Genre Military Science Fiction Publisher Del Rey Year Published 2005 Review Posted on 9/21/2006 Reviewer Rating
Settling Accounts Book 2: Drive to the East, by Harry Turtledove
Reviewed by S. Fazekas
If you've read this book, why not
Harry Turtledove's "Settling Accounts: Drive to the East", is the second in the Settling Accounts trilogy, but the ninth in his American alternate history fantasy that started with "How Few Remain." This story pits an over-extended Confederacy against a USA with its collective back to the wall.
Turtledove resorts to his trademark multiple-protagonist viewpoint, setting the scenes and telling the story from the eyes of dozens of well-developed and likable characters (well, maybe Jake Featherstone, the President of Turtledove's CSA, isn't so likable after all). The story is about the Confederacy's high-water mark in its second war against the USA. The United States is at war with just about everyone you can think of: the CSA, Britain, Japan, and Mormon guerrillas in Utah. Turtledove puts the reader right in the middle of the action, which doesn't let up until the very end - but this ending will leave you hanging.
For all that this story moves at a lightning pace, Turtledove threads contemporary occurrences with the alternate history presented here in a very predictable way. And as such, it left me a tiny bit disappointed. For example, he uses the German experience on the Russian front almost verbatim, right down to the Stalingrad debacle in describing what his fictional CSA must contend with as it pushes north through Ohio. Jake Featherstone shares more than a few character traits with Adolf Hitler, up to and including devising a Final Solution for a sub-population he finds bothersome. The Mormon guerillas find a particularly abhorrent way to strike back at their USA tormentors, using a tactic any Palestinian terrorist will recognize.
Nevertheless, Turtledove delivers a rousing tale chock-full of action and real historical figures put into situations they can't deal with. In addition, Turtledove forces the reader to think about topics like race relations, Marxism vs. Capitalism, and the efficacy of war as a method of conflict resolution. Fans of Turtledove will not be disappointed, and those not familiar with his work will be quickly drawn in.