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The human price of war, regardless of nationality, is the relentless focus of this chilling sequel to Turtledove's alternative history Days of Infamy (2004), in which the Japanese conquer Hawaii after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Times are hard for Americans under the occupation. Scarce food and resources result in privation and a thriving black market. Japanese soldiers work POWs to death with heavy labor on insufficient rations. Women are forced into prostitution as comfort women. But the U.S. armed forces have a few tricks up their sleeve, notably a new kind of aircraft that can hold its own against the Zero. Both the Japanese and American militaries scheme, plan and train, while surfer bums, POWs and fishermen just try to get by. A plethora of characters, each with his or her own point of view, provide experiences in miniature that combine to paint a broad canvas of the titanic struggle, if at the cost of a fragmented narrative.
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The Japanese occupation of Hawaii after Pearl Harbor has delayed the U.S. cross-Pacific offensive for two years. But it is coming, with Joe Crossetti as part of the spearhead, piloting a Hellcat off of the new carrier Bunker Hill. Marine Sergeant Leo Dillon and his platoon aren't far behind. Meanwhile, the Japanese in the islands know they are in a logistically impossible situation and outnumbered, to boot. Some, like Minoru Genda and Mitsuo Fughida, do their best to continue the fight. Other Japanese seem to spend most of their time making Americans miserable. Fletcher Armitage is building a tunnel under slave-labor conditions, while his estranged wife, Jane, has been forced into being a comfort girl. Jiro Takahashi is profoundly embarrassing his Americanized and loyal sons by making propaganda broadcasts for the occupation authorities. And Oscar van der Klerk hopes that if he catches enough fish and keeps his head down, both he and Susie Higgins will survive the high-intensity combat that wrecks Honolulu in the second half of the book. An able continuation of the outstanding exploration of the unpleasant WWII alternate scenario that Turtledove launched in Days of Infamy (2004). Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.