|Series||The War That Came Early|
|Publication date||July 31, 2012|
|Preceded by||The Big Switch|
|Followed by||Two Fronts|
The novel picks up days after the end of the previous volume. The United States is reeling from the Japanese attack of January 12, 1941. President Roosevelt begins his third term with the state goal of defeating Japan, and making the country strong enough to defeat any future enemies.
Germany and its new allies, Britain and France, along with Poland, Slovakia and now Hungary, continue their successful invasion of the Soviet Union. Not everyone in Britain is happy with the "big switch" of the previous year; Alistair Walsh continues his meetings with various disenchanted MPs, led by Ronald Cartland, even as PM Horace Wilson begins to spy more boldly on his enemies.
The titular coup d'etat takes place in the U.K. in the Spring of 1941, when group of soldiers, led in part of General Archibald Wavell, arrest Horace Wilson and his Cabinet. Britain then withdraws its forces from the USSR and begins its war with Germany. However, as France does not withdraw from the USSR, Britain is unable to directly engage Germany outside of aerial attacks. Italy, on the other hand, reignites the war with Britain in North Africa.
While France doesn't leave the war with the USSR, it does start resupplying the Spanish Republicans in mid-1941. Word also comes to the French troops in Russia that the Maginot Line is being expanded along the Belgian border.
Meanwhile, the Pacific War between Japan and the Westen powers (led by the U.S.) continues to favor Japan, which is able to take several strategic island possessions from France, Britain, and the U.S. In addition, Japan unleashes new biological weapons in China. While the U.S. does make some initial gains early in the year, landing a sizeable force at places like Wake Island, Japan's superior air power effectively undoes America's gains. On the home front, support for the war against Japan is weak. With the the war between Britain and Germany renewed, American ships carry supplies to the U.K., while Germany declares unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic.
The novel ends in the closing days of 1941, with France withdrawing from the war with Russia despite Germany's efforts. Germany is now once again facing a two front war. However, the multi-national coalition had advanced deep into Soviet territory before the French withdrawal, and Germany still has Poland, Romania, and other allies. Germany also inserts itself into the North African war between Britain and Italy. Despite repeated pledges by the interim government, the military is still in control in Britain, heightening tensions further among the average Briton. In the Pacific, the American fleet is on the verge of yet another defeat. In Spain, Czech refugee sniper Vaclav Jezek kills Nationalist General Francisco Franco.