First off, this is my first novel by Turtledove, who I’ve heard about for years. I used to teach US history, so I really got a kick out of the deft blending of actual historical actors/events with fantasy.
I greatly enjoyed almost everything about this book. The only reason I am at 4.5 stars is because I just can’t make the jump to 5 because of the dialogue, which I thought was far less “masterful” than the rest of the book. For whatever reason, the dialogue often pulled me out of the story. Not because it was anachronistic, just because it often felt a little clunky. I think it was even more noticeable when compared to the rest of the book. The author’s ability to paint a picture and scene with words is amazing. His alternate vision is also chilling and makes for a page-turning read. If this were a first or even second or third attempt, I would probably bump up the half star. However, it seems like somebody who has been writing this long might offer more compelling and smooth dialogue. The dialogue made the novel feel”distant” to me, if that makes any sense.
All in all, I found the book very enjoyable. The blurb says this book is a good place to start if you’ve never read a Turtledove book before and I have to agree as I had no problem getting into the swing of things right from the first page. The author is great at pulling the reader in without devolving into heavy backstory or resorting to annoying info dumps (well, not any that I noticed, but I suppose my opinion might be different if I had read the prior 2 books.
I would read another book by Turtledove, but probably not the first 2 in this trilogy