The Only Thing to Fear

Caroline Tung Richmond's engrossing debut novel imagines an alternate history in which the Nazis and the Axis powers won World War II and now rule the United States.

The year is 2024, and 16-year-old Zara bristles under punishing Nazi rule over her small farm in Virginia. She and her Uncle Red work long hours to meet their production quotas, and Zara must work additional hours cleaning at the local Nazi boys' school. But their hard work only ensures that the wealthy German population prospers while everyone else suffers. But Zara has had enough. She wants to follow in her mother's footsteps and join the Alliance to fight for revolution. The failed mission that killed Zara's mother decimated the Alliance, and it's taken years to regain strength. Now an opportunity has arisen to strike the Nazis, and Zara is key to the plan. For years, she's been keeping a secret: she, too, has manifested the rare powers of an Anomaly. Her powers could mean the Alliance has a chance for victory that would free the United States and possibly the world from oppression.

The author's love of history lends the novel accuracy and style. The alternate story line, rooted in a pre-1944 reality, imagines a Nazi and Axis powers–dominated global environment, backed by the German Anomaly Division of genetically enhanced soldiers. Rich details such as extensive German slang and intricate battle sequences will entice a wide readership of history buffs and sci-fi fans. --Jessica Bushore, former public librarian and freelance writer

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