Who hasn’t wondered about theoretical what ifs. What if Hitler got into The Academy of Fine Arts as a youth, would he still of got into politics? What if JFK changed his route that day? So when you see movies like The Final Countdown, you think its going to be awesome but it just doesn’t live up to it since they fail to destroy the Japaneses (they want to preserve the timeline).
I had previously dabbled in some alternate history works by Harry Turtledove in his “Days of Infamy” duology in which the Japanese follow up Pearl Harbour bombing with a land invasion too. Then i heard of the Axis of Time trilogy (which is now more than 3) in which a multinational task force from the year 2021 is sent back to the battle of midway (by accident). They are stuck in the past, as soon as i read that i was yes, shit is going to get messed up and changed. So i had to get them.
It great from the get go, The multinational task force had a Japanese ship in it so when the midway fleet see that they attack and are pretty much destroyed by the future ships. From that point on history is completely changed. Its worse because some of the fleets ships are missing. Did they travel back? If so where or who has them, because some had nukes on board.
John crafts an amazing universe here with 1940s tech trying to adapt and jump forward to 2021. We see huge leaps in tech, Generals in WW2 using Ipads but more interestingly, John does a fantastic job of bringing to the front cultural issues too. Us civilized countries take it for granted that our armed forces are made up of both men and women and people of many colours but 1940s is far different. There are some massive issues in 1940 of people taking orders from women captains and “coloured” captains. I feel john does an amazing job of capturing this racist attitude. I know back then they didn’t see it as that but in today’s world that is exactly what it is, racist. This series covers the time frame of world war 2 which to no surprise finishes earlier in this new time line.
There are numerous comic moments for example Prince Harry was serving in the fleet that got sent back, so he gets to meet his grandparents before they were married and the royal succession line goes into a panic trying to adapt. Stalin loves hosting Tarantino marathons!
While this Trilogy deals just with ww2 John has continued this universe in some ebooks but set 10 years later. This series has really cemented john as one of my top 5 authors. Doesn’t hurt that he is an Aussie too, even though he is from Queensland.
Essentially what Matthew has done is make these Jack West Jr books into a lord of the rings style trilogy. In that each book doesn’t finish the story, just continues it. In fact the second book much like its twin the two towers has no conclusion and leaves the story hanging on a cliff hanger no less. What a pain it would of been to of read these books back when they were released and reach that end and have to wait a year or so for this book to wrap things up.
This book picks up right from the cliff hanger from the previous one. The story then moves on the follow the team as it tries to find the remaining stones and pillars and naturally save the world. Which of course is done after quite some adventuring. It was refreshing to see someone other than the US being the bad guys. Matthew does seem to have something against them, with the US being the bad guy in numerous stories. Art imitating life anyone? Here we have Japan filling the role of the “bad guy” to the extreme, wanting to destroy the planet and thus erase the events of their WW2 defeat which stripped their nation of honor. Extreme, yes but then again when you hear of a small minority of Japanese schools removing reference to Pearl Harbour and calling the US the aggressors, is it really that much of a stretch?
This book really did have a “Return of the king” style to it as many plots from the previous ones were wrapped up however i couldn’t help but notice his choice of titles for this series. “Seven Wonders” “Six Stones” “Five Warriors” clearly a countdown which precludes the need for four more books to complete the countdown. And sure enough in the interview at the back, he suggests this very notion and implies there will be more. Which aside from some real stretches of the imagination in terms of plot so far, i am actually quite looking forward to. I have really taken a shining to these characters
This is a continuation of the story started in Seven Ancient Wonders. Which is a rather strange thing considering, All the plot lines wrapped up rather nicely at the end of that book when the machine was used and the planet saved. So i couldn’t see where this book was going to go. Well the story follows that, the Japanese find a way to undo the effect the machine had and that the solar flare caused by an enormously large sunspot (plot from previous book) was just a precursor to an even deadlier dilemma. A rogue planet of dark matter entering our solar system
Since dark matter isn’t 100% understood or identified, it can serve as a feasible plot device however we once again get drawn into the world of an ancient advanced civilization that died out eons ago. The same civilization that built the great machine from the first book also built six shrines around the world, which also held machines and giant pits that reach to an unknown depth. This idea was rather hard to swallow.
Regardless we are once again led on a wild ride as we try and discover the locations of these 6 shrines and the titular sacred stones to power them. However this story only covers several of the stones the rest are left for the next book.
This series while requiring some suspension of both, belief and scientific knowledge. It is still quite a thrilling adventure story and am really starting to like these main characters. Quite possibly because the Protagonist Jack West Jr is Aussie
What i have come to love about Matthew Reilly novels is the pace. Its just non stop action. This story even more so than his previous works, as we have 2 story lines. Both pumping at breakneck speeds. Firstly we have the story of a Spanish monk during the conquest of the Incas. He gets caught up with an Incan prince trying to evade capture and hide a priceless relic from the Spaniards and then in modern times we have the story of William Race, racing against time to find the final resting place of the relic as it can be used as power-source for a special nuke.