Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega

"The standard-bearer for alternate history" (USA Today) now turns his potent imagination to the End of Days in this gripping novel about a discovery in the Middle East that turns the world upside-down.What would happen if the ancient prophecy of the End of Days came true? It is certainly the last thing Eric Katz--a secular archeologist from Los Angeles--expects to discover during what(USA...

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Title:Alpha and Omega
Author:Harry Turtledove
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Alpha and Omega Reviews

  • Autumn Is Azathoth

    No matter what one's religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) I thoroughly believe every single adult should read ALPHA AND OMEGA. I cannot remember a work of fiction that has had this much impact on me in the matter of religion and the psychology of religion and of Eschatology. I believe Harry Turtledove to be a genius. He has taken the religious, social, ingrained, ancestral, and contemporary beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and of various ethnicities espousing those beliefs (particularl

    No matter what one's religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) I thoroughly believe every single adult should read ALPHA AND OMEGA. I cannot remember a work of fiction that has had this much impact on me in the matter of religion and the psychology of religion and of Eschatology. I believe Harry Turtledove to be a genius. He has taken the religious, social, ingrained, ancestral, and contemporary beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and of various ethnicities espousing those beliefs (particularly throughout the Middle East and in the U.S.) and has created a tapestry that weaves the unbelievable, the believable, the matters strictly of faith, the matters of science, and the impossible, together and created a syncretic synthesis that is greater than the sum of its components.

    In Jerusalem, members of a team of archaeologists (some Israeli, one an American secular Jew, one an Israeli Muslim) excavate below the Muslim Dome of the Rock, where Judaism believes the Second Temple to have been. What they discover issues in a book that is mind-exploding and spiritually uplifting and terrifying (simultaneously). I am definitely not the same reader I was before I read this book. I started it two evenings ago and have not been able to stop. It is making me examine who and what I am in a way that is life-changing.

  • Mica

    Wow! What a great end-times book! Excellent writing by the author, I truly felt like I was watching the text play out!

    What happens when an a team digging under the Temple Mount finds the Ark of the Covenant? How will this change the lives of the team, religious leaders from around the world, and a young boy forever? What happens when the same young boy stands up for his feelings and what he thinks is right?

    If you love end-times fiction, this book is for you! Told from multiple persp

    Wow! What a great end-times book! Excellent writing by the author, I truly felt like I was watching the text play out!

    What happens when an a team digging under the Temple Mount finds the Ark of the Covenant? How will this change the lives of the team, religious leaders from around the world, and a young boy forever? What happens when the same young boy stands up for his feelings and what he thinks is right?

    If you love end-times fiction, this book is for you! Told from multiple perspectives (Jewish, Muslim, Christian, non-believing, secular) you are in the middle of all of the action.

    Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this work!

  • Diane Hernandez

    Alpha and Omega is the most thought-provoking thriller I’ve read this year.

    A dirty bomb carried by a suicide bomber destroys the Tel Aviv bus station in Israel. An American talk show personality is on site and gets the aftermath on tape. Israelis are understandably upset. They decide to flout the long standing agreement with the Muslims by beginning an archeological dig under the Temple Mount. What they find will stun the world. What happens later will affirm God’s power over mankind

    Alpha and Omega is the most thought-provoking thriller I’ve read this year.

    A dirty bomb carried by a suicide bomber destroys the Tel Aviv bus station in Israel. An American talk show personality is on site and gets the aftermath on tape. Israelis are understandably upset. They decide to flout the long standing agreement with the Muslims by beginning an archeological dig under the Temple Mount. What they find will stun the world. What happens later will affirm God’s power over mankind. But which religion is the “correct” one?

    Alpha and Omega is an awesome book. It ties Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious theory together with Middle Eastern politics and history. Readers are guaranteed to learn something new by reading this book. However, it can also be read strictly as a thriller. Will the Muslims or Jewish people win the battle over the Temple Mount? There are two love stories here too.

    I can’t recommend Alpha and Omega highly enough. I loved it! Even if you are staunchly religious, this book will treat your views with respect. I liked it much better than the Left Behind series. 5 stars!

    Thanks to Del Rey Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  • Mike

    Excellent book. As befits a Ph.D in history, there’s a sense that Turtledove meticulously researched the religions in this book along with the historical tensions between them.

  • Deborah Ross

    Harry Turtledove has written a lot of books. Really, a lot. Alternate history, pure science fiction, whimsical fantasy, humor, historical fiction, and more. I haven’t come across a single one that wasn’t a fast, smooth read with plenty of action and a ton of nifty ideas. Every once in a while, though, he so completely nails a story, concept and prose and thematic resonances, that it stays with me and I find myself blabbing about it like a fangirl to all my friends. The Guns of the South (time-tr

    Harry Turtledove has written a lot of books. Really, a lot. Alternate history, pure science fiction, whimsical fantasy, humor, historical fiction, and more. I haven’t come across a single one that wasn’t a fast, smooth read with plenty of action and a ton of nifty ideas. Every once in a while, though, he so completely nails a story, concept and prose and thematic resonances, that it stays with me and I find myself blabbing about it like a fangirl to all my friends. The Guns of the South (time-traveling racists arm the Confederacy with automatic weapons) was one such. Also Ruled Brittanica (the Spanish Armada prevails and William Shakespeare writes insurrectionist plays) and In the Presence of Mind Enemies (Jews survive in the shadow of victorious Nazi Germany). Now I can add Alpha and Omega to that list.

    The elevator pitch for this book might run, “Indiana Jones in 21st Century Israel, complete with American evangelicals, ultra Orthodox Jewish settlers, Muslim terrorists, and journalists on the lookout for a good story, with an occasional miracle.” But it’s much more. It begins in a perfectly ordinary thriller-ish way with a dirty bomb detonated in Tel Aviv and team of Israeli archaeologists (Jewish and Arab, with a nonobservant Jewish American and a dewy-eyed Christian student thrown in for good measure) excavate under the Temple Mount and find (of course, Indiana Jones style) the Ark of the Covenant . . . floating inches above the floor. And the skeptical journalist who unwisely lays hands on it is summarily carbonized.

    What to make of this miracle?

    Everyone with an ax to grind about the fate of the Middle East has an opinion, and Turtledove minces no words in depicting the sincerity, fervor, and insanity of the different viewpoints. Muslims, Jews, and Christians are all convinced the End Times are nigh and that their version of who wins and who loses is the correct one. The only thing they can agree on is that the Ark floats “because God wants it to.”

    It would be all too easy for a story such as this to devolve into proselytizing, taking sides, playing religious favorites, or turning the various proponents into caricatures. Turtledove avoids all these pitfalls, forging ahead at pager-turner speed while subtly weaving in threads that reflect not only our human prejudices but also our shared human experiences. To say that the ending transcends the current political polemic is an understatement.

    Go out and buy this book, and then use it as the context for discussing the difficult issues of today with people you don’t agree with . . . yet.

    The usual disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but no one bribed me to praise it. Although chocolates and fine imported tea are always welcome.

  • Harry L Skinner

    One of mr. Turtledoves best books in a long line of excellent tales. I hope this part one of a series.

  • Clay Davis

    A Joel C. Rosenberg like story. The title is not good, it could be on a book about the Greek alphabet. Had some good insight on life in Israel.

  • Dubi

    What if God proved to be real? Beyond all doubt?

    Harry Turtledove, the master of alternate history, creates an alternate present-day scenario in Alpha and Omega in which various people react to an incontrovertible series of demonstrations that God exists. Set almost entirely in Israel, he gives us the points of view of people on all points on the compass of faith -- secular archeologists, fundamentalist leaders of all three major western religions, disinterested television personaliti

    What if God proved to be real? Beyond all doubt?

    Harry Turtledove, the master of alternate history, creates an alternate present-day scenario in Alpha and Omega in which various people react to an incontrovertible series of demonstrations that God exists. Set almost entirely in Israel, he gives us the points of view of people on all points on the compass of faith -- secular archeologists, fundamentalist leaders of all three major western religions, disinterested television personalities out for the best possible story, a young Israeli boy and his uncle, and a cast of additional characters.

    I don't have a firm grasp of the body of work that exists in fiction that deals with proof of God. I read Calculating God by Robert Sawyer, and I guess you can count The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (which I read before watching the TV show). There's the current TV show God Friended Me, though it's not yet clear whether that's really God. Indeed, my only published work of fiction (albeit from forty years ago) was a short short story speculating a specific form that God could take. As a high concept, I found it quite interesting to read Turtledove's take on what proof of God could look like in this day and age.

    That said, I have a number of issues with his presentation. The most obvious is the length of the book, padded with what I find to be an inordinate amount of repetition in the characters' reactions to each succeeding event -- there are maybe six or seven discreet events, which makes it about one every 75 pages, and each time, we get pretty much the same set of responses, with the needle moving just a little more. It's all too much. By at least half -- and we're talking nearly 500 pages here.

    Now place that alongside glaring omissions that could've filled that space instead of repetitive musings. Like the reaction of societies around the world, mostly in Asia and Africa, that now number upwards of three billion people who have no history of ever even conceiving of a God like the one that is the singular focus of this book, the God of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Not. One. Single. Word. The perspective here is as white and Euro-centric as you can get (defining white Euro-centrism as having its roots in the ancient civilizations of the Near East).

    And what about alternative reactions within the world of western religion itself, like, uh, panic, or celebration, or mass demonstration, or anything other than continuing to make the buses and trains run on time, a highly unlikely response to God suddenly appearing and doing the things he does in Alpha and Omega. There doesn't even seem to have been much of a mass reaction around the world to a disaster early in the book -- think about 9/11, how can master speculator Harry Turtledove not imagine how a real-life event of that type would be greeted?

    Several times during Alpha and Omega, as it begins to dawn on people that God may actually be manifesting himself (yes, HIM-self), the question is asked: Why now? Where was he when millions were slain during the Holocaust? You could easily ask that question about slavery, the black death, the vast senseless slaughter of World War I, and countless other atrocities committed by humans over the centuries and millennia (although those are not asked in this book, only the Holocaust). Turtledove never attempts to answer that question -- which would be fine, except that he's the one who brought it up in the first place.

    I hesitate to ascribe the apparent point of view of this book to the author. I have no way of knowing what Turtledove himself believes. But the scenario he presents is highly specific, leaving no room for interpretation (especially by those other three billion people out there). So specific that in the end he doesn't answer the question about proof of God in general, not in any way. To me, that means that he has failed in what I believe to be his reason for writing this book -- or at least, what I was looking for in this book, once I realized as I was reading what it was about.

    I didn't know ahead of time what I was getting, other than the name of an author I have previously read and liked. I got an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thank them for the chance to do so, and I have to qualify my honest opinion with a note that your mileage may vary -- that will likely depend on what you believe as you enter into this endeavor, just as mine is surely influenced by my journey from an Orthodox Jewish upbringing to a life of secular humanism and atheism.

  • Tomislav

    While Harry Turtledove is best known for his alternate history series, this latest novel from him is a stand-alone, and of a somewhat different genre category. It is speculative fiction without being identifiably science fiction, fantasy, or alternate history. You see, the proposition is, what if all the ancient prophesies of the Abrahamic family of religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) turned out to be observably true, in the light of modern media and technology? Impossibilities, logical con

    While Harry Turtledove is best known for his alternate history series, this latest novel from him is a stand-alone, and of a somewhat different genre category. It is speculative fiction without being identifiably science fiction, fantasy, or alternate history. You see, the proposition is, what if all the ancient prophesies of the Abrahamic family of religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) turned out to be observably true, in the light of modern media and technology? Impossibilities, logical contradictions, and indeed rational judgement need to be tossed aside as real events following the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant can only be explained simply as the will of God. How then would a cast of modern characters, with contemporary perspectives, motivations, and politics respond?

    I was disappointed with the novel as answer to that proposition. The characters are not more than stereotypes of their religion or social role - The Orthodox Jews, the Fundamentalist Christians, the Islamic Terrorists, the secular archaeologists, the television hacks, the power-mongering politicians – and their thoughts and actions are explained repeatedly in those terms. All this proof that Turtledove knows the vocabulary of various hyper-religious traditions leads to a very slow exposition of the extra-ordinary events that are the conceptual meat of the novel. It felt to me like a short story concept padded out to novel length. I don’t really know Harry Turtledove’s personal religious views, but I suspect some of them are coming through here, as in the world would be a better place if we would set aside creeds and theology and just accept the one real God behind them all. In his fictional universe, that is certainly true. In the real universe, well I think it’s not so simple.

    I read the novel “Alpha and Omega” in kindle ebook, which I received from Del Rey (Random House) through netgalley, in exchange for publishing an honest review. I finished my read on the publication date of 2 July 2019. I have previously read many of Harry Turtledove’s alternate histories – particularly the “The Great War/American Empire/Settling Accounts” sequence concerning an alternate US history starting from the Civil War onwards, and “The Hot War” in which the Korean War goes nuclear - which I liked, and “The Worldwar Saga” concerning an alternate World War II in which aliens invade Earth after the onset of the human war - which I did not like, and a few of his standalone novels as well.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my open and honest review.

    If given unequivocal proof that god exists, what would happen to the world's religions?

    That is the question that Turtledove asks in his newest alternate world science fiction novel called Alpha and Omega. Turtledove is famous for asking the big "What if's" in alternative history. Previous stories include a second civil war (How Few Remain), third world war (Am

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my open and honest review.

    If given unequivocal proof that god exists, what would happen to the world's religions?

    That is the question that Turtledove asks in his newest alternate world science fiction novel called Alpha and Omega. Turtledove is famous for asking the big "What if's" in alternative history. Previous stories include a second civil war (How Few Remain), third world war (American Empire series), supervolcano (Eruption) plus many more. Turtledove is a highly prolific author.

    Alpha and Omega sees ancient prophecy realized in Jerusalem. All prophetic triggers for the end of days. This proves that without a doubt that God is real. But the question becomes "whose god?" What should the followers of Christianity, Judaism or Islam expect from the realized prophecies?

    This was a difficult read for me. The subject matter is interesting, alternative history can be engrossing especially when you are somewhat familiar with the subject matter. This might have been my issue with this book and why it did not resonate with me. I am not overly familiar with Judaic and Islamic traditions and history. I think had I been more familiar this would have been a more engrossing read. As it stood though, I found it very dry and difficult to get into. I attempted to finish this but I ended up DNF at 80%. I could not get into the story. I just did not care about the characters enough to be interested in their plight.

    If you would like to see more of my reviews, please check out my website at

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