Paul Gomes has graduated High School and works with this father for Crosstime Traffic. His assignment is an alternate where Germany won WWI. They eventually went on to develop the atom bomb and conquer America in 1956. Now 140 some years later they rule America and the world with an iron fist. Crosstime Traffic runs a shop called Curious Notions in San Francisco. They sell electronic record players and games. The devices are just slightly better than what is available, and they use the money to buy much needed food for the home timeline.
The Germans in this alternate have similar advanced technology but keep it from others to hold them back. The Imperial German occupation authorities start to take an interest in these more advanced items. They want to know where they come from. The father says China and randomly picks a merchant in Chinatown out as the supplier. Lucy Woo a sixteen-year-old who works at a sweatshop gets involved when her father is arrested by the Germans. She joins forces with Paul Gomes to help their fathers and also have to deal with the Tongs. The Tongs are also interested in Curious Notions and hope to get technology that can help China to a more prominent level.
The second in the Crosstime Traffic YA series gives us a look at what the world would look like if the Germans won WWI. This is a much more plausible world if the Schlieffen Plan worked as it should have. A world without Hitler but one that is still pretty grim. America a defeated nation with 12 cities destroyed by atomic bombs. It is stuck in the 1950’s economically, culturally and technologically. Turtledove does a good job of giving us a look at the world with child labor and 65-hour six-day work weeks. As with the standard format it gives us a teenage boy and girl. This time ones that have a romantic involvement. This one deals with the added tension of keeping alternate travel out of the hands of a society that is technologically advanced enough to understand and use it. I found this an interesting and tension filled book. Different from the first book but no less interesting.