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Nazi supermen vs. British warlocks in a do-over to save the world.

Necessary Evil

Tor, 2013, 384 pages

May 12, 1940, Westminster, London, England: the early days of World War II.


Raybould Marsh, one of "our" Britain's best spies, has travelled to another Earth in a desperate attempt to save at least one timeline from the Cthulhu-like monsters who have been observing our species from space and have already destroyed Marsh's timeline. In order to accomplish this, he must remove all traces of the supermen that were created by the Nazi war machine and caused the specters from outer space to notice our planet in the first place.

His biggest challenge is the mad seer Greta, one of the most powerful of the Nazi creations, who has sent a version of herself to this timeline to thwart Marsh. Why would she stand in his way? Because she has seen that in all the timelines she dies and she is determined to stop that from happening, even if it means destroying most of humanity in the process. And Marsh is the only man who can stop her.

Necessary Evil is the stunning conclusion to Ian Tregillis' Milkweed series.

Let's do World War II again, because it was so much fun the first time!Collapse )

Verdict: Necessary Evil brings the Milkweed trilogy to a finale, so definitely do not read it out of order. The ending suffers only from a bit of deja vu thanks to the events of the first book being replayed and altered, but it's a satisfying conclusion to a great series.

Also by Ian Tregillis: My reviews of Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War.

My complete list of book reviews.
An alt-history in which demons and supermen threaten Mutually Assured Destruction.

The Coldest War

Tor, 2012, 352 pages

Someone is killing Britain's warlocks.

Twenty-two years after the Second World War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Great Britain and the USSR. For decades, the warlocks have been all that stand between the British Empire and the Soviet Union-- a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. But now each death is another blow to Britain's security.

Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret research facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary humans with extraordinary abilities, then prisoners of war in the vast Soviet effort to reverse engineer the Nazi technology, they head for England.

Because that's where former spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.

As Marsh is drawn back into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain's darkest acts didn't end with the war. And as he strives to protect Queen and country, he's forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.

The sequel to Bitter Seeds fast-forwards from World War II to the Cold War.Collapse )

Verdict: A great sequel, and a book that makes me eager to finish the trilogy. Mixing superpowers, magic, and alternate history in a very grim world of 1963, The Coldest War is a fast-paced bombshell of an adventure not afraid to threaten to destroy the world.

Also by Ian Tregillis: My review of Bitter Seeds.

My complete list of book reviews.

Book Review: Bitter Seeds, by Ian Tregillis


I'm actually not a big fan of alt-histories, especially not those dealing with World War II. Because World War II was depressing enough, and alternative histories usually manage to make it even more depressing. But how can you resist Nazi X-Men vs. British warlocks? Bitter Seeds is a SFF alt-history in which mad science meets mad sorcery, and by the end of the book, history is completely altered... and probably going to get worse before it gets better. Be aware that this is the first book in a trilogy, and a number of loose threads are left dangling.

Summary and review below the cutCollapse )

Verdict: A great book that should slow down now and then to let us care a little more about the characters, but A+ entertainment, and one of the few first-in-a-series novels I've read recently where I'm really looking forward to the next book.

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