Saturday, February 27, 2010

Opening Atlantis. by Harry Turtledove

Opening Atlantis. by Harry Turtledove

Alternate history is one of my favorite genres, and Harry Turtledove is undeniably one of the masters of this oeuvre. Sadly, Opening Atlantis didn't meet my considerable expectations. The idea is interesting: millions of years ago the eastern coast of North America from Florida to Nova Scotia broke away from the mainland and is located much further east than in our world, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Being closer to Europe this eighth continent is discovered earlier, although the British and the French still both manage to become dominant. A rich milieu in which to tell stories, but I had a difficult time staying interested here. There is a brief exploration of the island during the initial colonization, but Turtledove jumps altogether too quickly into war; he has a wealth of experience with this topic, but with such a rich backdrop it feels almost like a cop-out to devolve into a pastiche of the French and Indian War. Not a terrible book, but far below Turtledove's usual effort.

First Sentence:
Edward Radcliffe steered the St. George toward Le Croisic.

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