Alternate history is one of my favorite genres. What if something had gone a little differently in history? How would the world be today if that had happened? Harry Turtledove is one of the premier authors of alternate history. Coup D’Etat: The War That Came Early is the fourth book in a six-book series that ponders what would have happened had the British and French not tried to appease Hitler, but had instead challenged him earlier.
In Coup D’Etat: The War That Came Early, it is the winter of 1941. Faced with a rising threat from Russia, the leaders of France and England decided that fighting with the Germans against Russia was better than allowing Russia to conquer eastern Europe. Soldiers who were once enemies are now fighting on the same side.
However, not everyone is on board with this Especially in England, where Winston Churchill died under mysterious circumstances (thus eliminating one of the loudest anti-Nazi voices there), there are many people unhappy with fighting alongside the Nazis.
Harry Turtledove does here what he usually does in a novel. The stories are told from the viewpoints of various characters, all who are demonstrating a different angle of the war. Unfortunately, there are so many characters that it seems we read just a few pages about each one, and then we are over to another character. Other than what’s happening in England, not much seems to advance here. Turtledove is terribly repetitive. Every time he switches to a character he writes about what is going on with them at the time, and it seems to be the same thing over and over again with little advancement.
I could see England possibly switching to the side of the Nazis, since it was known that some of the Royal Family had some pretty close ties to them, but France? That’s hard to swallow. That was really the most interesting part of the story, although I found that switching to one side and then back to the other was somewhat hard to believe.
In the United States, the story mostly centers on trying to teach the populace about the Nazi threat. They are battling Japan, but not taking a side in Europe just yet. The book follows a socialite, who was trapped in Germany when the Nazis raided the European resort she was staying at, as she travels the country trying to drum up support for what the President wants to do.
If I wasn’t so invested in the series and wanted to see how it turns out, I’d probably quit reading here, to be honest. I’ve read many (most?) of Turtledove’s books, so I know what to expect, but it gets frustrating to read the same things over and over and feel like I’m getting nowhere. That’s the case at this point in the series. I get that war is hell and there’s a lot of time waiting around for things to happen, but this just drags so terribly that I’m frustrated with the entire series.
Previous book in the series (link): The Big Switch: The War That Came Early
Next book in the series (link): Two Fronts: The War That Came Early