“Ben Jeapes is another writer with a wholly original take on fantasy. The New World Order is set during the English Civil War but with the addition of a third force, the sinister red-headed Holekhor race, who come through a gateway from another world. Technically superior with deadly accurate weapons and massive airships, these colonialists from outer space [?? – BJ] have little to do with King or Cromwell, who are forced into a mutually suspicious alliance. But as events turn darker, 15-year-old Daniel — offspring of a human and a Holekhor — has to choose sides. Faced by the realities of saturation bombing, he finally makes a stand.
The horrors of war he witnesses are a reminder that fantasy can sometimes seem in line with world affairs. Violent, sometimes disturbing and with a nice line in Biblical quotations, this intelligent and gripping story comes from an author who has not previously written for teenagers [??? – BJ] but who will surely do so many times more.”
TES, 17 December 2004.
“Politics, religion and conflicting loyalties drive this complex, ingeniously imagined alternate history. The 17th-century English Civil War takes a decidedly different course after a portal to another Earth opens, and invading troops armed with late-19th-century weapons march out. But that army’s general Dhon Do is actually returning to England, having been stranded there years before – long enough to convert to Christianity, fall in love (and, as he discovers to his delight, father a child), and to develop a deep regard for the country and its people. Though the cast, which includes the wily, heroic Oliver Cromwell, tempestuous but intelligent Charles II, and other historical figures, may be unfamiliar to American readers, Jeapes makes them vivid, convincing characters, and embeds them within a compelling account of Dhon Do’s efforts to conquer and hold a large part of his adopted land with minimum loss of life. The author also adds rich subplots, folds in enough fictive and historical backstory to give every major player here genuine presence, and springs several satisfying surprises toward the end. An outstanding, thought-provoking page turner.”
Kirkus Reviews, 15 January 2005
“The First English Civil War has started — and visitors from another world have arrived. With airships. Which should be enough to persuade anyone to rush out and buy this book. Jeapes has written a number of excellent YA novels — Wingèd Chariot is especially good — and The New World Order is his best yet.”
Vector, January/February 2005
“Jeapes departs from his usual high-tech, military sf to create an action-packed, low-tech sf-alternative history for the Civil War in the seventeenth-century England. Jeapes employs alien invaders, under the leadership of Dhon Do, to end the English Civil War. The incursion produces a predictable clash of cultures that results in improbable alliances: Charles II and Cromwell, and Dhon Do and his half-English son, Daniel, who sympathize with the conquered English. Jeapes’ characterization is first-rate. Both historical and fictional characters are well realized, especially Dhon Do and Daniel, thoughtful men, clearly conflicted about their duties in a new world order — definitely not stock teen action-adventure heroes. The riveting story has enough twists and turns, battles and bloodshed to intrigue even hardcore sf fans, but readers will also get a painless lesson in English history. Give this to teens who have read Harry Turtledove’s Guns of the South, in which South Africans from the future alter the outcome of the U.S. Civil War.”
Chris Sherman, Copyright (c) American Library Association (copyright (c) American Library Association)
“In Jeapes’s inventive, dense alternate history, the English Civil War of the 17th century comes to a close due to the intervention of a third party – the alien Holekhor race who arrive to claim the embattled country for their own. Dhon Do, who has walked among humans under the name John Donder, arrives from the ‘Old World,’ an alternate plane connected to the world of humans by one or more gates. As leader of the Golekh troops, he offers Oliver Cromwell, champion of the Parliamentarian forces, a chance to surrender before more Golekhi ‘come and keep coming… until the people of this island are extinct or driven into the sea.’ The Holekhor troops not only possess automatic weapons, but they arrive in airships, making them seem unstoppable. But Cromwell has Khonol Le, a female Holekhor with weapon-making skills, on his side – thanks in part to her hatred of Dhon Do. Donder (aka Dhon Do), for his part, must also come to terms with the half human/half Holekhor son he sired nearly 13 years ago, who suddenly figures prominently into the battle. The plot grows more complex from there, and the narrative may appeal most to history and military buffs (although a postscript helps to orient those less familiar with the events). Despite a rather frothy happy ending that seems out of step with the rest of the book, overall, Jeapes’s novel is an admirable achievement on a technical and imaginative level.”
“Just as briskly paced as Pashazade, Ben Jeapes’ The New World Order (David Fickling Books, 435 pp., $15.95) offers a more complete explanation of the relationship between our own reality and the variant depicted here.
Into England’s Civil War, the 17th-century conflict between King Charles I and Parliament, Jeapes introduces the “Holekhor.” The Holekhor are both technologically advanced and physically much stronger than normal humans. They travel to the world of the novel through two interdimensional “gates,” bringing with them zeppelins and machine guns.
The novel focuses on a father-and-son team: Holekhor General Dhon Do, who converted to Christianity and was baptized as John Donder, and the illegitimate half-breed offspring of Do and Englishwoman Anne Matthews, Daniel. The author nicely depicts the various tensions between Do and Daniel; Do and his adopted religion; and Do and his Holekhor King, and makes the surprising turns his plot takes seem inevitable in retrospect. The author’s postscript puts his alternate history in neat perspective.
“Order” is being marketed as a young adult book, and it’s certainly suitable teen reading material. But it’s also an engaging read for adults.”