Monthly Archive: April 2016

Tales of Brave Ulysses (Timeline 10/27/62)

Tales of Brave Ulysses (Timeline 10/27/62) is the sixth book by James Philip in a Brit-centric alternate history take on the aftermath of a Cuban Missile Crisis turned spasmodic WW3. Over in hours, or so it seems, but everything is changed.

I love this title. The author has a fondness for using song titles as book titles, and the Cream song of the same name is one of my favorites.

This is the last one out as I write this, and thus the last in my reread project for this spacific series. There is a parallel series, currently at three books, set from an American perspective, largely in the United States.

Fair warning: This books ends in the cliffhanger to eclipse his previous cliffhangers. Unless you have paid unnatural attention to detail, you will end the book by crying out “nooooooooo!” I admire the skill that went into building that ending. Fantastic! Luckily, the next volume is out soon. I have preordered it. There will be enough chaos, even without Philip being proverbially ghost-written by GRRM.

Obviously, I love the series. I have pointed out some modest complaints previously. The need for editing continues. Other things improved, or didn’t strike me as hard. Your mileage may vary. I can see some people simply not liking the type of story at all, or failing to get into it at the beginning.

By the end of this book, there has been some cutting to the chase, so to speak. What is known versus what is not known is always a driver of story, but ultimately must resolve for a conclusion to occur. Things look grim, but people who need to know now do, with help from the most surprising of sources. And there needs to be some action! Some tidying up loose ends. The next book is the last set in the sixties, within the years immediately following the nuclear madness. There will be two more, but the last is going to be set a decade later. That could be intriguing.

The Burning Time (Timeline 10/27/62)

The Burning Time (Timeline 10/27/62 Book 5) by James Philip is the fifth in a series of alternate history books, which together will complete an overall story arc, with a point of departure in which the Cuban Missile Crisis gets critical. It proves to be no more the end of history than was the end of the Cold War, although the United States starts out perceiving it as such. Lack of vigilance, lack of complete information, vanity, and lack of appreciation for who your friends are has its price – especially for your friends.

This set of books in the timeline are mainly written from a British perspective. There is an additional, overlapping series showing events almost entirely in the United States, and from an American perspective. You might also say that a Maltese perspective plays a key role in this, the main series. Malta is certainly the star among locations. Finally, this volume, and some of the others, are not without the perspective of historical or imagined characters in or from foreign locations. More often you merely see the impact on world events of what antagonists are doing.

The Burning Time is a bargain $3.99 on Kindle. As mentioned previously, and so far true throughout the series, editing could have improved things. Not the story, but the effect of skidding to a halt in the flow when you, if you’re like me, run into a typo, spelling error, repeated word, or such. The story is so compelling, at least for me, and the major characters so dear to me, it is well worth errors and periodic trudges through expository setup.

Red Dawn continues to raise havoc, while there are signs of danger that could be described as elsewhere… elusive. We tend to believe what we want to believe, and to dismiss what seems farfetched. This book ends on gut-wrenching notes that again are something of a cliffhanger. Luckily you will not have to wait to be able to read book six. Book seven is another story, and the cliffhanger therein is the ultimate, but that’s another review.

Red Dawn (Timeline 10/27/62)

I’ve been slipping, so I actually finished Red Dawn (Timeline 10/27/62 Book 4) some time ago and didn’t immediately write a review. This is, as you’ll know if you’ve been following along at home, the fourth in the primary, Brit-centric Cuban Missile Crisis alternate history and aftermath series by James Philip. In fact, you will see three reviews in rapid succession, because I have also finished the fifth book, and am about to finish rereading the sixth book in the series. After which there will be a sad wait for the seventh.

It’s hard to write reviews that are interesting without containing spoilers. Red Dawn is $3.99, a Kindle bargain, naturally. It carries on with the need for editing, which didn’t hit me so hard on my first read through. I’ve actually been catching more errors of various types this time around, having become attuned to it, and because it’s a reread. If you can’t bear that kind of thing, you might want to pass. Also, I am not referring to British spellings or expressions, which are natural, considering. The wife recently observed that British English is currently gaining greater use in American English due to the popularity of BBC shows. This came up because a blogger friend of mine was told “speak English” in response to the expression “sod off.” I joked that sod off is British for “get off my lawn.”

Onward. Shockingly, something called Red Dawn comes to the fore in this volume. It continues to be clear that war is not done with the Anglosphere… even the Americans, and that the British and Americans need to be on the same side. The end is the usual cliffhanger, where you can’t be sure just how dire an outcome was until the next book. Good thing that’s already published!

Once again, well worth the read. With another caveat I ought have pointed out sooner, and which varies in degree from book to book in the series. There are swaths of exposition interspersed between action. Some is simply authorial exposition, and some is in the form of dry conversation or thoughts internal to a character. It does serve to set things up and move matters along, but it can be dull in places. Another picky thing is repetition of detail you’ve already seen enough that perhaps you need not see it again. If you are going to refer to “the Big Cats,” you should not need to clarify every single time that this refers to the ships HMS Lion and HMS Tiger. We don’t need to be retold every time that a particular character, a real historical figure, is a living national treasure yada yada. I’ve been finding that a bit grating on the reread, and it applies to the series, not to Red Dawn specifically.

That said, read it if you have any interest in this sort of thing. It really is great, picky details aside.