17 August 2012

Review: Bitter Seeds

Bitter Seeds is Ian Tregellis's debut novel, and its a smasher!

In the aftermath of the Great War, a German scientist and ex-Thule Society member begins to experiment upon orphaned children to develop abilities beyond the normal.  In the name of Aryan Advancement, his work is supported and progressed by the emerging Nazi regime.  By the time of the Spanish Civil War, initial field tests are being carried out by the handful of talents (who are all members of the SS by the way) in support of the Condor Legion.  Their special skills vary widely in type and scale from invisibility to force control to precognitive ability.  One of the great components of the book I think is the relationships of these young adults with one another - very reminiscent of the dispute between the heroes in the recent movie 'Avengers' actually.  Nevertheless, their abilities are instrumental in generating the German successes in France and result in the annihilation of the Dunquerke salient and the Allied forces there awaiting evacuation (which is the first major diversion of the book from real history).

Faced with am imminent invasion, the British Secret Service desperately turn to their own - warlocks.  Ferreting out the handful of them who learned their craft through family bloodlines, it turns out they don't use magic themselves.  Instead, they know how to commune with immeasurably powerful (Lovecraftian style) entities and negotiate with them to manipulate the environment - all for a blood price.  Its a pretty awesome matchup.

I really, really enjoyed this book - if you like alternative history with a supernatural bent, don't miss this one.  4 and a half stars.

Bitter Seeds is Book One of what is called the "Milkweed Triptych" with Book Two, "The Coldest War" just released in hardback and I cant wait to get it!



  1. Sounds interesting I shall look out for it.

  2. Ouch. This seems to be reading time in our sphere. Brummie has just recommend one and now you. OMG, what's a guy to do?

  3. Now you see that just sounds too good to miss; now on the book list!