V-S Day: A Novel of Alternate History by Allen Steele
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's 1941, and Wernher von Braun is ordered by his Fuehrer to abandon the V2 rocket and turn German resources in a daring new direction: construction of a manned orbital spacecraft capable of attacking the U.S. Work on the rocket—called Silbervogel—begins at Peenemunde. Though it is top secret, British intelligence discovers the plan, and brings word to Franklin Roosevelt. The American President determines that there is only one logical response: the U.S. must build a spacecraft capable of intercepting Silbervogel and destroying it. Robert Goddard, inventor of the liquid-fuel rocket, agrees to head the classified project.
So begins a race against time—between two secret military programs and two brilliant scientists whose high-stakes competition will spiral into a deadly game of political intrigue and unforeseen catastrophes played to the death in the brutal skies above America.
A true fun read, and genuine page-turner. The basic concept of this book appealed to me when I first saw it, a combination of World War Two thriller, alternative history and hard sci-fi. The real bones of the plot is actually based on fact, with characters and places borrowed from real life and woven together with a conceivable story to form a great whole. The cover image is a little misleading, although it does portray the general idea of the story. The plot assumes that science is somewhat further ahead in 1941 than it actually was, and that's the 'alternate history' part of it at work. As I read this book, it seemed to me that the story would be well suited to a younger audience but the subject matter is probably more attractive to a middle-aged or older reader. Overall I can't really fault it, and Steele shows that he is a top author worthy of his success. If you like a swift and captivating storyline, action and intrigue, good guys and bad guys (Nazis) and a whole lot of fun, then read this.
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