtledove has cut and pasted into his stories.

Then there are some characters who are really starting to get annoying with their "unkillability" - namely the "Immortal Three" of Irving Morrell, Sam Carsten and Jonathan Moss. While real history has examples of people who survived several tough scrapes, Morrell in particular has an aura of contrived survival around him. Shells hit his tank, but don't explode. Snipes shoot at him but only get his shoulder. A few of these I could believe but the sheer number of close calls he's survived is beyond belief.

There is plenty of fast-paced action and well written dialog in this book (as with all of them) which is what saves it from being a total loss but there is close to zero imagination in the storyline. I await the scene where Featherston commits suicide in his bunker with bated breath.

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