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Final Impact (2007)

by John Birmingham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Axis of Time (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
500636,700 (3.63)14
"The action is nonstop, the characters very real--and very different from each other--and, to coin a phrase, it makes you think."--S. M. Stirling, author of Island in the Sea of Time In the year 2021, a multinational fleet--experimenting with untested weapons technology--pitched through time, crash-landing in 1942. The world is thrown into chaos as Roosevelt, Hitler, Churchill, Tojo, and Stalin scramble to adapt to new, high-tech killing tools, and twenty-first-century ways of war. For "uptimers" like Britain's Prince Harry and the men and women who serve aboard the supercarrier USS Hillary Clinton, war is a constant struggle with their own downtime allies, who are mired in ignorance and bigotry. As the Allies counter the Nazi assault and set off for the coast of France, Japan begins to buckle, soon every battle will be played out in a lethal dance of might and intelligence, unholy alliances and desperate gambles, and each clash will be fought with the ultimate weapon; knowledge from the future. Thanks to the historical records, all sides know that two superpowers will emerge while the losers will be pounded into submission. But time has shifted on its axis, so none know who will survive or how peace will take hold in a world turned upside down. These are the questions that John Birmingham brilliantly answers in his critically acclaimed adventure of war and imagination.… (more)
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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
In this third instalment, things finally come to a climax. The Russians under Stalin have been busy and want to avoid the mistakes of the alternate history. That they are the first in this world to develop nuclear weapons seems to put them in the catbird seat. The American admiral from the future recognizes the Soviets as an even bigger threat than the Nazis and Japanese but passions are so inflamed over the latter that his warnings are not taken seriously until too late. The uptimers are in conflict with the downtimers (who appreciate the toys but don't want to play by "modern" rules) and it is a wonder that anybody really has time to fight a world war.

In the first two volumes, Birmingham did a good job of setting up conflicts and situations that the reader would reasonably expect to be solved by the third volume. They were but they were not done so in a particularly pleasing manner. What seemed like major story lines are solved with hardly a whimper and the war itself is ended almost on a note of anticlimax.

Having read the first two, this one was certainly worth the effort to finish but it could have been more. The story ends with the possibility of further sequels but now I am unsure if I would want to invest time in them.

Did I like the book? Yes. Was I let down by the ending? Yes. ( )
  Jawin | Jan 1, 2015 |
#3 of 3 all read within a couple of weeks on Kindle. Our multiple 21st century heroes continue to fight WWII as the story line diverges from the baseline truth. The characters also develop private lives and emerge as their own persons. Conflicts continue between historical and fictional characters and WWII ends in a slightly different way. I sure wish that the author had written another installment. ( )
  buffalogr | Oct 29, 2013 |
#3 of 3 all read within a couple of weeks on Kindle. Our multiple 21st century heroes continue to fight WWII as the story line diverges from the baseline truth. The characters also develop private lives and emerge as their own persons. Conflicts continue between historical and fictional characters and WWII ends in a slightly different way. I sure wish that the author had written another installment. ( )
  buffalogr | Oct 13, 2013 |
Apart from the fact that there would appear to be a book missing here, this final installment in the Axis of Time series is as action packed as it's predecessors.

The action starts a couple of years after the last book finishes, with the allies commencing operation Overlord, striking at the Pas de Calais as the German forces already know that they should be invading in Normandy. The action sequences are all that you could ask for with that strange mixture of modern and past technologies that make you blink. However, there has been definite developments in our cast of characters that would make it appear as if there is a missing book between Designated Targets and Final Impact - it's almost as if Mr Birmingham realised he could easily have had another book between the two, but was, for whatever reason, constrained to limit the series to a proper trilogy (not like Douglas Adams's trilogy in five parts :-)). ( )
1 vote JohnFair | Aug 3, 2008 |
Not spoiler free.

If you've continued this far you'll be happy to know that JB has cheerfully and ruthlessly not deviated from his mission of messing with your expectations, as the end of this trilogy has produced a world much uglier then what was actually experienced. Multiple nuclear weapons have been used, Hitler & Stalin have behaved in an even more beastly fashion then they did in real life, and World War III seems scheduled to begin in 1950.

My main question at the end of the second book was just how Birmingham was going to wrap up World War II as a trilogy. The answer is to skip 1943 and end the war in 1944! This means that many stories that looked imperative in the second book are merely backstory here, and which ones I'm not going to give away.

All in all, this is one of the best alternate history series I've ever read and I look forward to seeing what Birmingham does next with his characters; be it prequel or sequel. ( )
  Shrike58 | Jul 5, 2007 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Birminghamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Perini, BenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"The action is nonstop, the characters very real--and very different from each other--and, to coin a phrase, it makes you think."--S. M. Stirling, author of Island in the Sea of Time In the year 2021, a multinational fleet--experimenting with untested weapons technology--pitched through time, crash-landing in 1942. The world is thrown into chaos as Roosevelt, Hitler, Churchill, Tojo, and Stalin scramble to adapt to new, high-tech killing tools, and twenty-first-century ways of war. For "uptimers" like Britain's Prince Harry and the men and women who serve aboard the supercarrier USS Hillary Clinton, war is a constant struggle with their own downtime allies, who are mired in ignorance and bigotry. As the Allies counter the Nazi assault and set off for the coast of France, Japan begins to buckle, soon every battle will be played out in a lethal dance of might and intelligence, unholy alliances and desperate gambles, and each clash will be fought with the ultimate weapon; knowledge from the future. Thanks to the historical records, all sides know that two superpowers will emerge while the losers will be pounded into submission. But time has shifted on its axis, so none know who will survive or how peace will take hold in a world turned upside down. These are the questions that John Birmingham brilliantly answers in his critically acclaimed adventure of war and imagination.

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