I enjoyed this book immensely. It comes across as being solidly grounded in the history of the time, and shows just how thin the veneer of civilisation can be.
The author’s mixing of historical and fictional characters is well balanced, something that he shares with Harry Turtledove. I particularly liked the portrayal of Erwin Rommel and the role he plays in the story (as well as Rommel’s eventual reward). While many of the characters don’t survive the chaos that follows the coup, the balance between those that don’t and those who do is nicely achieved. And importantly, given how nasty the baddies are, they all end up getting their come-uppances!
Michael is telling a big story from a large number of view points, fortunately he has the knack of being able to quickly introduce a character, and to successfully build a bond between that character and the reader. In some cases this is by reinforcing the views already formed about historical characters, but more often he is introducing someone who is simply in the wrong place in the wrong time. And in this respect, I believe Michael’s ability to create characters for whom the reader cares is superior to that Harry Turtledove.
Along these lines the death of J Edgar Hoover gave me a totally different view of the man. Talk about going out with all guns blazing!
(reviewed 5 years after purchase)