Allen Garvin's Reviews > Final Impact

Final Impact by John Birmingham
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's review
Feb 19, 2008

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Read in June, 2007

inal book in a trilogy that included Weapons of Choice and Designated Targets. A fleet from 2020 gets thrown back in time to 1942 right before Midway. The first two books were very intelligent, but were basically alternative-history-technothrillers. This last one is darker and ambivalent. It's two years since the previous book. At the end of the last, the Soviets and Germans agreed to a cease fire because of the threat of the western democracies. Now, 2 years later, the Japanese invaded Australia and Hawaii, but got repelled. The allied invasion into France is just starting. Several characters have died in the meantime. The darker side of the "good guys" is on display here. No qualms about torturing or humiliating their enemies, or killing in the cold blood. Admiral Kolhammer manipulates politics and goes behind Roosevelt's back. Roosevelt comes across as peevish and unwilling to look at the long term. Duffy is haunted by the ruin of her contemporary marriage and deaths of her friends. Halfway through the book, the Soviets get the bomb first and use it on Lodz. The Germans retalliate with chemical and biological weapons. Then the US drops 3 bombs on Berlin. The future will be vastly different, but instead of giving some hints as to how, the novel ends with personal notes about several of the characters returning to civilian life. Interesting, but ultimately disappointing end to a trilogy that started so great.

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