Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Designated Targets: World War 2.2 by John Birmingham

Designated Targets is the second book in the Axis of Time trilogy.

When the international naval task force from 2021 appeared during the Battle of Midway in the accident which came to be known as the Transition everything changed.

Four months later the 2nd world war as we knew it is in disarray.

Russia has withdrawn from the War and has signed a cease-fore with the Germans. The once allies are now co-operating again in various areas of research. With knowledge of forthcoming events supplied by the Japanese both Hitler and Stalin purge their ranks of traitors real and imagined. Stalin has all those who would lead after him killed which leads to a revelation of a important fact that the allies are unaware and could lead to disaster.

Realising their mistakes the Japanese have moved their plans and invaded Australia. The bulk of 21st century forces are deployed to oppose them and desperate fighting develops as the Japanese start to wipe out whole towns.

But this slaughter is a mere diversion as the Japanese intended it as a means to deplete 21st century munitions. Using a French stealth cruiser that was captured by the Germans after it was lost during the transition, they launch a devastating attack and invade Hawaii.

With the flagship of the 21st century forces damaged and stripped for parts, returning to the USA the allied forces prepare for the bloody retaking of the islands.

To add to the confusion the Germans attempt to invade Britain even though their forces are not strong enough. Leading the defence is the HMS trident a 21st vessel, with a Captain and crew fighting to defend their country and be accepted as equals.

New technologies already starting to come into play years before they were due to, lead to a change in the balance of power but most importantly everyone now has access to the information needed to build the A bomb. It’s now not a case of who can build the bomb? But who will build it first?

Designated Targets continues the series in a very strong fashion and the cameos from historical figures continues apace. Several enterprising individuals start to sign up famous ‘stars’ years before they will become famous, such as Elvis and Marylin Monroe. One group of 21st Century Marines meet JFK still in command of a motor gunboat now renamed ‘The grassy Knoll’.

Tensions between the 21st century personnel and the people of 1942 continues to grow and seem to be heading for a conclusion that will not end well for anyone. Several characters also die making you realise no one is safe as the author happily kills them regardless of if their major or minor characters.

I will give Designated Targets 5 out of 5.

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