Summary

It's 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between. Raybould Marsh is a British secret agent in the early days of the Second World War, haunted by something strange he saw on a mission during the Spanish Civil War: a German woman with wires going into her head who looked at him as if she knew him.
When the Nazis start running missions with people who have unnatural abilities - a woman who can turn invisible, a man who can walk through walls, and the woman Marsh saw in Spain who can use her knowledge of the future to twist the present - Marsh is the man who has to face them. He rallies the secret warlocks of Britain to hold the impending invasion at bay. But magic always exacts a price. Eventually, the sacrifice necessary to defeat the enemy will be as terrible as outright loss would be. Alan Furst meets Alan Moore in the opening of an epic of supernatural alternate history, the tale of a twentieth century like ours and also profoundly different.
©2010 Ian Tregillis (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
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Critic reviews

"A major talent.... I can't wait to see more." (George R.R. Martin)
"Tregillis writes and plots beautifully. The characters - twisted German psychics, bitter warlocks, the brutal calculators of the British intelligence apparat - are complex, textured, surprising. The physical descriptions are wonderful. And the plot is relentless, a driving adventure story with intrigue, battle, sacrifice, and betrayal." (BoingBoing)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Wendall on 30-01-12

Good story, not so good narration

It is, as the critics' reviews say, a good story that kept me listening... it also kept me grinding my teeth at the narrator's poor grasp of accents. Lorimer, a Scot (who, thankfully, has little to say in the book) does not have a Scottish accent, rather, he has a wandering Irish/North Country hybrid accent that left me wincing. The Germans all speak with preposterous mock German accents and Olivia, wife of Marsh, is voiced with a strange received English plus occasional hints of Mockney even though she is described as having a common accent.
If you can ignore all this (and I did, after a struggle) then it's a good audible book.
Narrators really should be discouraged from giving accents to characters unless they know how to do them properly.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By George on 07-01-13

Story is ok - narration is painful

I can only agree with the other reviewers.



Why on earth, when a book is set entirely in Germany and England, would they choose an American to narrate it? He simply cannot do the accents!



Not only is this painful on the ear at times, but also, when involving converstaion between two of the main male characters, it becomes impossible to tell who is supposed to be speaking, because the accents vary so much.



The plot is interesting and the story well told - with the exception that the Author does tend to get over impressed with his own eloquence when describing the esoteric. His descriptions of the awe-inspiringness of his super-natural beings do tend to drag.



All in all, I shall probably get the sequel – but I will wish that someone else was reading it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Phelix_da_Kat on 29-08-10

WW II alternate history: X-men vs Warlocks

One of my first alternative history (audible) books. Saw this in hardback, was waiting for the paperback - but to my surprise (even better) it's on Audible!

Basically, the British are losing the war - the US did not join in the war and the Germans have created the ??bermensch (Superman/women) - sociopathic orphans taken from WW I, and endowed with X-menesque power by mad scientists.

In response, a desperate Admiralty establish the Milkweed organisation - British warlocks that use magic to fight back.

I believe this is Tregillis' first novel - stunning piece of work and fortunately there's more to come as this is the first book of the Milkweed Triptych (trilogy).

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24 of 26 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By M. Spencer on 21-10-12

WWII, Now With Superheroes and Wizards

First off, I feel inclined to note that I gave the novel 3 stars, but I really wanted to give it 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to others, but I just didn’t love it.

I decided to listen to this after hearing rave reviews from Tom and Veronica on the Sword and Laser podcast. They really talked it up and it had a pretty interesting premise so it felt like a no-brainer. To give a little background, Bitter Seeds is an alternate history set in Europe during World War II. In this retelling however, the British employ warlocks and the Germans basically have soldiers with superpowers.

Overall, I did enjoy it, but it definitely left something to be desired. The story wasn’t bad nor were the characters, but they also weren’t amazing. I never felt that invested in the characters (on either side). They were realistic enough, but were just somewhat flat. It’s hard to describe, because they weren’t poorly written or unlikeable…they were just kind of bland.

My biggest gripe with the story was the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say the climax fell short. I wanted big explosions and high excitement–it seemed like that’s where things were going–but that’s not how it played out and I was a little underwhelmed.

My only other comment is about the narrator, Kevin Pariseau. Mr. Pariseau has narrated a lot of novels and I expect that he’s pretty well respected, but he just didn’t feel like a great fit to me. Most of the novel takes place it the UK and it just stands to reason that a British narrator would have been selected. The accents of the characters would have been a bit more convincing and I think it would have increased my enjoyment.

That said, it was a pretty fun read. It’s not very long either so it’s no major investment.

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13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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