Bookish Giveaway & Review: War of the Worlds: Retaliation by Mark Gardner & John J. Rust

Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway!

Narrator: Samuel E. Hoke III

Publisher: Article94 (2017)

Length: 7 hours 38 minutes

Gardner’s Page ~ Rust’s Page

Starting in 1898 with the final throws of the Martian invasion, humanity is at a breaking point. However, the human bacteria prove deadly to the Martians and on mass, they die, leaving their advanced technology for the humans to scavenge. Skipping ahead to 1924, the world leaders have decided it’s time to take the fight to Mars and a massive invasion is launched.

I’m a fan of HG Wells’s works, including the original War of the Worlds. So of course I was thrilled to dive into a novel that told a story of what humans did afterwards. How does a failed Martian invasion change the course of humanity’s history? Gardner and Rust give a decent answer to that question.

I think this book would have extra interest to those who have studied WWI. There’s plenty of European and North American names to recognize in this novel such as Charles de Gaulle, Rommel, George Patton, and so on. You don’t have to be particularly knowledgeable about any of these historical figures to enjoy their characters in this tale. I was a bit surprised that the Asian countries weren’t represented at all. Also, since it was a world wide Martian invasion in 1898, I was initially hopeful to see how that great leap in tech affected many of the countries in Africa and South America. Alas, those continents are barely mentioned.

There’s plenty of great tech in this tale. First, I really enjoyed that some tested and true war machines of WWI were in this book, like the Fokker airplanes. There’s also some brand new vehicles made especially for the Martian invasion. However, I did notice that the physics of Mars was skimmed over when it came to actual battles.

Now, let me get out my little polished soap box. There is exactly 1 female character (Nurse Hill) in this entire book and she doesn’t appear until the last hour of the story and she isn’t plot relevant at all. There’s a few other ladies mentioned as wives or mothers. This pains me. Here we are in this fascinating science fiction novel that’s essentially about the survival of the species, and the women aren’t present. Sigh…

OK, so moving on. I loved that we got a look into Martian society through the Martian characters. Their society is suffering from stagnation and the inability for their leaders to admit that there’s a real threat coming from Earth. I really enjoyed watching the various Martians struggle with this.

The pacing of the story is good with strategy, reflection, and action all well intermingled. I never suffered from battle fatigue nor did I feel that the story bogged down here or there. As an aside, I liked that Hitler was receiving psychiatric help and was an exceptionally minor character in this book.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobook Worm.

The Narration: Samuel Hoke was a very good fit for this story. He performed several different accents as needed and was consistent with them throughout the story. Each character was distinct. 

What I Liked: We’re invading Mars!; fun technology; we get the Martian viewpoints; several historical figures make appearances; a worthy ending.

What I Disliked: Almost no women; Africa, Asia, and South America are barely mentioned; physics of Mars is skimmed over.

Check out more reviews on the blog tour.

About Author Mark Gardner:

Mark Gardner is a US NAVY veteran. He lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications, and is the Chief Operator for an Arizona radio group.

Website ~ GoodReads ~ Twitter

About Author John J. Rust:

John J. Rust was born in New Jersey. He studied broadcasting and journalism at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey and the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York. He moved to Arizona in 1996, where he works as the Sports Director for an Arizona radio group.

Facebook ~ GoodReads ~ Twitter

Synopsis of War of the Worlds: Retaliation:

1898: Martian tripods lay waste to Earth’s cities. The world’s armies are unable to stem the tide of destruction. When all hope appears lost, common bacteria kills the alien invaders. From the ashes, the human race uses the technology left behind by the Martians to build new, advanced weapons.

1924: Armed with their own spaceships, tripods, and jet fighters, the nations of the world are ready to take the fight to Mars. George Patton, Erwin Rommel, Charles de Gaulle, and Georgy Zhukov lead their troops in battle across the red planet to end the alien menace once and for all. But the Martians have one last, desperate plan to try, and if successful, it could mean the end for all humanity.

Audible ~ Amazon

About Narrator Samuel Hoke III:

Samuel E. Hoke III is a 6’0″ Scorpio who summers in Virginia with his wife two amazingly wonderful black cats named Inca and Maya. In the winter they all head to central  Florida. Samuel is a veteran of the corporate world including IBM and Bank of America he now pursues his lifelong passion of acting.

Samuel has a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies from Norwich University and an MBA in Global Technology Management from American University. He also conducted a Pre-Doctoral studies in Strategic Leadership at Cornell University. Samuel enjoys Rock and Roll music, photography, fast cars, and international travel.



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War of the Worlds Giveaway

The Night I Danced with Rommel by Elisabeth Marrion

PetersonTheNightIDancedWithRommelWhere I Got It: Review copy via Audiobook Monthly (thanks!).

Publisher: Self-published (2014)

Narrators: Nancy Peterson, Bennett Allen

Length: 6 hours 34 minutes

Author’s Page

This story is about Hilde and her life growing up in Germany (after WWI) and becoming a wife and mother during WWII. As a girl in East Prussia, she has a dream to become a singer one day. However, her father sends her to work as a housemaid in Berlin at the age of 14 and from there on, she doesn’t have time for dreams. Eventually, she meets a young man, Karl, who will become her husband and who will also spend much of their married life serving in the military away from his growing family. Karl ends up serving under Rommel in Germany and then Africa.

I found this to be a very interesting book. It was based on the life of the author’s mother (if I understood the description correctly) so much of the book is factual. Seeing Germany gearing up for another war through the eyes of a house cleaner and mother showed how surreal the politics and resulting war to many of the average people of Germany at the time. Hilde grew up with Jewish friends and maintained those friendships until they were abruptly ended (usually by the sudden disappearance of her Jewish friends) or because the association was becoming too dangerous for Hilde and her young children. An anti-Semitic attitude was not part of Hilde’s personality, and many of her family and friends also lacked this unappealing trait.

Then there are the every day things. As Germany starts building up their armies, young men must go off for training and certain resources start to become hard to come by, just a few at first. Once the war is in full swing, it is a much different scene, but through Hilde’s eyes we get to see how things changed gradually, bit by bit. Germany’s streets weren’t covered in city militia enforcing curfew overnight. Food supplies didn’t become scarce in a month’s time.

One of Hilde’s children develops a chronic medical condition about half way through the book. It is one of those conditions that needs continuous treatment throughout the war and I thought it interesting to see how that was dealt with. Also, Hilde and Karl see each other infrequently, so their children are spaced out throughout the war. Can you picture yourself expecting a child in war-torn Germany during the time of the night aerial raids? Over all, this was an intriguing read providing a glimpse into an average woman’s life during one of humanity’s most destructive episodes.

Narration: Nancy Peterson did an excellent job, being the perfect voice for Hilde. She performed the entire book in a German accent and this added so much to the ambiance of the book. She had a good range of voices for all the supporting characters as well. Bennett Allen had a very short piece, playing the role of Karl, at the end of the book. It was a very nice touch, adding to the poignancy of the ending.

What I Liked:  The reality of the book; the book shows how things changed gradually; Hilde’s perseverance despite losing friends and family, having several small children, and her husband gone much of the time; the ending was touching. 

What I Disliked: The cover is rather severe.

What Others Think:

Historical Novel Society

Christoph Fischer

Mary Ann Bernal