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Worldwar: In the Balance

Narrated by: Todd McLaren
Series: Worldwar, Book 1
Length: 26 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (130 ratings)

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Summary

War seethed across the planet. Machines soared through the air, churned through the seas, crawled across the surface, pushing ever forward, carrying death. Earth was engaged in titanic struggle. Germany, Russia, France, China, Japan: the maps were changing day by day. The hostilities spread in ever-widening ripples of destruction: Britain, Italy, Africa...the fate of the world hung in the balance. Then the real enemy came. Out of the dark of night, out of the soft glow of dawn, out of the clear blue sky came an invasion force the likes of which Earth had never known---and worldwar was truly joined.

The invaders were inhuman and they were unstoppable. Their technology was far beyond our reach, and their goal was simple: Fleetlord Atvar had arrived to claim Earth for the Empire. Never before had Earth's people been more divided. Never had the need for unity been greater. And grudgingly, inexpertly, humanity took up the challenge.

In this epic novel of alternate history, Harry Turtledove takes us around the globe. We roll with German panzers, watch the coast of Britain with the RAF, and welcome alien-liberators to the Warsaw ghetto. In tiny planes we skim the vast Russian steppe, and we push the envelope of technology in secret labs at the University of Chicago. Turtledove's saga covers all the Earth, and beyond, as mankind---in all its folly and glory---faces the ultimate threat; and a turning point in history shows us a past that never was and a future that could yet come to be.

©2009 Harry Turtledove (P)2010 Tantor

Critic reviews

“Turtledove excels in alternate history, and this panoramic exploration of a world at war...showcases his fertile imagination. A feast for history buffs as well as sf fans.” ( Library Journal)
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Great idea, Good start, lost it's power and ends up like a cheap soap about uninteresting Americans in love. Shame.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book

I love scifi and i am loving this book. I was looking for a good book after the finishing The Lost Fleet series, by Jack Campbell. It was a great book and I was afraid I couldn't find another good book. Fortunately I came across this book and im loving it. The story is amazing and the characters very convincing. It's a long story, so if you prefer short stories this is not for you. The reader is also very good. I passed some audiobooks who have some bad readers but you can listen to this guy for some hours and not get tired of the reading. Recommended!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting!

Would you try another book written by Harry Turtledove or narrated by Todd McLaren?

Sadly no

Could you see Worldwar: In the Balance being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Yes a good idea

Any additional comments?

I'm a fan of the second world war so found this interesting, but very long winded.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Book, could have been great

Turtledove weaves and excellent yarn in this alternative history epic.

This book was a pretty good listen. It was my first venture into the alternative history genre and I was pleasantly surprised. The fact that the author knows his background helped and as a history fan myself I didn’t come across anything obvious that spolit the story.

I’ve listened to all four of this series now and it gets pretty compulsive at times. I could tell my wife was getting annoyed as I just couldn’t switch it off. Especially at the really exciting bits! I was also very tired for work one day after staying up late listening.

The only downside was the narrator. Yes he’s got a nice voice and when he’s doing an American or doing a stereotypical German or Russian this was fine (although maybe a German or Russian would disagree). The trouble was when he was doing an accent that was outside his comfort zone he got very very annoying. He has absolutely no comprehension of what British people sound like. His Yorkshire man sounded like a cockney with some sort of affliction and when we are introduced to a character from Cornwall, for some reason, he decided to do an impression of Paul McCartney. Annoying in short bursts but after a long stretch it was just offensive. Thankfully the book jumps around quite a lot so it was just about bearable.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great start to the series

I listened to this one before I got audible, but got it again anyway so I have the whole series. Great story that establish, not just the alien threat for the humans, but the aliens themselves. You are really able to get inside their heads which is only expanded later in the series. I posted the same comment on one of the other books, I think the narrator does an amazing job capturing the voices of the characters because he has a lot of work to do. I have heard criticisms about his English accents, but if you've ever seen news footage of people talking during that period, or just after, it's not that strange. It's not perfect, but he still does an amazing job. Another small criticism that I can agree with, but feels this was more direction and editing than performance. When jumping to a new character there is no pause to denote change in scene. You are quickly made aware of who you are speaking about, it just takes a moment longer to figure out if these two characters or groups of characters have crossed path and it's still the same scene. Out of all the books a read when I was younger, when you take this series of 4 as whole. This the favourite thing I have experienced and regret not getting these as physical books when I did have time to read them. I came so close to doing that but never did. Loving them on Audible though.

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Creepy Sex Scenes

I only got a third of the way through this book. I can’t explain why but there’s just something about the sex scenes in this book that are really creepy. Like a woman was running out of danger and fell into water and the author describes how her clothes clung to her body and how her nipples were showing - while she ran from aliens. What made me stop reading was the whole sex slavery bit. This is just a creepy book.

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Excellent telling

really enjoying this, great work, good voices and narration. loved the books and very pleased with this , it brings the story to life

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an amazing listen

got told about it through alternate historyhub
on YouTube.

glad I found the channel + this xD

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great start to a great series

This is a spoiler free review for the whole series

at first i was reluctant to read this as it sounds like such a dumb premise but i was actually surprised at how well thought out it is. The characters are well devloped and the history and references are really fun and interesting whithout being cheesy like independence day or alien invasion fiction. Like it takes place in ww2 but i think Hitler only makes one appearence it isn't overplayed or childish. The 4 worldwar books are my favorite of the series as to me they were the most action backed and with a story that flows very easily. The 3 colonization books are good to the new narrator just takes some getting used to. And homeward bound is a good conclusion that leaves the world open to your own imagination of what happens next. Some characters are present throughout the whole series others are dropped and new onces introuduced and even the aliens are given great devlopment after reading this you really feel like you understand their society.

In conclusion i would defiently recommend this book and this series as a fun dive into sci-fi and alternate history these 8 books are the longest book series i've read so far and they were definetly worth it!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very VERY slow.

While I love Alternative History I honesty stuggled to stay engaged in it. The depth of the world Turtledove built is impressive but he seems to drag it out too much.
Then there is how it's recorded. McLaren does nothing wrong on his own but for how page breaks are done there is no pause between setting which when you have two characters by the name of Jaeger (an American and a German ) it can be annoying and confusing.
Sadly while I am intrigued in how the story continues I don't feel like I will be buying the next book in the series even with a credit.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • W
  • 29-03-10

Awesome

If you like long epics you'll like World War. This is a fun alternate universe where earth is invaded by 'lizards' a race of alien reptiles. Be warned, the author is a 'multiple POV switcher' so just when you get used to one character's viewpoint it switches. Often without notice.

I only wish audible would produce the next one in the series. There are four total:

Worldwar Tetralogy
In the Balance (1994)
Tilting the Balance (1995)
Upsetting the Balance (1996)
Striking the Balance (1996)

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kaarlo
  • 12-05-10

Alternate 'V'...

I was first exposed to this when I friend of mine gave me the first book back in college. At the time, I wasn't a very big fan of 'alternate history' and actually didn't read the book till much later. After turning the first page, I became hooked in the genre. Admittedly, it reminded me of the show 'V' with lizards coming to Earth to conquer us, if not to eat us. The book does have a large cast of characters, some historical and some fictional, but Turtledove does a good job of balancing not only the people but the places that are jumped from all over the world.

Having just finished this, I can' wait for the second book in the tetralogy to be made. Todd McLaren does a good job with delivery as well as different accents for the large cast in the book.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Troy
  • 22-08-12

Interesting concept

What did you like best about Worldwar: In the Balance? What did you like least?

The author takes factual historical tidbits and tucks them into the story as guideposts so that his fiction never strays too far beyond the bounds of believability.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The alien invader's culture is interesting. The obligatory love story lines are distracting.

Which scene was your favorite?

The German's use of a railway gun to fight a highly advanced opponent.

Could you see Worldwar: In the Balance being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No. In the end it is simply a story of a more advanced species attacking a less advanced one and getting a bloody nose for their hubris.

Any additional comments?

The author uses graphic sex scenes to indulge his own fantasies. They are unnecessary and repetitive. It seems that all of the main characters end up having sex at least several times each throughout the book. That is, except for the faithful scientist.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Barb P
  • 29-03-10

Left hanging...

I enjoyed this in print many years ago and have enjoyed the recorded version. Looking forward to the rest of the series. You aren't going to leave me hanging? (part 1 of the "Worldwar" series released; part 1 of the next series "Colonization" released?)

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anand
  • 07-02-13

Excellent story spoiled by indifferent narration

I have the entire series on Kindle.
Mr.Turtledove writes brilliantly. His sweep of imagination and perspective is simply breathtaking.

I would have expected Audible to use a dramatization and full-cast for this entire series to make it sound like a movie. Audible did it with John Birmingham's alternate history, or the ones by Larry Corriea.

Sadly, the narrators of this story sound indifferent and robotic. They don't even know how to enunciate certain characters. Worst of all their accents are horrible.

If you overcome the painful rendition, you will enjoy the story.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Holden A.
  • 30-12-11

Watch out for the Chapter switch overs!

Would you listen to Worldwar: In the Balance again? Why?

Yeah, it was a pretty good listen. There was so much going on (like in all of Turtledove's books) that on second or third listen's you'll pick up on stuff you missed (or didn't find important because it's foreshadowing).

Any additional comments?

For those not familiar with Turtledove and how he writes the stories will be told through the eyes of 10-20 different characters on all sides. In print edition the narrative changes every few pages and this is made clear by either the chapter ending or there being a much longer space than normal between paragraphs. In other audiobooks of Turtledoves (the southern victory series) there was a few second gap between switches in narratives, nothing too long but obviously much longer than the normal pause between reading paragraphs. That DOES NOT take place in this audiobook. If anything when there is a SHORTER than normal pause when narratives switch, making it sound like the previous sentence has been carried on without pause.

This was a tad confusing until I got used to it and I imagine it would have been even more confusing and hard to follow had I not been familiar with his form of writing.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Cocotron
  • 29-05-20

Poor Production: hard to listen to.

a good story though horrible audio production. This book has a many POV changes per chapter. which is not bad in itself, however there is no pause between POV changes. it confuses the story progression and requires lots of rewinding to keep context in perspective. This would not be a problem if reading text but is not good for an audio book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-05-20

Very fun premise

This is a very creative story and I love the rich historical details behind it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Morgan
  • 06-01-20

Odd performance, great book

A fantastic listen, though it does take a little while to get used to the narrator and how he doesn't really pause between different points of view. Once you get over that though it is fantastic!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Keith Rule
  • 28-04-19

A Good 10 hr story stretched to 26+ hours

I was interested in the book because I read the short story "The Road Not Taken" by the author. That story is similar to this from the alien point of view and is short and to the point. This story, though a good basic premise, goes on and on and on. It would have been a great story if it had been edited to about half it's length.

The narrator is very good. I've been an audible member for a long time and it's becomes clear very soon that the narrator can make a mediocre story great and a bad narrator can ruin a great story. This narrator is quite good. He definitely helps keep interest in a book this long, that bogs down a bit in the middle.

Folks mention the "V" series. To me this reminds me of the "Fear the Sky" books. That series starts off strong but peters out in the last book. I'm hoping this series is the opposite - starting slow and finishing strong.