In his most recent World War II alternate history, Turtledove takes on the period immediately after the Confederacy's 1941 surprise bombing attack on the Union capital at Philadelphia. Mirroring the state of the world after Pearl Harbor, this novel has the Confederate Army sending its troops deep into Union territory as the Socialist U.S. retaliates by attacking Charleston. Meanwhile, Mormon Utah tries once again to secede from the Union, rebels from occupied Canada sabotage U.S.

railways and blacks in the North react to horrific reports of genocide in the Confederate States. This is the best of several recent outings in this series. With realistic parallels to real-world events such as the Holocaust and the French Resistance movement, Turtledove accomplishes a thought-provoking reflection on American race relations without belittling the historical truth.

As usual, characterization suffers in lieu of attention to historical and military detail, but several main players stand out, including the Hitleresque CSA president Jake Featherstone, Canadian resistance fighter Mary Pomeroy and black Southern laborer Cincinnatus, who finds himself in the middle of a resistance movement aimed at destroying the Confederacy's concentration camp system. In such a dense volume, some repetitious description is unavoidable, but in this hair-raising, action-packed narrative, it's easy to overlook such minor faults. In addition, plenty of back story is provided for readers not up to speed with the previous six volumes in this saga. (Aug., 623 pp., $26.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum