Weapons of Choice is the first book in the Axis of Time Trilogy by John Birmingham. It is an alternate history thriller that is very difficult to put down. In the year 2021, the War on Terror continues. Dirty bombs have gone off and millions have been killed. Soldiers are battle hardened from years of fighting. A multinational armada of warships is heading towards Indonesia when the impossible happens. An experiment on one of the ships goes awry and the carrier group is plunged into 1942! Chaos ensues and half of the American Pacific Fleet is destroyed before people figure out what has happened. Admiral Kolhammer and the USS Hillary Clinton can change the course of history. The weapons on the Clinton alone can stop the Nazis, not to mention the other cruisers, destroyers and subs in the fleet. But some of the 2021 ships did not come through the wormhole with the rest and have fallen into Nazi and Japanese hands!
This entire series is a lot of fun. John Birmingham obviously put a lot of thought into it. It is easy to think these super weapons can change the course of history in the blink of an eye. But he put thought into the finite supply of weapons they have, the impossibility of manufacturing things like needed jet fuel with 1942 technology, etc. Not to mention the average American’s shock at an integrated military where women are equals and fight as hard as the men.
Admiral Kolhammer, Captain Halabi, General ‘Lonesome’ Jones and others of the 2021 fleet encounter figures from history such as Admiral Ray Spruance, Chester Nimitz, Dwight Eisenhower, Albert Einstein and President Roosevelt. Not to mention enemies such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Admiral Yamamoto and more. These characters are woven seamlessly into the story and you almost start to believe they are as real as the 2021’ers. One famous name came through with the 2021 crew, Prince Harry leads the British SAS contingent in the fleet and gets to meet his grandmother, the very young Queen Elizabeth.
I first read this series several years ago. It was so good that it stuck with me and I recently re-read it. According to author John Birmingham’s blog he will soon be releasing some short stories on e-books set in this universe. I can’t wait to read them. I wholeheartedly recommend Weapons of Choice and the entire Axis of Time Trilogy.