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British Warlocks vs. Nazi X-Men – I’m excited!

I haven’t had a chance to take a look at the excerpt, yet, but the synopsis of Ian Tregillis’ book Bitter Seeds sounds like it’s a blast. Here’s a plot synopsis:

It’s a beautifully written and thoroughly researched alternate WWII history, the twist being that a mad German scientist has discovered a way to endow a group of sociopaths — raised from WWI orphans — with X-Men-like powers that have made the Wehrmacht unstoppable.

To counter this, a desperate Great Britain establishes a secret division composed of a tiny number of British warlocks — shades of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell — men who use speech in a mystical Ur-language, accompanied by blood sacrifice, to call up vast, brutal elemental forces. These forces, the Eidolons, loathe humanity and tremble in barely restrained rage at the stain we spread on the universe, but they can be bargained with, blood traded for elemental magick. (Boing Boing)

I’m a sucker for alternate history, when it’s done well, and the fact that only Philip K. Dick’s novels come to mind means that I probably missed a ton. But maybe I haven’t? If you have any suggestions, let me know.

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8 Comments

  1. you know, i read jonathan strange and mr. norrell. that book was kind of hippie-like. sort of like how this book sounds. hmmmmm….

    as for alternative history books, that’s sounds like an interesting genre that i haven’t really explored. would something like helprin’s Winter Tale count?

    • DGS

      I always wanted to read the Jonathan Strange one – is it worth it? It’s such a brick of a book that was all over the place at one point that I had a suspicion that it sucked. So it’s good?

      I don’t know Winter Tale…there is a one called “Fatherland” by Robert Harris, which is a crime book set in Germany sometime in the 1960s with the twist that Germany won WW2 and the cold war takes place between the US and Germany. Pretty good read. I think the also made a movie out of it starring Rutger Hauer (of course).

      • i liked it a lot. but i also like thomas pynchon a lot (who i think also fits in your genre… mason and dixon is an obvious choice, but his against the day is also good and includes characters like tesla). if you can trudge through a pynchon novel, that would be a good bet.. prose to be savoured though.. it’s dense. i guess some of the magical realism stuff too? love in the time of cholera? Winter’s Tale.. it takes place in nyc and is magical realism but also alternate history and the characters evoke dickens.

        • DGS

          I started reading “Gravity’s Rainbow” when I was a teenager and thought I’d read it in English, but it was quite a process. I always want to read it again, because my English is much better now. So “Mason & Dixon” is good, eh?

      • gravity’s rainbow is what everyone raves about, but i think it’s less accessible to those who aren’t committed. mason and dixon is good. against the day is my favorite.. but again, not sure if it’s alternative history or more just adding historical figures and such into the plot line while changing their lives as well?

        • DGS

          I think that counts as alternative history – one reason why Pynchon doesn’t show up more in that genre is probably that the genre itself is in deep nerd territory and you’d usually find those books in the SF section, while Pynchon is considered ‘serious literature’. But I will give Pynchon another shot.

  2. Pingback: Uff, already April?! | The Grumpy German

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