Is it the war to end all wars--or war without end? What began as a conflict in Europe, when Germany unleashed a lightning assault on its enemies, soon spreads to North America, as a long-simmering hatred between two independent nations explodes in bloody combat. Twice in fifty years the Confederate States of America had humiliated their northern neighbor. Now revenge may at last be at hand. Into this vast, seething cauldron plunges a new generation of weaponry changing the shape of war and the balance of power. While the Confederate States are distracted by an insurgency of African Americans who dream of establishing their own socialist republic, the United States are free to bring their military and industrial might directly to bear--and to unleash the most horrific armored assault the world has ever seen. Victory is at hand. But at a price that may be worse than war itself . . . From the Paperback edition.
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July 03, 2001
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Excerpt from Breakthroughs (The Great War, Book Two) by Harry Turtledove
I Klaxons hooted the call to battle stations. George Enos sprinted along the deck of the USS Ericsson toward the one-pounder gun near the stern. The destroyer was rolling and pitching in the heavy swells of an Atlantic winter storm. Freezing rain made the metal deck slick as a Boston Common ice-skating rink.
Enos ran as confidently as a mountain goat bounding from crag to crag. Ice and heavy seas were second nature to him. Before the war sucked him into the Navy, he'd put to sea in fishing boats from Boston's T Wharf at every season of the year, and gone through worse weather in craft a lot smaller than this one. The thick peacoat was warmer than a civilian slicker, too.
Petty Officer Carl Sturtevant and most of his crew were already at the depth-charge launcher near the one-pounder. The other sailors came rushing up only moments after Enos took his place at the antiaircraft gun.
He stared every which way, though with the weather so bad he would have been hard pressed to spot an aeroplane before it crashed on the Ericsson's deck. A frigid gust of wind tried to yank off his cap. He grabbed it and jammed it back in place. Navy barbers kept his brown hair trimmed too close for it to hold in any heat on its own.
"What's up?" he shouted to Sturtevant through the wind. "Somebody spot a periscope, or think he did?" British, French, and Confederate submersibles all prowled the Atlantic. For that matter, so did U.S. and German boats. If a friendly skipper made a mistake and launched a spread of fish at the Ericsson, her crew would be in just as much trouble as if the Rebs or limeys had attacked.
"Don't know." The petty officer scratched at his dark Kaiser Bill mustache. Shit, you expect --em to go and tell us stuff? All I know is, I heard the hooter and I ran like hell. He scratched his mustache again. "Long as we're standing next to each other, George, happy New Year."
"Same to you,-- Enos answered in surprised tones. "It is today, isn't it? I hadn't even thought about it, but you're right. Back when this damn war started, who would have thought it'd last into 1917?"
Not me, I'll tell you that, Sturtevant said.
Me, neither, George Enos said. "I sailed into Boston harbor with a hold full of haddock the day the Austrian grand duke got himself blown up in Sarajevo. I figured the fight would be short and sweet, same as everybody else."
Yeah, so did I, Sturtevant said. Didn't quite work out that way, though. The Kaiser's boys didn't make it into Paris, we didn't make it into Toronto, and the goddamn Rebs did make it into Washington, and almost into Philadelphia. Nothin comes easy, not in this fight.
"Ain't it the truth?" Enos agreed fervently. "I was in river monitors on the Mississippi and the Cumberland. I know how tough it's been."