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Opening Atlantis (Atlantis #1)

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  1,323 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
New York Times bestselling author Harry Turtledove has intrigued readers with such thought-provoking "what if..." scenarios as a conquered Elizabethan England in Ruled Britannia and a Japanese occupation of Hawaii in Days of Infamy and End of the Beginning. Now, in the first of a brand-new trilogy, he rewrites the history of the world with the existence of an eighth contin ...more
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published December 4th 2007 by Roc Hardcover
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Sep 08, 2008 Lil rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I have one word to describe this book. Rubbish!
Emily Park
Dec 12, 2011 Emily Park rated it it was ok

Harry Turtledove is most famous for his alternate history novels. In this book, the first of a trilogy, Turtledove explores the idea of an extra continent (or large island) in the Atlantic Ocean. Although this island is named Atlantis by its discoverers, it's not actually the lost Atlantis of legend. As you can see from the cover art above, Atlantis is basically the eastern United States, broken off from North America and now situated in the middle of the
Jan 03, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok
I was surprised by this book. I hadn't heard anything about it and when I saw Turtledove, I expected something along the lines of his other books.

That's not what I got.

Some of the dialogue is awkward and the pace is uneven -- this isn't what I expected. Some of his phrasing is trite and has a contemporary feel, but it's peppered with the odd nautical or idiomatic expression that doesn't blend well with the rest. It seems forced, as if he's saying, "They'll find this little gem interesting, so I'
Jan 18, 2012 Jamie marked it as abandoned
I started to read this book, but alas, I will not finish it. I cannot seem to get into the story, and even then, the story itself seems to be very boring. I do not want to waste my time on it as I have other more awesome books to read.
Sep 26, 2011 Dan rated it liked it
Turtledove never fails in creating new and interesting alternate history worlds. He has a keen grasp of economics and warfare, and can paint a pretty good picture of how things might have gone.

He lacks, however, the human touch. None of his characters ever really feel 3-D. They are simply props used to illustrate the course of his alternate history.

In this book, for example, we are given three novellas set in the mid-15th, late 16th and mid-18th centuries in a world where the eastern seaboard of
Aug 31, 2009 Dave rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, a little over a month later I tried to come back to this book and pick up where I left off deep into section 3.

No dice, tired of it after finishing the final 3 pages of Chapter 23. Pulled the bookmarker out and chunked it into the resell bag. A fist ever for any Harry Turtledove speculative fiction.

Far to grand in it ambitions? I don't know but this book really started to suffer from a disconnect after the first generational skip and the second did not improve at all.

In section three har
Jul 24, 2008 Cynthia rated it it was ok
I usually like alternate-history books, but this one disappoints. It's actually fantasy to me. Plus I usually like this author, but didn't like the style this time around. It wasn't clear to me what the change(s) were to history except for the existence of Atlantis - which you know about from the title - maybe I just don't know enough detailed history, but that was frustrating. Some of the characterizations were very well-done, and some of the plot suspenseful, but unfortunately that portion was ...more
Brian Maicke
May 05, 2011 Brian Maicke rated it it was ok
Don't think I will continue with the series. I had high hopes for the premise (What if Atlantis existed?) but rather than a traditional Atlantis with a lost civilization type story, it is simply an island that has not seen any human settlements in its long history.

The history story itself was somewhat interesting but moved slowly in places. The division of the book into three sections separated by generations was reminiscent of Steven Saylor's Roma, but did not seem to work as well. It was hard
Jul 21, 2009 Erinn rated it liked it
I have to admit I was glad to be over with this book. The first part was really interesting when they were settling Atlantis . I enjoyed how the main character was always working towards preventing war. The second part was ok but not into pirates. The third part about war was just not as interesting. I think if I was a guy and into war stories and fictional history I would be really into this book. However, I was expecting something else with the title of Opening Atlantis. Something more science ...more
Feb 08, 2009 Joanna rated it did not like it
Well, my family brought this to me to read in Russia, and they based their decision to bring this on "What Jo will like reading, but not be too committed to to bring home." Exactly. It's an alternate history of the New World, but doesn't seem to differ enough from the actual history of North America to make it innovative or even that interesting. It jumps around, chronicling the descendants of the "first settlers" in the mid-1400's until the eighteenth century, but the style is such that I neith ...more
May 08, 2011 Suz rated it it was ok
I was really hoping/expecting more sci-fi (or fantasy), and instead it's just an alternate look at what might happen if there was a landmass between the New World and Europe. It starts with the founding of a colony there and follows with a couple of stories involving people descended from the founder.

It's well written, but it's not something I would have read if not picked out for a book club.
Feb 03, 2009 Sulivan rated it it was ok
I wish this book was better, because the premise was very interesting: an alternate history starting in the 15th century, as if there were actually a continent in the Atlantic between North America and Europe. The book is interesting...but in my opinion just not very well-written.

Yeah, having finished it that pretty much sums up my opinon of this one.
Jun 13, 2012 Bobbi rated it it was ok
Difficult to relate to the characters. Storyline is there, but too hastily assembled. Hard to plow forward when my emotions are left roadside. I think this author had a couple hits, then phoned this one in.
Jan 18, 2017 Tori rated it liked it
I'm still trying to decide if I like this book. There was only one character, Victor, who I thought was well developed. I also thought there was too much disconnect between the times the story took place.
Nov 08, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove In this alternative history, Atlantis is a sizable land mass that sits in the Atlantic ocean between England and Terra Nova. Multiple generations of the Radcliffe family are followed in this book, starting in the 1400s during the War of the Roses. In Part 1, Edward Radcliffe and his family are the first Englishman to settle in Atlantis. Part 2 is set a few generations later. The family has split and William Radcliff wants nothing to do with his pirate cousin ...more
Mar 02, 2009 Christopher rated it liked it
Alternate history of the discovery of the New World and it's settlement. In the mid-1400's, cod-fisherman discover new lands to the west in the Atlantic. The land is not nearly as far west as America is in our world and the fishermen's discovery pre-empt Columbus (thus creating a larger presence of English, Breton French, and Basque colonists). The new land is dubbed Atlantis, distinguishing it from Terra Nova that more closely fits our North America. The land is devoid of all mammals (including ...more
Angus Whittaker
Feb 03, 2014 Angus Whittaker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Harry Turtledove's writing isn't going to awe anybody. He is not a great writer. That said, he is very imaginative, which makes up (at least in part) for his lack of writing skill. "Opening Atlantis" is, unsurprisingly, about Atlantis. This is a land, long thought to be the stuff of legend, that is discovered sometime in the Middle Ages, during the time of the Wars of the Roses. The continent lies in between the British Isles and North America.
Turtledove skips around in time. We go from the tim
Bill Ward
Jun 23, 2011 Bill Ward rated it it was ok
This is really three stories in one. Like Michener's epics, the book tells the story of the formation of an island's society by telling a series of stories about people discovering and living on the island. All the stories feature a main character from the Radcliffe (or Radcliff in some cases) family descended from the original main character.

The first story worked well for me. It is about a 15th century English fisherman who learns of a new land to the west from a Breton fisherman, and settles
Apr 01, 2008 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alt-history
This is an interesting book. I think it re-affirms my opinions on Turtledove, which is that he is a very intelligent theoretical historian (or what ever the term would be for someone who intelligently imagines historical "what if"s) and a passable writer.

In this book we experience a geographically altered earth. It seems that what we know as the eastern coast of the United States, has broken away (long ago) due to continental drift or tectonic plates or perhaps alien art forms. The end result is
Joel Flank
Aug 06, 2016 Joel Flank rated it really liked it
Turtledove turns out another engaging twist on alternate history. This time, he describes a world where a continent exists in the Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America, and naturally is named Atlantis. Opening Atlantis has three distinct stories, all focusing on the Radcliffe family.

In the first section, Edward Radcliffe and his crew are shown the newly discovered land by a fellow fisherman, and quickly becomes the first group of settlers in the mid-15th century. This story tells of t
This book is boring. It's not the most boring in the world, but that's the one word I use to describe it in a nutshell. After the first third of the book, I realized it would not be about Atlantis in any kind of science fiction-y way -- no mysterious humanoids, no aliens, no lost civilizations, just an undiscovered island with new plant and animal life. It basically reads like an in-depth history book with some dialogue and a decent amount of amusing passages. I hope this isn't spoiling anything ...more
Bryen O'Riley
Jun 09, 2014 Bryen O'Riley rated it did not like it
I hate to write negative things about another author's book. He put a lot of time and effort into it and I tend to just not write anything at all if I cannot write anything nice (something I try to stick to when I speak too!!).

That said, I feel it would be a disservice to someone thinking about spending their hard earned money on this book not to recommend they re-think their purchase...

All I can say is - I am a finisher of books. There are probably a handful of books that I have never bothered
Jun 23, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it
Note to self - need to read some other people's reviews so i can get an idea of what a typical template looks like :p

Anyways, for an alternate history book, the story was pretty interesting. I've only read one alternate history story in the past, and it covered what would have happened if things with the mayans would have went differently, leading up to differences in how Columbus was handled, all the way to the end of earth's time. I kind of wish that i would have saved that book's name and aut
Mark Cheathem
The book start out well enough with the discovery of Atlantis, a land located in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America. One gets a sense of what it would have been like to have discovered this new land.

The last section of the book, "Nouveau Redon," bogs down in the military maneuvers and doesn't have the same charm as the earlier sections. One could have been in Europe or North America and gotten the same story, and it's not very interesting either way.

Two additional complaints: W
Benjamin Thompson
Dec 25, 2013 Benjamin Thompson rated it really liked it
Turtledove is as ambitious as he is brilliant in this historical journey through the eyes of the Radcliffe family line over a span of more than 300 years. Three stories are put forward of the lives of Edward, William, Rodney, and Victor Radcliff(e). Edward discovers in 1491 a new sub-continent in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and calls it Atlantis. America is discovered a few years later, not by the Spanish, but by the French and it is called Terra nova. Edward and his sons Richard and Henry ...more
May 24, 2015 Wevans rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this alternative history where the Eastern Portion of the NA Continent is separate from Today's NA Continent (From Appalachian Foothills to the Eastern Coast).
The discovery was much earlier (1200) where English and France folks tired of the monarch escape to a new land.
Enjoyed the land descriptions as well as the fauna and flora descriptions (references of DoDo like birds, etc) which demonstrates that Turtledove did his research regarding species isolation and evolution of an enclosed
Jan 04, 2009 Craig rated it liked it
This novel stands apart from other Turtledove continuity but is an enjoyable read. The book's premise is that some point the east coast of North America broke from the rest of the continent, settling somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The "New World" is discovered by the French, English and ultimately the Spaniards.

The book follows three generations of settlers to the continent, focusing on the Radcliffe family. I enjoyed the was in which Turtledove parallels, but doesn't repeat ear
Feb 02, 2010 Wendy rated it it was ok
2.5 maybe. Not really what I expected of a book about a place called Atlantis, but probably what I should have expected from Harry Turtledove, alt-history author extraordinaire. The book was grounded in past history with a bit of what-if thrown in.

I liked part one (of three) the best, which followed the founding family of Atlantis and was about discovery and possibility before the inevitable conflicts. I just didn't get as attached to the characters from the other two parts so much (in sections
Jan 16, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: alternate history fans
While this book is not Turtledove's absolute best, Opening Atlantis is a good, solid novel based in an alternate world in which there is a small continent in the middle of the Atlantic made up of the land that would be the Eastern Seaboard of North America in our world, from New England to Florida.
It position leads to an earlier discovery date, allowing the author to explore the concept of European colonization at the time of the War of the Roses. He then carries the story forward,
Jul 05, 2012 Kevin rated it liked it
Turtledove is a well-known author of speculative fiction, and particularly alternative histories, though I've never read any of his books. So, I spotted this at the library and thought it would be a good place to start. Hopefully, for the sake of his other books, it wasn't. Essentially, the alternative in this history, is that the American Eastern seaboard is seperated from the rest of America by about two hundred miles and thus sitting in the Atlantic much closer to Europe. This leads to an alt ...more
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Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within this genre he is known both for creating original sce
More about Harry Turtledove...

Other Books in the Series

Atlantis (3 books)
  • The United States of Atlantis  (Atlantis, #2)
  • Liberating Atlantis (Atlantis, #3)

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