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Starting in 1898 with the final throws of the Martian invasion, humanity is at a breaking point. However, the human bacteria prove deadly to the Martians and on mass, they die, leaving their advanced technology for the humans to scavenge. Skipping ahead to 1924, the world leaders have decided it’s time to take the fight to Mars and a massive invasion is launched.
I’m a fan of HG Wells’s works, including the original War of the Worlds. So of course I was thrilled to dive into a novel that told a story of what humans did afterwards. How does a failed Martian invasion change the course of humanity’s history? Gardner and Rust give a decent answer to that question.
I think this book would have extra interest to those who have studied WWI. There’s plenty of European and North American names to recognize in this novel such as Charles de Gaulle, Rommel, George Patton, and so on. You don’t have to be particularly knowledgeable about any of these historical figures to enjoy their characters in this tale. I was a bit surprised that the Asian countries weren’t represented at all. Also, since it was a world wide Martian invasion in 1898, I was initially hopeful to see how that great leap in tech affected many of the countries in Africa and South America. Alas, those continents are barely mentioned.
There’s plenty of great tech in this tale. First, I really enjoyed that some tested and true war machines of WWI were in this book, like the Fokker airplanes. There’s also some brand new vehicles made especially for the Martian invasion. However, I did notice that the physics of Mars was skimmed over when it came to actual battles.
Now, let me get out my little polished soap box. There is exactly 1 female character (Nurse Hill) in this entire book and she doesn’t appear until the last hour of the story and she isn’t plot relevant at all. There’s a few other ladies mentioned as wives or mothers. This pains me. Here we are in this fascinating science fiction novel that’s essentially about the survival of the species, and the women aren’t present. Sigh…
OK, so moving on. I loved that we got a look into Martian society through the Martian characters. Their society is suffering from stagnation and the inability for their leaders to admit that there’s a real threat coming from Earth. I really enjoyed watching the various Martians struggle with this.
The pacing of the story is good with strategy, reflection, and action all well intermingled. I never suffered from battle fatigue nor did I feel that the story bogged down here or there. As an aside, I liked that Hitler was receiving psychiatric help and was an exceptionally minor character in this book.
I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobook Worm.
The Narration: Samuel Hoke was a very good fit for this story. He performed several different accents as needed and was consistent with them throughout the story. Each character was distinct.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I picked this book up and set it down a few times before being able to get through it. I love science fiction and don't even mind that it's a sequel -- but there was something about the way this book was written that just didn't sit well with me. That being said, I did finish it (which I don't alway do).
What this book helped me realize is that alternate history books can be awesome when some of the research is done correctly. Even if it's meant to be a crazy different timeline there are still things that make more sense now than they would back then. Retaliation had some of this and while other parts felt just right.
The action of this book was really well written. I can tell a lot of time went into crafting the perfect action scenes and making them flow from one to another. The ability to keep a book packed with this much action without making it feel overdone surprised me.
A slightly 'cinematic' narration -- War of the Worlds Retaliation both hit and missed marks throughout. I don't know if it's because it's been a long time since I've read the original War of the Worlds or what, but the intro/first few chapters felt really hard to get into for me. Sure there was action almost right away but I wasn't 100% sure why things were happening the way they were.
The narration for War of the Worlds Retaliation was done by Samuel E. Hoke III who does a really nice job. Professionally recorded with lots of stuff going on, Hoke allows this book to flow nicely.
I received a free copy of this book. It has not affected my review of my opinion.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
This story concept is simply delicious, being based on an alternate history following a famous, but fictional, invasion: that of the Martians in Wells' War of the Worlds. As such, it not only turns history on it's head and includes famous named historical figures - Stalin Lloyd George, Charles de Gaulle, Rommel, Kaiser Wilhelm II and President Maginot, amongst others - but also allows for numerous delightful little vignettes, such as Rommel, on his way to board the spaceship as part of earth's attacking fleet, is held up by a group of men in brown shirts led by a man with a toothbrush moustache who rages on about the Martians only being puppets of Jews, the real threat to humanity. Rommel promptly has his men arrest this unknown madman, Hitler, and carries on to board hi spaceship, annoyed that the encounter made his arrival twenty minutes late.
This is a straightforward tale of retaliation against st the Mars invasion which, 26 years prior to the commencement had slaughtered millions of earth people and was only stopped by the Martians falling ill and overcome by viruses in the atmosphere to which they had no resistance. Technologically vastly superior to the eathmen at the end of the 1800s, the Martians left their war machines behind as they died, equipment that was reverse engineered, thus thrusting the Earth into space travel capability in the early 20th century and even drawing together a loose, if uneasy alliance of most of the world's nations in a determination to wipe out the home world of their attackers, Mars.
The real joy of the book, in addition to the battle scenarios, is the personalities, rivalries and intrigues of the named leaders - Baria, the soviet commander, is given an especially bad press. The narrator, Samuel Hoke III, gives fine voice to all of the nuances of conflict, both of physical fighting and the dispositions of the characters. His rich, deep reading might seem a little hesitant at first but soon proves perfect for the time setting.
A most enjoyable book. My thanks to the rights holder who gifted me my copy, via Audio book Boom. It was a great idea, exciting, humorous at times, and well executed with an immediate feeling of reality. A book I am happy to recommend.
Any additional comments?
This is set decades after the original war of the worlds.
It also has real characters from history (which surprised me, since I wasn't expecting it).
I loved the characters because they all thought and acted differently. This gave them and the story a more 3D effect.
The story deals with response to the original invasion and how technology advanced from the use of the captured alien spacecraft. It also contains some politic and how some countries acted after the invasion. This I believe gives it more realism unlike some other books that I have read where the countries come together without any arguing or having there own agenda. Also what I love about this book is that no one country is the hero. It is the different countries working together to achieve their objective just like WWII.
There is swearing in this book and mild violence.
I was voluntarily provided this review copy audio book at no charge by the author, publisher, and/or narrator.