A few quiet days for me online it seems, not due to me you understand but more my good lady’s visit to a high quality Spa leaving me with our three little tikes and the school run. So I am here, not so much, but just as busy (I admire my wife, multi-tasking is a learned skill!) and you will have to to forgive me if my next few posts are shorter than normal. I have to fit them around the routine of the house! Right, with that out of the way where are we…a review of the novel Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis.
Above is an image of the book I have (in the middle), given to me by my dear friend Jim Brittain for Christmas but why show different covers. The reason is one of them main factors for me in reviewing this book. Put simply its terrible. The middle cover does not tell the story at all, the one on the right is a bit better but still not good and oddly the one on the left is the most accurate is somewhat uninspired. Jim Brittain recommend I read Bitter Seeds and I was dubious at first as I am not really a world war two or fantasy fan but I tried and over the course of two days I was glad that I did. While the cover fails to tell a tale the author is done a way, way better job of it.
Bitter Seeds as it turns out is part of a trilogy and I had no idea this was the case since I make a point of NOT reading online reviews or about the author allowing the book to stand instead on its own merit. Here is a little tit bit of the plot:
The year is 1939. Raybould Marsh and other members of British Intelligence have gathered to watch a damaged reel of film in a darkened room.
It appears to show German troops walking through walls, bursting into flames and hurling tanks into the air from afar.
If the British are to believe their eyes, a twisted Nazi scientist has been endowing German troops with unnatural, unstoppable powers.
And Raybould will be forced to resort to dark methods to hold the impending invasion at bay.
But dealing with the occult exacts a price. And that price must be paid in blood.
The novel moves at the cracking pace and the settings of London, Berlin, England, France, Germany in the lead up to and during World War Two is excellently done. Characters are superbly drawn and believable and the central idea of the book is original. I do not want to spoil it but it mixes history with magic, the occult and super science too to give a brew that is potent and hold the interest very well. There are tense moments and the action scenes are a delight to read.
Towards the end I realised that the book must be part of a series as there were several strands of the plot that went nowhere…but I assume that they will be revealed in the sequel(s). My favourite character was Gretel, now that is a super power not to be taken lightly! Warlocks and tapped Willpower are well matched…tough to say more without spoilers creeping in..so I won’t. I will leave it at that.
I recommend reading this book if you are looking for something beyond the norm in science fantasy. I might well get the next one this summer.