Book Review: Patton’s Spaceship by John Barnes

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Patton’s Spaceship combines noir, time travel, alien invasion, and alternate history into good old-fashioned pulp adventure. Mark Strang is a former art historian turned private investigator, intent on revenge. While on a case, he finds himself cast into the past of an alternate history where Germany won WWII. This is not the most original of alternate history settings, being practically a genre all of its own, but Barnes has fun with the tropes and there is a certain degree of realism to his fallen America. The use of JFK and, of course, Patton is reasonably thought out and amusing.

 

Barnes has also developed his larger time travel universe. This is not a novel deeply interested in the intricacies of time travel, but it is filled with various time traveling factions originating in multiple versions of history, and multiple times. It is a richly detailed background that is easily capable of sustaining further novels in the Timeline Wars Series. This is a massive canvas that later novels will take to an alternate colonial America, and an alternate Rome.

 

Patton’s Spaceship is clearly the opening novel in a trilogy and is in some respects most interested in setting up its concepts and introducing its lead character. It does both quite well. This is not a dense novel of ideas, however, but more of a pulp cold war story waged across dimensions and time. This is not a bad thing. I enjoyed it immensely and I intend to seek out the other two novels in the series. A fun, quick read.

 

***Received copy from NetGalley for review

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