New World Order: Two Worlds, One Order Hardcover – Mar 8 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–This historical science-fiction novel opens on a May afternoon in 1645. The bloody civil war between King Charles I and Parliament is wreaking havoc on England. John Donder, a war-weary general traveling incognito, returns to the village where he was fostered as a young man and where he unknowingly left behind a son. The pair quickly become allies in a political landscape of warring armies, guerilla warfare, and dubious alliances. The stakes, of course, are nothing less than history as we know it. The two befriend Charles I and his son and ultimately make common cause with Oliver Cromwell, for John Donder is neither Loyalist nor Parliamentarian. His true identity is Holekhor and he has come from a parallel universe that enjoys technological advances not yet known in the 17th century. He heads an alien invasion that will make Britain a tribute colony subject to exploitation by the greedy Holekhor overlord. This colonizer/colonized reversal is the central conceit of the book and its most intriguing feature; John Donder and his son, with their divided loyalties, sit uncomfortably at the crux of it. The rest–invaders with machine guns and dirigiblelike warships, train derailments, mastodons outfitted for war, betrayal in high places, and the awful stench of battle–have all been seen before. Enjoyment of the alternative-history elements requires some prior knowledge of the period. This fast-paced adventure will appeal to action-oriented readers who may skip over the Royalist/Roundhead intrigue to get to the big explosion that conveniently cuts England–and John Donder and his son–free of Holekhor rule.–Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 9-12. Jeapes departs from his usual high-tech, military sf to create an action-packed, low-tech sf-alternative history for the Civil War in the seventeenth-century England. Jeapes employs alien invaders, under the leadership of Dhon Do, to end the English Civil War. The incursion produces a predictable clash of cultures that results in improbable alliances: Charles II and Cromwell, and Dhon Do and his half-English son, Daniel, who sympathize with the conquered English. Jeapes' characterization is first-rate. Both historical and fictional characters are well realized, especially Dhon Do and Daniel, thoughtful men, clearly conflicted about their duties in a new world order--definitely not stock teen action-adventure heroes. The riveting story has enough twists and turns, battles and bloodshed to intrigue even hardcore sf fans, but readers will also get a painless lesson in English history. Give this to teens who have read Harry Turtledove's Guns of the South, in which South Africans from the future alter the outcome of the U.S. Civil War. Chris Sherman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Anyway, the book is written for a young adult reader. As such I'd call it a decent read. Probably a 5-star read if I were still a teenager, but the characters and plot were perhaps a little slight and the idea not enirely original. But there's some interesting historical background which an American kid would never get in school but which would be stock stuff for an English kid.
The basic idea is, at first, introduction of advanced technology (rifles, airships, etc.) into the English Civil War. Turtledove tends to get credit for this idea (see his Guns of the South), but the idea's been around since at least the late 1960s and was perhaps best done by de Camp in his Lest Darkness Fall. However, in Jeapes' book the advanced tech doesn't come from the future, it comes from... well, you'll have to read a bit to get the first glimpse of that. Read on and you'll figure out exactly where it is that "John Donder" et al come from.
Donder isn't the only main character of the book. The lost son, whom he finds right away, is just as important. And as major supporting characters we have the Stuart royal family, Cromwell, Monk, and others. Also Donder's compatriots from wherever it is that they come from. Much of this book turns on John Donder's conflicted loyalties and on the efforts of the Englishmen to overcome their divisions and fight off the mutual enemy.
Once the story really gets going, however, it is excellent. I was impressed by the efforts Jeapes has made, after the admittedly extreme variation of introducing alternate-world dwellers and advanced technology into the 17th century, to keep as close as possible to the actual history of England. He even adds an historical postscript to explain the difference between his version and the real history - though incorporating a clever bit of fiction as well.
The characters - both historical and fictional - are well depicted, their concerns and their moral dilemmas are explained well, and the plot is both logical and enthralling.
Observing a battle, John Donder recognizes the rifle that has not been invented for another two plus centuries. The Holekhors are influencing the war on land, at sea, and for the first time fighting from the air. John having been stranded here before seeks the woman he loves and left behind years ago though he knows time and space are linear when he first fell through a portal. Now in the present of mid seventeenth century England, a late nineteenth century army led by General Dhon Do has invaded the countryside, but learning that he previously sired a child before his earlier timely departure has shocked and awed him.
This is a terrific alternate history tale with a powerful science fiction cut that changes English history at a pivotal moment with time traveling aliens. The story line is action-packed, but also brings to life the reality of the era by comparing it to later weaponry and tactics and through some of the key historical figures. Though targeting a teenage crowd, Harry Turtledove fans will appreciate Ben Jeapes brilliant novel of THE NEW WORLD ORDER.
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