Turtledove is almost always better at individual set-pieces than he is at whole novels. This book is a great example-the short story is good, the "August Coup" set piece is good, but I found the rest just really obvious (and worse, uninteresting to my eyes) parallelism and, worse, aimless stumbling which includes the infamous games of bridge.This is one of Turtledove's short-story-to-novel expansions that I think works better as a short story.
There's actually a part of the real August Coup that I don't think Turtledove even knew about, but would have perfectly fit the over-factionalized Nazi government. The plan to actually finish off the protesters was a Rube Goldberg one involving multiple units that planned to blame the others for the inevitable collateral damage. Of course, when one unit commander got cold feet, then another did, and so on...One interesting thing about it is that people tend to assume that totalitarian states are strong and enduring. It seems unlikely that a Nazi state would have persisted as long as 2009. Unlike the Soviet system, especially under Stalin, the Nazi Empire was always a confederation of competing agencies.
This as well. Like I've said many times and seen personally, the market for "hard" AH just isn't very big.Please have some more sympathy for authors writing alternate history, because parallelism is essential if they are going to get the kind of numbers of readers which can keep them working as full-time authors.