Ian Tregillis spends his days fighting crime, chemistry, and nuclear substances at Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico. At night, he comes home glowing to near Santa Fe and a house distinguished by the pile of used cutlery out back. He writes alternate history and superhero stories. His alternate history fantasy series, the Milkweed Triptych from Tor Books includes Bitter Seeds, The Coldest War and Necessary Evil. The series is published in the UK by Orbit Books as well. His short stories have appeared on Tor.com, in Apex Magazine and Wild Cards: Inside Straight. He’s also a member of the Wild Cards collective and Critical Mass Workshop with lightweights like Daniel Abraham, Melinda Snodgrass, George R.R. Martin, Walter Jon Williams and more. You can read some of his stories online. He can be found on Twitter (as @ITregillis) and via his website at IanTregillis.com.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In an alternate World War II, the supermen (and women) of the Third Reich are opposed by the hastily discovered and drafted warlocks of the British Empire.
PROS: Excellent concept; consistently action packed and entertaining; excellent set of characters; good narration.
CONS: The alternate history is a bit inconsistent in its credulity; problems with the ending make it feel incomplete.
BOTTOM LINE: A striking and sharp beginning to the Milkweed triptych.
Bitter Seeds is the debut novel from Ian Tregillis where, in the wake of and alternate World War I, a German doctor devises a plan to to change the course of history by experimenting on war orphans. Two decades later, in the Spanish Civil War, on the doorstep of World War II, his superhuman experiments are unleashed. Raybould Marsh, agent for the British secret service, discovers the glimmerings of the threat, and is instrumental in helping recruit England’s response to the German Gotterelektrongruppe. It’s Warlocks versus Battery powered Supermen, in a World War II that goes very differently.
Here is the description:
It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between
Raybould Marsh is a British secret agent in the early days of the Second World War, haunted by something strange he saw on a mission during the Spanish Civil War: a German woman with wires going into her head who looked at him as if she knew him.
When the Nazis start running missions with people who have unnatural abilities—a woman who can turn invisible, a man who can walk through walls, and the woman Marsh saw in Spain who can use her knowledge of the future to twist the present—Marsh is the man who has to face them. He rallies the secret warlocks of Britain to hold the impending invasion at bay. But magic always exacts a price. Eventually, the sacrifice necessary to defeat the enemy will be as terrible as outright loss would be.
Alan Furst meets Alan Moore in the opening of an epic of supernatural alternate history, the tale of a twentieth century like ours and also profoundly different.
You can get the ebook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (If someone can find this on an iTunes web page that’d be swell. When I search for it, it either comes up empty or wants me to install/run iTunes.)
[via Tor UK]