When alien beings armed with devastatingly superior military technology and bent on conquest invaded earth, Allied and Axis forces were already engaged in a bloody conflict - the Second World War - that spanned the whole globe. Suddenly, humans had to stop fighting each other and unite against this deadly new enemy from beyond the Solar System.
From China to North Africa, from hit-and-run cavalry raids in the American West to tank clashes in Eastern Europe, the worldwide conflict raged. Now battlefield defeats, supply shortages, guerrilla warfare in their occupied territories, rebellion within their own ranks and atomic attacks forced the alien leaders to rethink drastically their strategy and tactics. Was it going to be necessary to destroy Earth in order to save it . . . ?
Turtledove's grand tetralogy of an alternate WWII interrupted by an alien invasion draws to a satisfactory conclusion in this follow-up to Upsetting the Balance, and with a few surprises to boot. The Chinese woman Liu Han, for example, is seen climbing the hierarchy of the Chinese Communist Party as it comes under the control of Mao Zedong. Moishe Russie helps negotiate the final armed truce between the alien Lizards and the humans, with the Lizards withdrawing from most human territory in return for being allowed to settle many deserts in anticipation of the arrival of their colonists. (Neither side can survive an indefinitely prolonged nuclear exchange, and the Lizard edge in technology has been rapidly vanishing.) Readers will be happy to see Ludmila Gorbunova and Heinrich Jaeger reunited, and to note their roles in the final disposition of the heroic lunatic Otto Skorzeny. Turtledove's historical scholarship, narrative technique, dry wit and deft characterization distinguish this novel just as they did its predecessors, making it a rousing wrap-up to a monument of alternate history from a master of the genre.