This book describes the opening stages of World War II in Harry Turtledove's alternate history series SETTLING ACCOUNTS. Jake Featherston, ruthless dictator of the Confederate States and leader of its ruling Freedom Party, has launched a surprise attack on the United States (June 22, 1941), seeking to avenge his country's defeat in the Great War (1914-17).
Using "blitzkreig" tactics combining superior barrels (tanks) with tactical air support and mobile infantry formatives, the Confederate forces strike northward across Ohio and effectively cut the United States in half by reaching Lake Erie. Featherston expects that the United States will sue for peace, but President Al Smith continues the fight.
This conflict is fought more brutally than the Great War, with leading officers on both sides targeted for assassination. The leading American barrel expert, Irving Morell, barely survives such an attempt on his life while his Confederate counterpart, George S. Patton Jr.,is dominating the battlefields of Ohio.
New weapons are in the development stage, with the United States setting up a secret research facility in the Pacific Northwest. On land, sea and air, however, the Americans and their allies (Germany and Austria-Hungary) are on the hard-pressed defensive against a multitude of enemies (Confederate States, Great Britain, France, Japan, Mexico and Russia). The air war becomes increasingly destructive of both sides' cities, culminating in Smith's death during a Confederate bombing of Philadelphia.
The review of this Book prepared by Crimson Kid (CK)
Return Engagement: Book One of the Settling Accounts Trilogy
Del Rey, Aug 2004, 26.95, 623 pp.
Less than three decades have passed since The Great War ended all wars though rivalry and hatred persist. North America has had a fragile peace, and resentment grows from those who lost the Great War, but in 1941 America's hope for the future under the rule of Socialist President Al Smith has grown. President of the Confederate States of America Jake Featherston shatters the dream, sending his bombers on a sneak attack of Philadelphia, capital of his northern enemies. Jake expected the Americans and in his weak minded leader would immediate break, but shockingly they retaliate by bombing Charleston. Still the Gray Army blitzkrieg across the USA reaches Lake Erie in a tide of destruction.
Meanwhile the Mormons once again try to secede from the Union to forge a theocracy in Utah, fortress Canada supporters demolish the needed rail link, and Northern Negroes led by CSA compatriot Louis Armstrong bitterly scream of genocide in the south. The latest Greatest War has exploded all over the North American continent and even as far away as Alaska under Tsarist rule and is in jeopardy of blood flowing.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner