Spies. Parallel universes. Sudden and unexpected twists. Time and perspective shifts — everything I liked about the first book, amplified. Europe at Midnight (The Fractured Europe Sequence Book 2) by Dave Hutchinson (@HutchinsonDave) is less a sequel than an expansion of the fascinating concept introduced in the first book (see my review of Europe in Autumn).
I greatly enjoyed returning to this near-future version of Europe where a flu pandemic has greatly reduced the population and the map is in flux. New countries are created based on city borders, neighborhoods, or ethnic homelands — basically any somewhat-organized group can declare independence and create new borders to be crossed.
At the same time, there is another version of Europe (or, more accurately, England) existing in parallel to a large swath of the continent: the Community. For security services on both sides, how and why this parallel dimension was created is less important than assessing the threat each poses to the other. The threats, it turns out, are substantial.
The espionage aspects of this book reminded me of John le Carré or the best of Alistair MacLean. There are unpredictable twists and double crosses, and it was wonderful to be kept guessing about what would happen next. The hardest part of being immersed in this Fractured Europe is going to be waiting for the next installment.