Bitter Seeds

By Ian Tregillis

Rating: 3 stars

As the shadow of war looms over Europe in 1939, Britain is worried. The Nazis have some sort of secret programme that produces men and women who can fly, turn invisible, and move. They are forced to turn to their own dark secrets to fight this menace, but is the price worth paying?

I dunno, I feel like I should have enjoyed this mash-up of psychic powers and magic more than I did, especially when they started changing the established history of the war (having a precog available means that you can do things like foresee the Dunkirk evacuation of your enemies and plan accordingly…) but it fell somewhat flat for me. I don’t know if it was the relentless grimness of it – the British magic in particular was grim stuff indeed, raising questions of what people will do to defend their country, and possibly turning into something not worth saving in the process. I also liked the idea of the Eidolons (malevolent creatures outside of time and space that can manipulate it beyond the laws of physics; sort of like Terry Pratchett’s Auditors of Reality) and that warlocks don’t perform magic, they negotiate with the Eidolons to do it for them.

Having a POV character in the Nazi camp also showed that these people aren’t the monsters that they were portrayed as and although Klaus was never a ‘hero’ the stuff he and the others of his unit did wasn’t that much worse than the warlocks.

So lots of interesting ideas, but I still have no desire to read the sequel.

Book details

ISBN: 9780356501697
Publisher: Orbit Books
Year of publication: 2010

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