Thursday, April 28, 2016

Reviewing William Overgard’s The Divide

First of all, this wasn’t a post that was supposed to be written.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love The Divide. It is, in fact, one of my favourite alternate history books. Period.  I had something else lined up, a commentary on current politics – and shrewd readers could probably guess about whom and what – but I put that off.

Part of it is due to my immediate situation. I’m still looking for work, and now I’ve moved in with an old
friend who has been both very generous and supportive despite his own situation. Well, misery does love company.

And so, my hurry-up-and-wait review of William Overgard’s The Divide, which comes after missing March’s post.  (My own copy of The Divide, along with most of my other belongings, is currently stashed away in a storage locker.) The novel takes place in an alternate 1976,  where the United States surrendered to Germany and Japan in April 1948. The country is occupied by Japan on the west coast, while across the Rockies in the east, the country is under the thumb of the Nazis. Now you might look at the cover and then at the initial premise and think: “It’s The Man in the High Castle, all over again.” It isn’t: there are major differences between the two books, thematically and plot-wise.

The Divide is more of an action novel, compared to High Castle, which is a slower, more reflective work.   Its plot centers on a group of resistance fighters who are fighting the occupiers and are determined to spoil a historic summit meeting in Denver between the two old allies, who are now Cold War rivals.  You think they wouldn’t have much of a chance of pulling off a revolution, unless they had an Almighty Equalizer. 

That's a mighty big torch you're holding...
But they do.  Buried deep in the Rockies, inside the National Redoubt, are the last hold-outs of the US military and the Manhattan Project, tasked with “relighting the torch of liberty” by President Burton K. Wheeler just before the surrender in 1948.  Over the last thirty years, they've worked to construct the world’s only atom bomb, which is now finally ready. 

I won’t go much further, except to say this is a great, well thought-out read. I find it noteworthy for how Overgard’s book shows how most people just “went along,” which is something to consider in this political year. This book has been long out of print, but if you can find The Divide either on Amazon or in your local used bookstore, I’d recommend picking it up. Definitely for fans of this sub-genre.

Coming up:

I’ll try to have another book review for you. Or something. 
Meanwhile, you can help out a poor unemployed writer by purchasing Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.  Thanks.

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