Settling Accounts: In at the Death
by Harry Turtledove
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345492470
Date: 31 July 2007 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The world is at war and all parties are racing to complete the bomb. Atlanta is nearly surrounded. The final push is on; the Confederacy struggles to survive the U.S. onslaught. The bomb may be the thing to save the struggling country. Around the world the German U.S alliance is making gains and putting the Confederacy and her allies on the ropes. Follow the wars conclusion and aftermath.
I enjoyed this conclusion to the series. Some of the repeated reminders of character traits can be found annoying to some. I find them useful at times and I think they were a little less pronounced in this volume. If you have read up to this point don't stop now. This is not the Novel to start with. This is the latest book in the TL-191 series that began in How Few Remain. That is the place to start. I stayed up until 3 am to finish this book, and then came to the realization that I couldn't discuss it with anyone for two months. That is the reviewer's curse, you get it early, read it, and then have to wait for others to catch up
Although I struggled to avoid putting spoilers in the review, I didn't feel comfortable not including them. If you are spoiler averse, please stop reading now.
The war will be over by around the middle of this novel. I was a little surprised by this, as I expected it would take longer to wrap up the war. Of course this allowed Harry Turtledove to explore plenty of the post war world and how people go on after the war is over. Only a couple of point of view characters die in this book. Neither is a surprise once you know the CSA is defeated. The biggest surprise death, to me was FitzBelmont. I expected that he would be kept alive in a solitary U.S. facility to continue his research.
The use of the bomb should make the future of this timeline very interesting. The U.S., CSA, Germany, and England all use bombs before the war's end. Other surviving nations are also very likely to be rushing to create their own bombs as well. The number of cities devastated by bombs is significant. I had wondered if the first bomb would end the war, it didn't and thus more cities were devastated that way than in our timeline.
For individual characters, the end of the war brought many different results. Some go home and pick up where they left off. Others try to just get on with their lives, but are forced to take action to protect their families. Cincinnatus Driver is in a tough position. His life will be difficult to reach normality. Driving during the war gave him a purpose, but now that he has returned, there does not seem to be much for him in Iowa but family.
I have spent a fair amount of time considering where things can go from the end point of this book. The fate of Cuba and Castro are high on my list on interest. I also wonder how Hispaniola will evolve. Will the Middle East be more stable with a surviving Ottoman Empire and no Israel? How long will the South remain unreconstructed? Will the Civil Rights Movement be altered to focus on occupied territory rights? I also wonder if there will be proxy wars or another big one. The Japanese have not been defeated, so their bellicose nature has remained unchecked.
I would like to see one more future volume. Similar to How Few Remain a few limited perspectives and lots of follow up. I would hope that it jumps forward 30 plus years and visits a few of the characters like Jorge. A possible title could be On to Unity. It would allow the exploration of the unification of North America under one ruling body.
From: Wayne N
I applaud Mr. Turtledove on his imagination, his attention to historical detail and even his occasional literary plays on words (a wonderful groaner on page 82 and I loved the "Frankly Mr. Butler, I don't give a damn" quote from General Morrell near the end).
One conclusion I came to some ago is that I enjoyed the author's TL-191, but I certainly wouldn't want to live in it.