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Only my second foray into speculative fiction. The first being the endearing and phenomenal ‘The Man in the High Castle’ by sci-fi genius Phillip K. Dick. I don’t usually like buying books that I know nothing about, only having the blurb on the back and the praise by newspapers, magazines and websites I have never heard of to go on. Whether it was a lapse in judgment or I was just feeling dangerous that day, I decided to take a risk and buy it.
Red Inferno offers a very intriguing ‘what if?’ scenario. It’s the tail end of World War 2, the allies have defeated the Nazi’s and the World rejoices and has a big party. That is until those dastardly Soviets put the old knife in the back and we get World War 2.5.
I give credit to the author for research. He is obviously a very smart and enthusiastic person when it comes to History and military maneuvers. He knows his stuff and kudos to him for that. In terms of crafting a story and creating engaging characters, more research needs to be done. I was utterly bored throughout, the characters were so cookie cutter and remarkably unrealistic I thought I was reading a screenplay for the next Stallone flick. I find it very hard to believe that in the midst of War, a War that has gone on a long time that the American soldiers and American people remain so upbeat when the rest of the World is crumbling in despair. It came across as incredibly biased towards the American army and American people. All the other Allied countries are either weak, devious or ready to implode upon itself. But America just take it in stride, which is contrary to the belief at the time. It all just came across as very Hollywood, an Action film with ideas well passed their due date.
Churchill came across as a blithering idiot and Stalin as a comic book villain. Fear not though as the American President was such a cool cat that he feared little. Ignoring the fact that the War had nearly bankrupt them, but we will ignore that because if that came into the story. The Americans would have cause for concern and we can’t make it appear like there are frailties within America. Those things are only a concern for other countries that lack the courage to stand up against Stalin’s plan to take over the World…or something like that.
Another thing I found disappointing was the lack of social and political changes due to this alternate history change. I was looking forward to seeing what else had changed, but we get mere mention of how the public is handling an extension to the War. There are so many other things affected by Stalin’s devious actions, it was sad that we only get to hear from a limited viewpoint.
Overall, it was probably one of the worst books I have read. Not a lick of excitement, vanilla characters and a very tiresome philosophy about America during World War Two. I don’t doubt the American Army during this time and any other time are filled with strong, brave and honourable men, but it all just came across as very Hollywood, an Action film with ideas well passed their due date. Along with the lack of imagination and poorly constructed characters, I shall be staying away from his other works.