Armistice (Hot War)
by Harry Turtledove
Cover Artist: Susan Schultz
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Del Rey Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553390766
Date: 18 July 2017
One action can change the course of history. The decision to use an A-bomb on the Chinese after they entered the Korean Conflict, led to the widespread use of bombs around the globe. The Continental States have felt the heat of a second sun, just as the major European cities have. The fallout will be felt for generations to come.
The chance for peace comes when there is a change in leadership in the Soviet Union. But even peace is fraught with danger as a new world order is established. Some seek freedom, others a return to normalcy. Others still don't know what they'll do now that the guns are silent. One little decision can lead to others which seem logical but can, in the end, be wrong. Truman's choice led to this mess, others' choices saw it escalated. Some of the characters will have to live with the things they did, especially the pilots who rained nuclear fire on numerous cities. This is the situation only a few men faced in our world, in this world, many were involved some of whom couldn't live with their actions.
The aftermath unfolds through the eyes of multiple characters spread around the world. As is typical in these Turtledove novels, POV characters die. The devastation of this war is far greater than that of any previous war. It will take a long time to rebuild. The U.S. has lost several major cities, but the wealth of the country and the large swaths of protected inner states creates a base from which to grow.
There is a fair amount of this novel spent on the aftermath, but there is a lot of material which could be added. I for one would love to see how the world would develope in the next ten to twenty years. After such a hard-fought war between the West and Soviets, the Cold War which is likely to develop would be different, especially as some of the major players of our timeline have been cleared from the board.
This is the third and concluding volume of the Hot War series. It isn't the place to start for new readers, but the series is entertaining and explores life on the razor's edge. Turtledove has written numerous stories involving changes to our shared history. This series has a lot in common with Joe Steele an alternate history where Joseph Stalin rises to power in the U.S. This volume in particular notes the rapid changes in power which can occur when a strong man passes.