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Bitter Seeds (The Milkweed Triptych, #1), Signed Limited Edition

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It's 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly ordinary man is caught in-between. On the eve of World War II, Raybould Marsh is a British spy tasked with uncovering a Top Secret German program that could be the key to their war strategy. His search leads him to a group of men and women whose minds and bodies have been manipulated by science t It's 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly ordinary man is caught in-between. On the eve of World War II, Raybould Marsh is a British spy tasked with uncovering a Top Secret German program that could be the key to their war strategy. His search leads him to a group of men and women whose minds and bodies have been manipulated by science twisted in pursuit of unnatural, superhuman abilities. How can the Allies hope to fight enemies that can ghost through solid walls, ignite an inferno without lifting a finger, and crush tanks with a single thought? Marsh rallies the secret warlocks of Albion to commune with Eidolons, cosmic entities to whom humankind is little better than vermin, to stave off the impending invasion. But as the blood price of Britain's defense grows, he discovers the Nazis' most dangerous weapon could be a mad clairvoyant intent on manipulating the future to her own ends . . . and who has a particular fascination with Marsh. Also included in this edition is the short story “What Doctor Gottlieb Saw”.


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It's 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly ordinary man is caught in-between. On the eve of World War II, Raybould Marsh is a British spy tasked with uncovering a Top Secret German program that could be the key to their war strategy. His search leads him to a group of men and women whose minds and bodies have been manipulated by science t It's 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly ordinary man is caught in-between. On the eve of World War II, Raybould Marsh is a British spy tasked with uncovering a Top Secret German program that could be the key to their war strategy. His search leads him to a group of men and women whose minds and bodies have been manipulated by science twisted in pursuit of unnatural, superhuman abilities. How can the Allies hope to fight enemies that can ghost through solid walls, ignite an inferno without lifting a finger, and crush tanks with a single thought? Marsh rallies the secret warlocks of Albion to commune with Eidolons, cosmic entities to whom humankind is little better than vermin, to stave off the impending invasion. But as the blood price of Britain's defense grows, he discovers the Nazis' most dangerous weapon could be a mad clairvoyant intent on manipulating the future to her own ends . . . and who has a particular fascination with Marsh. Also included in this edition is the short story “What Doctor Gottlieb Saw”.

30 review for Bitter Seeds (The Milkweed Triptych, #1), Signed Limited Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    While there’s a cranky little munchkin in the back of my head vetoing the decision to give this a full 4 stars (he’s a hardass), most of me thought this was a wonderful debut novel. Despite some minor gripes, I have mostly glowing, complimentary things to say about the book beginning with that I can’t wait for the sequel The Coldest War to come out. This is a series I intend to follow as I really enjoyed this. Here’s a quick story rundown: PLOT SUMMARY: Taking place between 1939 and 1941, the stor While there’s a cranky little munchkin in the back of my head vetoing the decision to give this a full 4 stars (he’s a hardass), most of me thought this was a wonderful debut novel. Despite some minor gripes, I have mostly glowing, complimentary things to say about the book beginning with that I can’t wait for the sequel The Coldest War to come out. This is a series I intend to follow as I really enjoyed this. Here’s a quick story rundown: PLOT SUMMARY: Taking place between 1939 and 1941, the story is set in the early days of an alternate version of WWII where Nazi scientists (one in particular) have developed the means of transforming individuals into steampunky versions of super-soldiers. One can walk through walls, one can become invisible, one is a human blowtorch, etc.... Meanwhile, the British seem to be the lone opposition to the Third Reich as the U.S. is not actively participating and the U.S.S.R. only comes into play later on). Thus, the Brits are forced to fight fire with fire and have recruited warlocks to invoke the assistance of “demons” (not a correct description, but more on that below) in the struggle against the Nazis…but such assistance comes with a terrible price. The narrative switches between three main viewpoints: Klaus, a Nazi super-solider, Will, a reluctant Warlock, and Marsh, a British agent caught between the dueling powers. While significant time is spent with each of these characters, it is Marsh who serves as the glue that keeps it all together. THOUGHTS: The Excellent: 5 well-deserved stars goes to the wonderfully imaginative fantasy/SF elements that Tregillis has created for this story. Beginning with the Nazi “supermen,” Tregillis does a marvelous job of grounding the fantastic in a process that feels authentic. In addition, his descriptions of the brutal, horrific conditions under which the “volunteers” are enhanced is terrific. Even more impressive is Tregillis’ depiction of the British warlocks and thier interaction with the mysterious Idolans. The Idolans are like nothing I've seen before and are fresh, original and beautifully rendered. These beings are among the most interesting constructs I have come across in a while. There is something Lovecraftian about them inasmuch as they are vast, wholly alien and completely indefinable. However, they are also wholly unique and the cosmological back-story provided in the novel is brilliant and compelling. The passages describing these beings and the effect on human perception/environment is worth the price of the book all buy itself and, in my opinion, is the strongest writing in the novel. The Good: The story and the plot get a solid 4 stars. I like the world that the author created and appreciated how he depicted the darker aspects of war and the horrendous costs imposed on both the British and the Germans for tampering with nature during the course of their struggle. Hard choices are made, the consequences are severe and whether it’s all worth it is left for the reader to ponder. Also, the use of the ravens’ viewpoint in transitioning between major portions of the plot was clever and very effective in showing the effect of the war on the two nations. Additionally, except for a few minor gripes mentioned below, the prose itself is worthy of a solid 4 stars with flashes of 5 star brilliance (especially when detailing the interaction with the Idolans which is just superb). Tregillis is definitely a talent and someone to watch. The Okay and Not So Good: So, a few gripes. First, the characterization was a little wooden and I didn’t feel a real connection to any of the players for most of the story. This made for a somewhat foggy reading experience as the narrative tension that the reader is supposed to feel was absent. It just didn’t grab me. However, even in this weaker aspect of the novel, Tregillis shows moments of great talent. For example, the scene at the hospital with Marsh when his daughter is born and the final meeting between Marsh and Will are very compelling and the emotions of the characters really come through. Still, the lack of consistent, compellingly-drawn characters is the primary reason this book doesn’t garner a fourth star from me. Apart from that, my only other complaint is that the pacing, at times, was a tad off. There were a few parts I thought were a bit plodding and some others where I wanted the author to take his time and explore the scene a little more than he did. Overall, it wasn’t bad, I just thought it could have been better. More Excellent: I want to end on a positive note because this really is a book I recommend as the positives far outweigh the negatives. I thought the end was superb and perfectly set up the story for the sequel. I closed the book eager to pick up The Coldest War when it comes out next year. In sum, a terrific story. Not just a terrific debut, but a quality effort on its own merits. A strong 3.5 stars and one that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: one annoyed star of five (p58) I am on record around these parts as disliking books containing Majgicqk. I have caused a slight coolness to come between myself and certain of my friends with my barely restrained snorts of derision at Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman and their comic-book-superhero storytelling ilk. What I've said about actual comic books...oh, do pardon, graphic novels...would have led to all-out breach were the advocates of same not bound to my soul with hoops of steel. (Google Rating: one annoyed star of five (p58) I am on record around these parts as disliking books containing Majgicqk. I have caused a slight coolness to come between myself and certain of my friends with my barely restrained snorts of derision at Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman and their comic-book-superhero storytelling ilk. What I've said about actual comic books...oh, do pardon, graphic novels...would have led to all-out breach were the advocates of same not bound to my soul with hoops of steel. (Google it, it's a reference.) So what on this wide green earth convinced me to try a book that the publisher markets as "Alan Furst meets Alan Moore?" Alternative history, that's what. A different WWII. Well, that'll learn me. Never again. While I found Mr. Tregillis's writing to be quite deft and pleasant on the eyes, the story he's chosen to tell is just about 180 degrees away from my happy place. This story and I are badly suited, and that makes me feel sad. Superheroes and superpowers and Nazi-fighting...oh nay nay nay, not for this old man. However, and this is important, the storytelling voice here is ripping good stuff, and those without my allergy to stupid supernatural crapola are strongly urged to give Mr. Tregillis's well-written novel a test drive.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    It's been a while since I've been so infuriated by a read. I am pissed this morning after finishing Bitter Seeds because the book is so fucking uneven. The highs are very high, but the lows tend to be abyssal. I considered giving it five stars at a couple of points, vowed to give it one star often, and finally decided that I had better split the difference. Here goes for the Highs and Lows: High #1 -- The conceit of Nazi engineered superheroes whose presence change the course of the war is a winn It's been a while since I've been so infuriated by a read. I am pissed this morning after finishing Bitter Seeds because the book is so fucking uneven. The highs are very high, but the lows tend to be abyssal. I considered giving it five stars at a couple of points, vowed to give it one star often, and finally decided that I had better split the difference. Here goes for the Highs and Lows: High #1 -- The conceit of Nazi engineered superheroes whose presence change the course of the war is a winner. I am loathe to say it is original because an 80s multi-verse timeline in Marvel's Fantastic Four played with that idea, but Tregillis does some original stuff with it, and when he has us hanging out with Dr. von Westarp's damaged children () the book is at its very best. It is, however, partnered by a low. Low #1 -- Nazis as villains are portrayed -- far too often -- as bufoons and/or inhumanly cruel sadists. The former are silly and ineffectual (think of Deitrich and the other the Nazis Indy kicks the crap of in Raiders of the Lost Ark), while the latter are so evil that their nastiness is too threatening to be threatening, which carries no chance of catharsis for the audience (think of any of the pop culture manifestations of Nazis who use torture). These Nazis aren't scary. The scary Nazis are the Nazis who do the things they do because the are all too human, such as Thomas Keneally's portrayal of Amon Goethe in Schindler's List (nee Schindler's Ark). What we have here in Bitter Seeds is a whole schwack of the silliest kind of Nazis. We have Dr. von Westarp as the creepy, sadistic, human guinea pig using scientist; we have Reinhart as the an overbearing necrophiliac; we have Kammler as a leashed moron; we have Heike as a fragile, suicidal victim. But then we have Klaus and Gretel, two Nazi Übers, who have real depth and back story. They should bring equilibrium ... except they don't because, you see, they are not "genuine Aryans," not real Nazis, they are Roma, marginalized within their own SS group and treated as other by both their race and their abilities. Now I don't for a second want the gypsies to change, but some sort of expansion of Kammler or Heike, some sort of explanation for Reinhardt's behaviour (besides the obvious, "he's a Nazi") could have brought the necessary equilibrium. Some time spent defining why anyone else in Germany was the way the were, even Dr. von Westarp, could have pulled them away from caricature and made them antagonists worth spending narrative time with. It doesn't happen, and this missed opportunity is infuriating. High #2 -- The British Warlocks. I loved the idea of supernatural science going toe to toe with supernatural magery. British Warlocks vs. Nazi supermen?! Sounds fucking cool doesn't it? Low #2.0 -- But then the fucking Eidolons show up and we discover that the Warlocks have no magic; theirs is a linguistic capacity that allows them to "negotiate blood prices" for the service of the near-omnipotent Eidolons. Midi-chlorians anyone?! Low #2.1 -- But it got even lower for me where the Eidolans were concerned. The narrative response to England's deals with the Eidolans was to give us Will Beauclerk, sort of the head Warlock working for Milkweed, whose guilt over dealing with the Eidolans leads him to morphine addiction and eventually madness. He feels the terrible pain and gravity of what he "must" do to keep England safe. Slaughtering innocents, making human sacrifices, becomes justified -- or at least rationalized -- in the narrative because there is someone of conscience engaged in the perpetration, which in conjunction with the two-dimensional Nazi caricatures, winds up solidifying the simplistic notion that any Allied atrocity is good because the Nazis were unconscionably bad. High #2.1 -- Yet the ending, (view spoiler)[Will's discovery of the baby isolation vaults at Milkweed headquarters -- wombs of non-language to spawn a new generation of Eidolan negotiators (hide spoiler)] , was a killer moment, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Tregillis will engage meaningfully in an examination of his England's tactics during his reimagined Second World War. Low #2.2 -- I don't buy, however, that Tregillis will do anything of the sort in the The Coldest War. I expect Will's lone voice of conscience will continue to be the factor that negotiates audience acceptance of shitty British behaviour, while caricatured Soviets will be evil no matter what they do. A future low, perhaps, but a low that puts a major dent in my enjoyment of Bitter Seeds. -- Gretel and Klaus and Will. I kept reading (listening) because of them. When Tregillis takes time with his characters, he can do some good things, and these three are the books greatest strengths. Low #3 -- Raybould and Liv. All other poor characters aside, and there are plenty, Raybould Marsh (our protagonist, I suppose), his spouse and their "love" was one of the most ham-fisted relationships I've read. I never bought a moment of their love for one another. I never bought the way they met. I never bought their marriage. I never bought how it motivated Marsh. I never bought their split and reunion. I never the homoerotic triangle that developed between them and Will. I never any of it. Most of the time, it felt as though the publishers (or some outside mentoring source) told Tregillis to add a love story. And this was the best he could do. Well, his best wasn't just "just not good enough," it was destructive to most everything it surrounded. Low #3.1 -- Raybould? What a fucking stupid name. But that's okay, stupid names aren't all that bad, but it puts me in mind of a personal low for me: the names of Brits and Germans in general. I am a huge football fan, so I know, inherently, the names of most footballers in Germany and England, and most of the supporting characters in this book have a corresponding footballer with their name. This is probably coincidence, but it is a coincidence that made me conscious of the narrator every time my mind pictured a modern footballer rather than a person of the proper period. High #4 -- The pace was brisk and compelling ... Low #4 -- ... But the book was way too short. The whole of World War II condensed to this relatively slim volume? A multivolume series could have been written about WWII, let alone his next foray into the Cold War. Bitter Seeds is not anywhere near enough -- it is far too slim -- and with a more languid pace and greater time spent with ALL his characters, many (if not all) of the lows of Tregillis' book could have become highs. I will go on. I will read the The Coldest War because there were parts of this book I really loved. Its potential was great. I wanted to love it. But if the same highs and lows continue, I will stop splitting the difference and go the way of the lowest possible star rating. And those bits of love that make me want to continue will fester into their opposite.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    If you have to give the Nazis credit for anything (note: you do not have to give the Nazis credit for anything), it’s their thoroughness. In addition to fighting a massive war on several fronts and systematically eliminating large swaths of the population in Europe, they also managed to conduct enough bizarre experiments to launch a thousand works of speculative fiction that basically boil down to, wow, those guys were totally fucking crazy. It’s a bit galling that stories of German mad scientist If you have to give the Nazis credit for anything (note: you do not have to give the Nazis credit for anything), it’s their thoroughness. In addition to fighting a massive war on several fronts and systematically eliminating large swaths of the population in Europe, they also managed to conduct enough bizarre experiments to launch a thousand works of speculative fiction that basically boil down to, wow, those guys were totally fucking crazy. It’s a bit galling that stories of German mad scientists provide such nightmarishly fertile ground for writers, but there you have it. Bitter Seeds is an impressive example of this kind of comic book history, which exaggerate the literal horrors just enough (not nearly enough, really, and I don’t mean that as a criticism of the book) to produce a fascinating and compelling “what if?” What if Nazi eugenics experiments created a race of literal supermen, with X-Men-style powers of telekinesis, flight, teleportation and precognition? What if the only way to defeat such a menace involved British warlocks toying with forces greater and more terrible than anything created by man? Ian Tregillis displays imagination to spare in his debut novel, and even if parts of it seem a little familiar, he assembles everything with flair. If you are drawn in by the premise alone, you’ll be delighted – the second half of the book features a number of thrilling, cinematic battles between the Nazi augments and British Special Forces. Never before have I really contemplated the logistics of fighting a dude who can turn himself transparent whenever he wants. I have concluded that it would not go well for me. Look deeper, and there’s more – commentary on the lengths a “civilized” nation will go to fighting a perceived evil, and the moral culpability we all share when our nation goes to war. I’m not without complaints, though, which is why I’m giving this one 3.5 stars. It just wasn’t quite as good as I wanted it to be, mostly because the good guys are straight out of central casting, particularly the heroic point man Raybould (nice name), who doesn’t have much of a personality, which probably explains his relationship with his wife, who doesn’t have any personality, unless you count stoic handwringing. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal if so much of the book didn’t focus on Raybould’s love for his wife and daughter as motivating factors; it’s a lazy way to give him a depth of purpose beyond “this is what I am doing because this is the plot of the book.” Those offenses are largely forgiven because so much else works. The prime antagonist, Gretel, is fascinating and, if anything, underused (probably because to use her more would threaten to derail the book entirely). The concept of someone with perfect precognition – the ability to know everything before it happens, and to see the future mutate and change as her actions create ripples on the water… It’s an unfathomable power, and I can’t imagine how such a person could ever be defeated. Which is probably why Tregillis needs two additional books to figure out how to do it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Holley

    I’m sad to tell you that this book was not for me. I’m unabashedly fickle and self-centered with my star ratings, so I have to give this book only three stars, when objectively it’s probably a four-star book. Ian Tregillis is a GR author and friend of our beloved Ceridwen and Sock Puppet. Sock Puppet even designed Mr. Tregillis’s beautiful website. So what I’m telling you is that this book is objectively awesome, and you should read it, even though it’s not my personal bag of treats. Also, what I’m sad to tell you that this book was not for me. I’m unabashedly fickle and self-centered with my star ratings, so I have to give this book only three stars, when objectively it’s probably a four-star book. Ian Tregillis is a GR author and friend of our beloved Ceridwen and Sock Puppet. Sock Puppet even designed Mr. Tregillis’s beautiful website. So what I’m telling you is that this book is objectively awesome, and you should read it, even though it’s not my personal bag of treats. Also, what beautiful cover art, right? If I were in a movie, I would want to be the jargon-talking tech guy. You know that’s why Morgan Freeman wanted to be in the new Batmans – he gets to say things like, “Here it is: the nomex survival suit for advanced infantry. Kevlar bi-weave, reinforced joints . . .” and later, “Memory fabric- dual layer polymers with variable alignment molecules. Flexible ordinarily, but put a current through it . . .” So badass. And who even cares if it means anything? This book is full of stuff like that. It’s page after page of things you’d want to say if you were a sidekick in a movie. And not just the dialogue either - the descriptions are all pretty badass, too, even if I don’t really get what some of them mean at first glance. Here are a couple of examples: Reinhardt strode across the munitions range while two technicians readied the bipod of an MG 34 machine rifle. He cloaked himself in flames and motioned for them to begin. Reinhardt stood at attention, head high and chin thrust out, unfazed by the ammunition vaporizing against his chest. The bullets disappeared as violet coruscations within a man-shaped corona of blue fire. And: And so the ravens stayed, and watched. Twined contrails traced sigils in the bright blue sky over the island. The attackers swarmed around the lattice masts dotting the coast like honeybees drawn to sunflowers. One by one, the towers fell, rendering the defenders blind. It was as though their eyes had been plucked out in homage to some ancient myth. Those are just examples that I randomly picked flipping through the book. It would all be fun to read out loud. This story is an alternate history of WWII, describing the war through fantastical, scientific-magical events in England and Germany. Unfortunately, I think I missed a lot of the WWII references and manipulations because I don’t know much detail about the actual war and its battles. I think it would be completely valid to say that I can’t properly appreciate this book because of that. I only have two actual criticisms of the book, and I hope they don’t get into your head if you decide to read it. Especially if sci-fi and WWII are some of your raisons d’etre, you should definitely purchase this book at a local retailer, regardless of what I have to say. In general, I’d call it a grown-up, disillusioned take on the themes of A Wrinkle in Time, and I mean that description as an unqualified compliment. But, now for the criticisms. First, the tech-specific sidekick speak was fun, and creative, and even beautiful at times, but it added to this general sense I had that all of the characters were sidekicks, and there was no real protagonist or antagonist in the story. There might have been four anti-heroes who were the protagonists, but they all match up to some pretty stock sidekick characters, so it’s difficult for me to think of one as central or of them as a central group. Those four characters were the loveable misanthrope, Cassandra, the henchman, and the guy who says, “When I get out of this war, imma go home and kiss my wife,” right before a bomb hits him. They’re good stock characters, and the touches Tergillis put on them were all pretty sweet. Like, the misanthrope was also a wizard, and Cassandra was and evil plotter, but well respected. Smart. But the purpose those characters usually serve in a story is to foster a sense of foreboding or to be expendable. Ultimately, using these characters, for me, created a gloom over the entire story, like the ubiquitous ravens circling over anticipated carrion. FYI, I googled “misanthrope” because I was suddenly not sure if that was what I meant, and this amazing blog came up. I thought you would want to know. Second, it is very likely that the sense of impending doom was purposeful, but for me it made it so that when tragedy did occur in the story I felt so thoroughly warned that I had no emotional connection to the actual event. Every tragedy or shock came with very clear and straightforward foreshadowing, and rather than create suspense, this only served to tell me not to get emotionally involved. That might have been a very personal reaction to the story or it might have been a very conscious choice on the part of Tregillis, but it makes me uneasy. And that’s not spoiling the story to say that, I don’t think, because it was my reaction from first being introduced to the characters and doesn’t necessarily reflect what actually happens to them. I felt detached. One last thing that makes me feel uncomfortable isn’t a criticism, but just something I have to ask about: am I supposed to know who the appearing/disappearing dude is? Why was he appearing and disappearing? Not knowing this makes me feel like either I missed something vital to this entire story or the book was actually an episode of LOST, and I’m supposed to wait for the sequel. I really hope the answer is behind door number one. Some books I bump up a star because of personal taste; this is one I bumped down a star for that reason. I feel like it’s a problem that I referred to this book as sci-fi and am going to do so again, when really it’s more of a magical realism/steampunk/alternative history/war memoir, but it’s easier that way. I’m bad at reading good sci-fi and fantasy because I’m really good at suspending disbelief, but if you ever start to explain to me why I should suspend disbelief, I automatically disbelieve you. If you say to me, “God created the world,” or “An explosion created the world,” I’m there. But if you try to prove to me why it’s only logical that one or another happened because of molecules or gamma rays or other phlebotinum, I not only don’t believe you, I’ve started trying to lawyer you, and I’ve probably gotten distracted from what you’re actually telling me. That’s not how you should read good sci-fi or fantasy. You should be happy that the author created reasons and systems for the fantastical elements. It’s a curse. So, read this book. It’s new and fresh and smart. Don’t get distracted by my problem with well-explained phlebotinum because you’d be missing out on some beautiful writing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    First allow me the indulgence of repeating what I said in one of my status updates on this book, as it still holds true and sums up quite well how much I enjoyed the book: Okay, this book is AWESOME. It's got a kickin pace, cool ideas, and likable characters (even the "bad guys"). … it's a whole bucket o' fun. If that tells you what you need to know, you can stop here. Now I'll say what I really want to say, which has very little (and very much) to do with the book at hand. ------------------------ First allow me the indulgence of repeating what I said in one of my status updates on this book, as it still holds true and sums up quite well how much I enjoyed the book: Okay, this book is AWESOME. It's got a kickin pace, cool ideas, and likable characters (even the "bad guys"). … it's a whole bucket o' fun. If that tells you what you need to know, you can stop here. Now I'll say what I really want to say, which has very little (and very much) to do with the book at hand. ------------------------------------------------ I finished Bitter Seeds in July 2010 and originally posted a placeholder review with a promise to write a real review when I got back from a ten-day vacation. Then I didn't write anything, and Ceridwen got pissed, so here I am, posting a real review. But I want you (and I mean you, Ceridwen) to understand what happened. I finished this book in the car on the road from Sacramento to San Diego. It's a good 8-9 hour drive with the kids in the minivan. At the time we lived in Sacramento and were planning a move to San Diego in late 2010 or early 2011, and we were driving to San Diego to look for a place to live, to tour our kids' new school, meet up with some old friends, and hit Disneyland on the way back. Hence the placeholder review. Then life happened. In a big way. We went to San Diego and realized we belong there (now San Diego is "here"). I have a nervous system disorder that literally feels better in sunshine, which is abundant in San Diego, my kids fell in love with the Catholic school in which we wanted to enroll them, my old friends in San Diego needed some people they could lean on. Plus there's the fact that I got my undergrad degree at San Diego State in the mid-90's and left my heart there—err, here. Most importantly, however, was the fact that my wife and I needed a fresh start in a new place—you cannot discount the importance of geography, the much-more-than-symbolic effect of leaving behind the place that contains the bad memories, of making new memories somewhere else where you must rely upon one another and nobody else. We realized that our kids would be better off starting in their new school at the beginning of the school year rather than coming in mid-year when they would be "the new kids," when all the little cliques and alliances had already formed. We realized also that we had nothing to lose, that as a couple and as a family we needed this move because we had to drop our baggage and run far away, and the only thing stopping us was us. So I told my employer I was moving and I'd really like to work for them from our San Diego office and my wife told her teacher credentialing program she'd like to finish her courses by correspondence. My employer and my wife's school both said yes. (The key to getting such people to say "yes" to such things is convincing them that you're going to move regardless of what they say. It was easy because we weren't bluffing.) On or about July 10th we decided to move to San Diego ASAP, and on August 16th we moved. It was the second-best decision we've ever made as a couple … the best being our decision to stay married in the first place. Giant tangent, right? Right. So, beyond explaining why it took me so long to write a review, what does any of this have to do with Bitter Seeds? In one sense, nothing; that's merely what was going on in my life when I read the book. In another sense, everything, because that's what was going on in my life when I read the book. See, here's the thing. And I know you know this, but I'm going to make it explicit just in case: how you feel about a book, how the book touches you, what you take home from a book, all that stuff—it's all tied to the context of your life at the time you're reading. We're each touched in different manners and degrees not merely because we each have a unique set of neurons that fire differently, but because we're coming to the party from different places in our lives. My feelings about Doomsday Book, for example, were heavily influenced by what was happening in my life at the time. Looking back on reading Bitter Seeds some six or seven months ago, and having read several books since then, I have trouble recalling many specific plot points and can't recall being touched or surprised or made to think in any particular way. What I can remember is having a whole heckuv a lot of fun reading the book, and what I was doing at the time. My wife and I were involved in our own private war, one which we first thought was against one another but which we realized—about the time I was reading Bitter Seeds--was us against not us. You see, the seeds of victory against one another would have grown into bitter fruit had one of us "won" that war … in the long run, it would have been a defeat for both of us and for our children. For me, then, Bitter Seeds is as much about fighting the wrong war as it is about fighting Dubya Dubya Two. Bitter Seeds is about going all out for victory against one enemy while failing to recognize another. Bitter Seeds is about taking shortcuts that produce a "victory" that tastes as bitter as defeat. Thank God, Fate, Providence … thank Whatever … for my wife and I realizing these things before it became too late. We realized the true war we were fighting was the war against failure and separation. We dug up our bitter seeds and threw them out. We took no more shortcuts to victory in the wrong war. Instead we rediscovered our love for one another, our own inner courage as individuals and as a couple, and our common faith, and relied on those values to see us through. Think of the things that we, in 21st Century Western Civilization, use as shortcuts past love and courage and faith. Money is the obvious example, not to mention the stuff that money can buy. We sometimes, ironically, unfortunately, use relationships as a shortcut; this may not be obvious, but think about it … think about real friendships vs. the appearance of friendships, true human connection vs. merely going through the motions. In Bitter Seeds both sides tried shortcuts to victory: superhuman creations and supernatural visitors. They lost their values. Okay, I know that sounds odd, saying the Nazis lost their values. But they did. The Germanic people were supposed to be the Master Race, not merely the seeds of an artificially enhanced master race. And, well, if it's not clear to you how the Brits lost their values, then I don't know how to explain it. I suppose I better address some of the foreseeable objections: I'm not saying the U.S. in the actual WWII stuck to its values terribly well; we had our dark side, too, but we ultimately weren't held hostage by our fire bombings of civilian populations the way the Brits were held hostage by their aliens in Bitter Seeds. I'm also not trying to say that you must have my notions of love, courage, and faith in order to successfully fight your own private wars. You have your own values; don't shortcut them. Nor am I saying that if you act in accordance with your own values everything will turn out fine for you. None of us can predict the future. None of us can entirely avoid forces outside our control. Still, you will have your values—and as stronger sense of who you are—to fall back on. Is that small consolation if your loved one is killed in a car wreck? Yes, abso-fucking-lutely it is. But if that happens I have no answers for you. Finally, I know you're thinking that dumping all our problems in Sacramento and moving to one of the most beautiful cities in North America sure sounds like a shortcut to you. All I can say is that, for you, maybe that would be a shortcut; for us, it was not. It was much more about leaving our shortcuts behind than where we ended up. We went to San Diego because we were already pretty familiar with the area, had some friends there, and my employer has an office there—err, here (I'm still getting used to it). My family and I moved to a gorgeous new city but we didn't shortcut the important things: our love for one another, our inner courage as a couple, and our faith in a spiritual calling. Whatever else might still go wrong with our journey together, we have those things to fall back on, because we didn't shortcut them. So all I'm saying is that taking a shortcut around your own innate human qualities will ultimately become a longer road, as you will have to fight to recover the world you have lost, the values you have lost, and, if you're unlucky, the people you have lost.

  7. 5 out of 5

    seak

    I don't always get behind alternate histories. There's something in me that screams for the truth. These are definitely not the truth, look in a history book. Yeah, that's from the guy who reads 99 fantasy books out of 100. Oh and one of my favorites is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (though that's much more magical and fairyland-ish). But once you change the past, that just throws me off too much. I don't know why. Still haven't read a thing by Harry Turtledove. But throw superheros into an alt I don't always get behind alternate histories. There's something in me that screams for the truth. These are definitely not the truth, look in a history book. Yeah, that's from the guy who reads 99 fantasy books out of 100. Oh and one of my favorites is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (though that's much more magical and fairyland-ish). But once you change the past, that just throws me off too much. I don't know why. Still haven't read a thing by Harry Turtledove. But throw superheros into an alternate World War Two and for some reason that just clicked with me. I had a great time with this book. I guess it doesn't hurt that I lived in Germany for a while, speak German and all that. It did kill me during a part where the English-speaker gets by speaking flawless German (which is just close to impossible without speaking it as a child), but otherwise, I enjoyed this from start to finish. I got this as a review copy on audio, but publishers have this problem with not sending the sequels ever. I know, wo is me, I have to buy a book, but that explains why I haven't made it any further. Got sidetracked with other books while waiting for the sequel. Kevin Pariseau did an excellent job on the narration, did a fine German accent, which is what really counted in this one. :) 4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eh?Eh!

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. To remember for the next book, more questions than anything else. Alternate history of WWII. I hear it's been researched for excruciating detail? I'm sorry I lack the knowledge to appreciate all of it. Britain has warlocks that seem to have kept themselves secret but are now eager to use their power (for themselves? doesn't seem like for the war effort except peripherally). They have no power of their own but were trained to speak the language of powerful beings and negotiate for things in return To remember for the next book, more questions than anything else. Alternate history of WWII. I hear it's been researched for excruciating detail? I'm sorry I lack the knowledge to appreciate all of it. Britain has warlocks that seem to have kept themselves secret but are now eager to use their power (for themselves? doesn't seem like for the war effort except peripherally). They have no power of their own but were trained to speak the language of powerful beings and negotiate for things in return for blood or lives. The prices increase over the course of the war - why was it low to begin with? Did the warlocks exercise restraint and not experiment until now, given free rein by the government? Nazi Germany has nutso doctor who took in orphans and experimented to create superhumans (but require batteries and the technology is clunky). The energized children have a massive case of Stockholm Syndrome. Doctor:children::Hitler:Germany? That would be an apologetic view for the country. -Why are the Eidolons so fascinated with Raybould (what a name) Marsh? -Why was Greta so intent on Agnes? -Who was the man with the scar from the corner of the left eye down the jaw and across the neck? Who recognized Will and was tearful, who recognized and was recognized by Greta, who fails to shoot Marsh's leg out before the un-suprise attack, who kept disappearing? -What will happen to the new baby? Yaaaarrrrggghhhhhh! Hanging questions! All are suffering in this war, but the children (TEH CHILDREN, THINK OF THEM) are suffering the most. Bothers me because they can't fight back or on, unless they can survive to adulthood? From what I remember through the book: -orphans collected for experimentation, the weak are killed immediately and many die in the process -children are collected for safe-keeping, separated from parents because of limited space and resources, but the location is bombed and all die -the proximity of the Eidolons cause children, who are vulnerable to their influence while young and open, to slip into an unnatural dream state -for the sake of creating more warlocks, more orphans are used Greta is a scary mofo. Other kids were warped by the evil doc but before she was cut up, before she has her prescient gift, before we learn anything about her that could explain, when she's a little girl in the back of a wagon, she stares at a sick boy and then makes sure he dies. We see the story through Raybould Marsh, but I think there's more consideration given through the views of warlock William and battery-powered Klaus. There's nothing through Greta's eyes. She's still scary. Germany and Britain are alike in using and throwing away people. Brrr, scarier than Greta. What can the people do if the government does things secretly, for the good of the cause? Is it better that way, so we can keep our moral outrage? The scapegoat was innocent but not immediately useful and an easy disposal to keep the Milkweed operation secret. The Eidolon sacrifices...sacrificing innocents and disguising it as terrorism or accidents because using prisoners would bring too much attention (or heck, not using warlockery because it's wrong to kill?)? And then the orphans, the babies, isolated in an effort to create more warlocks? Teh children. *whimper*

  9. 4 out of 5

    John McDermott

    Genetically altered Nazi supermen against English warlocks in a battle for supremacy in an alternate World War II setting ? Absolutely. What's not to like ! Bitter Seeds was great fun, if not a little dark. All the characters were very well done with not all being overly good or bad but just doing what they thought needed to happen in order to achieve victory. This usually meant a lot of people ending up dead. Another aspect of the novel I liked was how it always kept its focus on the characters Genetically altered Nazi supermen against English warlocks in a battle for supremacy in an alternate World War II setting ? Absolutely. What's not to like ! Bitter Seeds was great fun, if not a little dark. All the characters were very well done with not all being overly good or bad but just doing what they thought needed to happen in order to achieve victory. This usually meant a lot of people ending up dead. Another aspect of the novel I liked was how it always kept its focus on the characters ,and how they coped with events ,without unnecessarily widening the viewpoint of the reader and describing the wider world 🌎of WW II. This,in my opinion ,kept things tight and made for a very entertaining read. I highly recommend this one and I'm very much looking forward to the next.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    I have already reviewed Bitter Seeds, the remarkable first work from newly published author Ian Tregillis, over here. That review was not really about the book per se, but more about how the book had a positive influence in my life when I was dealing with some serious issues. The book's message, or at least what I think was the book's message, changed my thinking in a positive way and helped me decide not to surrender in the face of pretty tough odds. I decided to fight to keep something rare an I have already reviewed Bitter Seeds, the remarkable first work from newly published author Ian Tregillis, over here. That review was not really about the book per se, but more about how the book had a positive influence in my life when I was dealing with some serious issues. The book's message, or at least what I think was the book's message, changed my thinking in a positive way and helped me decide not to surrender in the face of pretty tough odds. I decided to fight to keep something rare and valuable, and it's a fight that changed my life for the better. So for that, Ian, I've got to say thank you. Seriously, man, thank you. With the sentimental sappiness out of the way, let's get to the issue at hand. I've now listened to the audiobook version and I'd like to say a few things about the book itself. Let's do bad news first. My primary complaint about Bitter Seeds is that it isn't long enough. The storyline is pure genius as far as I'm concerned, the characters varied and complex. However, some of the plot points and character developments aren't set up as well as they could be. Certain things are rushed and Tregillis would have been better served taking his time to let them play out properly, give them the backstory they need and deserve. The love story of Raybould and Liv Marsh is a good example: their love turns out to be central to the development of Marsh as a character and a key to the progress of certain important plot points. Yet Tregillis rushes the reader through their courtship, marriage, and childbirth as though he's in a hurry to get back to the things he really enjoys writing about … you know, eidolons and super-Nazis and such. I was left with a sense of being hurried along, as though Tregillis had a hold of my elbow and was pushing me past a window whilst talking about something much more interesting up ahead, hoping I wouldn't look too closely at whatever lay behind the glass. That hurried sense made me wonder what I was missing, made it difficult to accept the sincerity, the reality of a relationship that must be accepted for the plot to work properly. I felt similarly about Gretel's psychopathic, perhaps even solipsistic, view of the world around her. But my understanding is that questions about her eeeevil will be answered in the next two books … they better be answered, or else … well, you know, or else. Now the good news. Even with the flaws, you'll note I gave this book four stars, and I stand by that rating. This is one darn creative book which was impressively well researched and fleshed-out. I love this book. In the jargon of the East Bay, where I grew up, this book is hella cool. I mean, Nazi science-produced ubermensch versus British warlocks who summon demons from outside space and time? Dude, what's not to love about that?! Okay, so beyond the NorCal-jargon-laced extolation (is that a word?), I do have some more specific praise for this book. For one thing, I love the pacing. The book never gets too fast for my taste, nor too slow. Tregillis seems to know when to pick up the pace to hold my interest, and when to downshift to let me take a breather. I also like the dialogue. I know, that's a weird thing to compliment, right? Maybe it is, but we live in a world of horrible dialogue and I thought the characters in this book had some pretty bad-ass conversations about some pretty serious issues. And I thought the whole fucken-scary aspect of Gretel was, well, fucken scary. I mean, dude, that bitch fucken scares me. Really that was perhaps the most crazy brilliant part of the book: writing a character that gives me nightmares. Nothing gives me nightmares … *shiver* … except for Gretel … And, of course, I loved the book's message. That was the focus of my review of the print edition so I won't delve deep here, but basically I thought Tregillis had an original take the kinds of acts the Allies were willing to commit to win WWII, how easily we can lose our own humanity even as we dehumanize our enemies. In any case, that's what I took home from Bitter Seeds, and I don't know about you, but for me, that sort of thing is why I read books. ------------------------------- Okay, so I thought I ended the review pretty well above, yes? All dramatic and heartfelt and shit. But I didn't say anything about Kevin Pariseau's reading of the audiobook, and I feel like I should. The narration was something more than good, perhaps approaching great, without quite being excellent. Mr. Pariseau did the voices and accents much better than I expected; perhaps he exaggerated the German accents a little much, but at least it was clear who was talking. And he had a mostly good sense of pace, though during some of the tense scenes his voice was, I thought, too relaxed. So a solid B+ on the reading. It's worth listening to while you commute.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Oleksandr Zholud

    This is the first volume of debut trilogy by Ian Tregillis. Like his later trilogy, The Alchemy Wars, it plays with alternate history and magic / alchemy as a real thing. This story is started in 1920, when a mansion is Germany buys young healthy children, while in the Great Britain a retired officer adopts a boy, who protected weak, while another boy is taken by his grandfather to take part in some ritual with spilling boy’s blood. Fast forward to 1939, civil war Spain. A defector from Nazi, who This is the first volume of debut trilogy by Ian Tregillis. Like his later trilogy, The Alchemy Wars, it plays with alternate history and magic / alchemy as a real thing. This story is started in 1920, when a mansion is Germany buys young healthy children, while in the Great Britain a retired officer adopts a boy, who protected weak, while another boy is taken by his grandfather to take part in some ritual with spilling boy’s blood. Fast forward to 1939, civil war Spain. A defector from Nazi, who helped Franco tries to escape and brings information of interest for the secret service. Raybould Marsh, who is a British secret agent now and was that adopted boy in the past, meets the defector, but before they can talk, the man turns into blazing torch and dies. Shift of a point of view and kids taken to the mansion are adults and they have special powers, which are powered (pardon my pun) by some kind of battery. Each person has own specialty, which on a first glance reminds of the Fantastic Four – a man with fire control, one that than pass thru solid objects (air?), telekinetic (earth?) and a woman who can see into future (water as in river of time). The World War II starts and the Reich got a superteam, so British a grasping at straws and asks warlocks for help. The rest of the story is in notably different 1939-1941, with a lot of action and many players with own agenda, the most influential being that augur woman, who seems not keen to let Nazi win, but is fine with killing civilians… The debut trilogy is weaker than the later one, but still pretty interesting. I will definitely continue reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tom Merritt

    Most definitely loved this book. Could not put it down. The elegance in which the war was recast is impressive. And the subtlety with which Tregellis balanced the blurred lines of right and wrong were impressive. Plus as a fan of wartime Britain novels, he did a more than fair job of capturing the essence of that time as I have seen it related in books from the era. Well worth the read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    Rating: 3.8-4.0 stars Ian Tregillis’ Bitter Seeds is an alternate history where the Nazi’s have trained up a group of technologically enhanced psychics (a perverted Fantastic Four), and the desperate British have resorted to consorting with omniscient beings who would like nothing better than to wipe the stain of biological life from the Earth (a la Lovecraft’s Elder Gods) in an attempt to defeat them. The (mostly) Good Guys: Raybould Marsh: Rescued from the slums of post-WW I London by Stephen Rating: 3.8-4.0 stars Ian Tregillis’ Bitter Seeds is an alternate history where the Nazi’s have trained up a group of technologically enhanced psychics (a perverted Fantastic Four), and the desperate British have resorted to consorting with omniscient beings who would like nothing better than to wipe the stain of biological life from the Earth (a la Lovecraft’s Elder Gods) in an attempt to defeat them. The (mostly) Good Guys: Raybould Marsh: Rescued from the slums of post-WW I London by Stephenson, the future head of Britain’s MI6 and later Project Milkweed, Marsh grows up to become an ersatz son to Stephenson and his right-hand man. Will Beauclerk: Will is the second son of the duke of Aelred and the reluctant apprentice of his grandfather, a warlock, someone who traffics with the Eidolons. He and Marsh meet at college, and it’s Marsh’s knowledge that Will knows about esoteric matters that brings the two together years later when evidence emerges about the Germans’ activities. The British side of the story is told from both Will’s and Marsh’s POVs. The Bad Guys: Dr. von Westarp: If we’re to continue with the Fantastic Four analogy, then Dr. von Westarp is a very perverted Reed Richards, the sociopathic mad scientist who first begins experimenting on war orphans after the First World War. Klaus: Aside from the pathological Nazi indoctrination and virulent German nationalism that warps his perceptions, Klaus is a reasonably decent enough young man with the ability (enabled by Dr. von Westarp’s technology) to dematerialize (a la Kitty Pryde, which takes us into X-Men territory). The German side of the story is told exclusively from his POV. Gretel: Gretel is Klaus’ sister, a precognitive and a sociopath with an agenda of her own. Gretel dispenses her oracular pronouncements selectively, which means the Germans can take advantage of them but not everything goes their way. Gretel is wholly heartless with (maybe) a measure of regard for her brother alone, which is early established in the prologue when she, Klaus and a nameless, sickly fellow orphan are brought to Dr. von Westarp’s “orphanage”: The adults haggled. The driver saw the girl step behind the doctor to give the towheaded boy a quick shove. He stumbled in the mud. The impact unleashed another volley of coughs and spasms. He rested on all fours, spittle trailing from his lips. The doctor broke off in midsentence, his head snapping around to watch the boy. “What is this? That boy is ill. Look! He’s weak.” “It’s the weather,” the driver mumbled. “Makes everyone cough.” “I’ll pay you for the other two, but not this one,” said the doctor. “I’m not wasting my time on him.” He waved the workman over from the field. The tall man joined the adults and children with long loping strides. “This one is too ill,” said the doctor. “Take him.” The workman put his hand on the sickly child’s shoulder and led him away. They disappeared behind a shed…. Clang. A sharp noise rang out from behind the shed, like the blade of a shovel hitting something hard, followed by the softer bump-slump as of a grain sack dropping into soft earth. A storm of black wings slapped the air as a flock of ravens took for the sky. The gypsy girl hurried to regain her brother. The corner of her mouth twisted up in a private little smile as she took his hand…. (pp. 16-17) The other members of Dr. von Westarp’s Götterelektrongruppe are Reinhardt (The Human Torch); Heike (The Invisible Girl); Kammler (The Thing); and the Twins, two mute girls who can feel and communicate with each other over any distance. All of them can only manifest their powers when hooked up to batteries that enable their Willenskräfte. The Seriously Bad Bad Guys: The Eidolons: As I wrote above, the Eidolons are omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent beings who feel nothing but loathing for the human insects that infect the universe and would like nothing better than to wipe us all out. They’re prevented from doing this because they can’t perceive us without some mitigating factor – in this case, blood. For centuries, human warlocks have cautiously dealt with them but the more the Eidolons’ powers are called upon, the greater the price they demand. The first time Will calls them up, they demand his finger as the price; by the time the British use them against the Germans, they are demanding the deaths of dozens. So far the two strengths of the series are the characters of Will and Gretel. I think Tregillis is doing a fine job tracking Will’s accelerating mental deterioration as he’s called upon to do things that make him no better than Dr. von Westarp and the Nazis. And Gretel reminds me of no one so much as Penelope Bailey from Mike Resnick’s Soothsayer et al. books. In that series, Penelope is a young girl who can alter the course of the future by her actions, and the one person who truly cares for her is the one man who’s also determined to kill her, despite the fact that she can anticipate his every action. Another series Bitter Seeds reminds me of is A.A. Attanasio’s take on the Arthur legend, beginning with The Dragon and the Unicorn. There, the demon who impregnates Merlin’s mother is of a similarly omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent race born in the fires of Creation and similarly inimical to all biological life (the authors’ respective treatments of the subject are far different, however). The weakest part of the story was Raybould Marsh, particularly the thread about his wife and first child. The set up of his love for Liv, his wife, and Agnes, their baby (view spoiler)[, who’s deliberately targeted by Gretel to die (hide spoiler)] , felt too staged and stereotypical to come across as authentic. Aside from that, this book gets a very strong recommendation. I’m looking forward to its sequel, The Coldest War, due out next year (2012), with almost as much anticipation as I did with Erikson’s Malazan novels. NOTE: I almost forgot to mention that Tor.com is hosting the short story "What Doctor Gottlieb Saw", which recounts an incident at Dr. von Westarp's establishment prior to the events in Bitter Seeds. I read it before tackling the novel because I wanted to get a taste of Tregillis' style.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    This book could have been a story arc in a comic book, and I mean that in a good way. In fact, I'm thinking that could be why I liked this book so much. You have British warlocks versus Nazi Germany's engineered super soldiers in an alternate history of World War II. At this point in the story, the U.S. is still out of the picture and the Soviet Union only gets involved later in the book. The British have discovered that Nazi scientists have been developed a technology to create a group of "super This book could have been a story arc in a comic book, and I mean that in a good way. In fact, I'm thinking that could be why I liked this book so much. You have British warlocks versus Nazi Germany's engineered super soldiers in an alternate history of World War II. At this point in the story, the U.S. is still out of the picture and the Soviet Union only gets involved later in the book. The British have discovered that Nazi scientists have been developed a technology to create a group of "supermen" -- there's a guy who can manipulate fire, a woman who can turn invisible, another dude who can walk through solid matter, etc. The British know they're screwed unless they come up with something fast, so they end up recruiting a bunch of their warlocks to counter the enemy. But the story is a lot darker than it sounds, or at least that's how I felt. There are parts that were really emotionally disturbing and/or upsetting to me; the whole book just has this heavy, gloomy vibe surrounding it, which isn't uncommon for books that explore the theme of whether the ends justify the means -- because there's a catch to the warlocks' power. Apparently, it comes only from a group of omnipotent extra-planar beings called the Eidolons, demon-like creatures who demand a "blood price" for their services. Not to mention that the book's main antagonist, the Nazi's super-soldier pre-cog named Gretel is one crazy scary bitch. She's even crazier and scarier than the Nazi's mad scientist. The people on her own side are afraid of her. Heck, her own brother thinks she's nutters. And yet, her personality is handled just subtly enough so the reader doesn't simply brush her off as just another cookie-cutter psycho supervillain. Personally, I found her fascinating in a creepy, discomforting sort of way, because you're left wondering what could anyone with the perfect ability to see the future and manipulate events possibly have planned for the world? It hurts my head just to work out the paradoxes, and quite frankly I don't really want to think about it at all. Like I said, there were parts of this book that really disturbed and upset me, but not in the way that would make me want to put it down. Most of the time, it was the penetrating feeling of dread that hit me as I was reading, the anticipation of impending disaster or of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's a good, suspenseful fear, and I suppose it speaks well of the author that he was able to make me feel this way, because it doesn't normally happen unless I get emotionally invested in the story or the characters. I don't want to make this book sound all doom and gloom, though. It's beautifully written and Ian Tregillis has clearly done his homework on the historical period. Despite the occult paranormal and science fiction elements, you get a highly realistic sense of the war setting. The main characters are also very well done; we see the story play out through three main narratives -- Marsh the British agent, Will the warlock, and Klaus the Nazi super soldier -- and between them I got a pretty clear picture of what's happening on all sides. It's probably true that the ideas in this novel aren't completely original; you can probably recognize elements of them from other works, but the way Tregillis has mashed them together and the context he uses made this a really intriguing read. I'm really looking forward to picking up the rest of the series if it means I'll be getting more of that good stuff. Science fiction fans with an inclination towards alternate history should definitely check this out, especially if you have an interest in the WWII era.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I knew this was a retelling, an alternate history of WWII with a fantasy bent to it, and rather expected a Captain America feel. I was very wrong on that count. Gretel was thoroughly enjoyable as the main villain, and I still picture her in my mind as a young flighty woman who loves to read poetry and pick wildflowers and carries a secret torch for a young man. Never mind that she's completely insane and is willing to sacrifice the world for her own gain. Actually, I was really impressed with the I knew this was a retelling, an alternate history of WWII with a fantasy bent to it, and rather expected a Captain America feel. I was very wrong on that count. Gretel was thoroughly enjoyable as the main villain, and I still picture her in my mind as a young flighty woman who loves to read poetry and pick wildflowers and carries a secret torch for a young man. Never mind that she's completely insane and is willing to sacrifice the world for her own gain. Actually, I was really impressed with the depiction of England, which has fallen very very far, indeed. The bitter seeds from the title could entirely be planted by those plucky English chaps. I particularly liked the mix of quasi-Cthulhu Eidolons as a substitute for demonic contracts and the more traditional stick-those-wires-in-the-brain awakenings. I mention these things first because I found them fun, but more than that, I really enjoyed the story and the characterizations. I kept wanting to see a secret agent book with magic and sci-fi elements in WWII, but what I actually find is a heart-felt analysis of hard choices, coping mechanisms, regret, loss, and a deep horror at the situation. Mr. Tregillis could easily write a straight novel without any fantasy elements and be perfectly at home, but he succeeds in making a great sci-fi/fantasy novel. I know it is just beginning, of course, and so I'm going to sink my teeth in the next, now.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lancer

    Very good beginning to a trilogy and does the job of setting up for the next two books well. I have enjoyed Tregellis's writing style and prose in all I have read of his so far. Bitter Seeds plants the seeds for the trilogy introducing readers to an alternate history WW2 only this time the Nazi have been experimenting on creating super soldiers and the British are employing warlocks using blood magic. What I really enjoyed about these were that they had limits. They could not just use the powers Very good beginning to a trilogy and does the job of setting up for the next two books well. I have enjoyed Tregellis's writing style and prose in all I have read of his so far. Bitter Seeds plants the seeds for the trilogy introducing readers to an alternate history WW2 only this time the Nazi have been experimenting on creating super soldiers and the British are employing warlocks using blood magic. What I really enjoyed about these were that they had limits. They could not just use the powers all the time or as much as they wanted. The super soldiers needed batteries connected through there skulls to use there powers and of course these could run out. The British warlocks also are not limitless as we all know how blood magic works. Will definitely follow up on this series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tudor Ciocarlie

    It is clear that Ian Tregillis is a very talented writer, but Bitter Seeds offers a very simplistic view on everything related to the 2nd World War. "The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons" and this is why the Blitzkrieg was successful and the invasion of Britain was not. For anyone who read one or two books about WWII, reading this novel is like reading the Genesis from the Bible after you've read Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins. It is clear that Ian Tregillis is a very talented writer, but Bitter Seeds offers a very simplistic view on everything related to the 2nd World War. "The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons" and this is why the Blitzkrieg was successful and the invasion of Britain was not. For anyone who read one or two books about WWII, reading this novel is like reading the Genesis from the Bible after you've read Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

    There really aren't any descriptions that can do justice to Bitter Seeds. It's quite different than any book I've ever read. It's set in an alternate WWII where the Germans have started training children to use superpowers shortly after WWI, and the English are using wizards to fight off the Germans. Atrocities are committed on both sides of the channel. Tregillis really drives home the point that war causes people to do evil and suffer the consequences of evil. Although the Germans have superhum There really aren't any descriptions that can do justice to Bitter Seeds. It's quite different than any book I've ever read. It's set in an alternate WWII where the Germans have started training children to use superpowers shortly after WWI, and the English are using wizards to fight off the Germans. Atrocities are committed on both sides of the channel. Tregillis really drives home the point that war causes people to do evil and suffer the consequences of evil. Although the Germans have superhumans, they not like the Marvel and DC superheroes. They are completely dependent on technology to amplify their powers. There really are no heroes in Bitter Seeds. I will caution that the ending of this book is quite open-ended. A lot of questions are left unanswered and there is a horrific set-up for future stories at the end. I certainly hope that Tregillis is planning to write more stories in this alternate WWII setting.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    I have just finished this one (April 13 debut US) and it was awesome; I will write a more detailed mini-review soon, but it's a novel that can appeal to fans of sf, fantasy and horror since it has elements of all. A+ to A++ (gotta leave it a little to see how it settles); this one fits the "mainstream fantastic" category better than core-sf or core-fantasy since it's a sort of alternate history with a little bit of supernatural at the beginning that turns into a lot as the novel goes on, great, g I have just finished this one (April 13 debut US) and it was awesome; I will write a more detailed mini-review soon, but it's a novel that can appeal to fans of sf, fantasy and horror since it has elements of all. A+ to A++ (gotta leave it a little to see how it settles); this one fits the "mainstream fantastic" category better than core-sf or core-fantasy since it's a sort of alternate history with a little bit of supernatural at the beginning that turns into a lot as the novel goes on, great, great characters, some action scenes that are just unbelievable - Nazi "supermen" and their support troops against British warlocks and their special troops - while the ending just left me wanting the next installment asap

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matt Brady

    Very strong, and surprisingly dark, with moral ambiguity galore. The more fantastical elements blended really well with the war story, creating a surprisingly grounded alternate history. In fact, if you remove the Nazi superhumans, English warlocks, and genocidal demons, the novel had the tone of a high class espionage thriller.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Van Parys

    This reminded me of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell but in WWII (and a fraction of the length). Very engaging and well thought-out; simple enough to be extremely followable and complex enough to make you feel smart for putting 2 + 2 together as the events unfold. And even though it ends as an obvious set up for #2, it was a satisfying ending and not so much a cliffhanger. I will definitely be finishing this series. Read for the 2019 Read Harder challenge: an alternate history novel

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    First Line: Murder on the wind: crows and ravens wheeled beneath a heavy sky, like spots of ink splashed across a leaden canvas. I had totally forgotten about Ian Tregillis’ Bitter Seeds until it arrived at the library and I read the jacket flap which immediately had me excited to read it. The book features the creation of literal Nazi Supermen, super-powered Nazi soldiers experimented on as children, facing off against a talented everyman spy who just so happens to be backed up by a small cabal First Line: Murder on the wind: crows and ravens wheeled beneath a heavy sky, like spots of ink splashed across a leaden canvas. I had totally forgotten about Ian Tregillis’ Bitter Seeds until it arrived at the library and I read the jacket flap which immediately had me excited to read it. The book features the creation of literal Nazi Supermen, super-powered Nazi soldiers experimented on as children, facing off against a talented everyman spy who just so happens to be backed up by a small cabal of British magicians. It is an alternate history title, a sub-genre I don’t flirt with too much, that features an inventive plot, dynamic characters, and a grim tone that serves the setting, and subject matter, perfectly. Bitter Seeds isn’t a book that will leave you feeling good at its conclusion with the tone of the novel skirting closer to horror than anything else and the weight of historical background, the Blitz, combining with the dire actions taken by the British to defend their homeland engendering a growing sense of dread that reaches its ultimate conclusion during the novel’s denouement. The grim tone is enhanced by the characters who, for the most part, are likable (even the bad guys have their moments) but are all irreparably changed, damaged even, by the actions war forces upon them. Tregillis does a great job in the prologue of introducing the characters we will follow by sharing their early childhood moments. The arrival of the orphaned children on the Nazi farm is horrific and the off-camera fate of a sick child while chilling did call to mind the question as to whether the remaining children were really better off or not. The introduction of our ‘heroes’ Raybould Marsh and William echo the children on the Nazi side, both are also orphans; there is a less sinister tone. Tregillis, in a particularly Hitchcockian mode, proves extremely adept at making sure all the most horrific scenes occurs off-camera. The most horrific deeps are never explained in gory detail and yet you are never left wondering exactly what it is that happened. That is a good thing since, while the British sorcerers are responsible for some heinous acts, the most sickening acts of cruelty and wanton disregard for human life occur on the Nazi. While those moments left my stomach unsettled what perhaps is even more frightening is the matter of fact way in which the characters on that side seem to deal with it. That sense of callousness hammers home the fact that Klaus, the main Nazi POV and one of the children experimented on, is victim of Nazi indoctrination grown accustomed to the horrors of his own existence to the point where the pain of others is a mostly distant thing. On the British side the effect is very similar and in a nice bit of parallelism the horrors of the Nazi experiments have forced upon the beleaguered British the growing sense of that same disregard; though it is couched in terms of the greater did. The magic of the British sorcerers is one that requires blood to function. So, as the Blitz wears on, greater and greater sacrifices become necessary. We experience the horror of these sacrifices through William Beauclerk, a magician, and he becomes despite his participation in these sacrifices, one of the few human and sympathetic characters in the novel. William’s journey, though not apparent at first as the novel focuses strongly on the spy Raybould, becomes the linchpin experience that for me defined my emotional response to what I read. While many of the characters make you shudder, or feel sad or angry, William was the only one that really made me want to weep; if you’ll excuse a bit of hyperbole. All in all Bitter Seeds is a fantastic, inventive read and a rather impressive debut novel. Much like his fellow Wild Cards alum Melinda Snodgrass, Tregillis’ work combines elements of both science and fantasy with a touch of Lovecraftian horror from beyond thrown in for good measure. With its real world rooting, dark tone, as well as its tragic and believable characters Bitter Seeds is one of my favorite reads of 2010 and I am excited to see where the remaining two books in the Milkweed Triptych go next.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    It is 1939 and the Second World War is well underway. The British get a hold of a video showing disturbing footage of German soldiers with superhuman powers. Thus begins the British secret mission to find out all they can about these enemy soldiers and develop ways to neutralize them. The British Intelligence Service mission - Milkweed - is spearheaded by Raybould Marsh, mentored at a young age to serve King and country. He recruits Will Beauclarke, an old friend who once demonstrated to him an u It is 1939 and the Second World War is well underway. The British get a hold of a video showing disturbing footage of German soldiers with superhuman powers. Thus begins the British secret mission to find out all they can about these enemy soldiers and develop ways to neutralize them. The British Intelligence Service mission - Milkweed - is spearheaded by Raybould Marsh, mentored at a young age to serve King and country. He recruits Will Beauclarke, an old friend who once demonstrated to him an unusual talent. Will's rather peculiar childhood included learning the ways of a warlock, not the least of which involved invoking the Eidolons, primordial beings existing outside of our understanding of space and time. They see everything and have the ability to control everything. But invoking the Eidolons involves its own set of perils. They do not extend assistance without exacting a blood price at an ever escalating rate. Despite its special team and urgent mandate, the British are unable to discover much about the extraordinary German soldiers. Desperation forces them to employ a cadre of warlocks to counter the pernicious and effective German attacks and assist in the war effort. They come to depend on the Eidolons to simply keep from being overwhelmed, paying the exorbitant high blood price exacted every time. Raybould and Will are forced to make their own extreme sacrifices in the service of the crown. They do not enjoy the luxury of being able to analyze beforehand the consequences of their actions or determine whether the price to be paid justifies the benefits gained. The time of reckoning will be later when they come face to face with the personal price they had to pay. The story behind Bitter Seeds is a logical extension of the well-known Nazi penchant for all types of experimentation. The Nazis never shied away from the unusual or incredulous and were not hindered by moral obstacles. They were certainly known for the insatiable desire to create the perfect soldier. This book presents a case where the Nazis succeed. How do you fight a superhuman enemy? What measures should and would be taken to win the war? On the German side, we meet the superhuman soldiers drafted into service at a very young age, unwiling subjects of experimentation by Doctor von Westarp. Klaus, Gretel, Kammler and the rest of the troop were reared to value the Reich above all, yet they ultimately remain children eager to please and in constant fear of reprisal. Gretel is a particularly curious character. Her ability is precognition, but years under the doctor's cruel tutelage has also made her a sociopath. Gretel exercises her abilities according to her own yet unrevealed design. I'm certain that she has a greater, central part to play in the eventual victory, for which side - or any side - is still uncertain. The mood of Bitter Seeds is sombre and caliginous. The landscape -- of war and its players -- is bleak and often hopeless. This book delves into philosophical and strategic issues when faced with the realities of war and the measures all sides are prepared to take in pursuit of victory. There is much to appreciate in Bitter Seeds -- fluid writing, effusive dialogue, a realistic feel. It captures your interest from the first chapter to the last. Even the epilogue, often simply a tool to tie everything into a neat bundle, contains surprises and curiosities that will make you eager to continue. This being a series, I suspect that Bitter Seeds only sets the stage for more surprises. The characters have all evolved following their particular experiences in the affairs that transpired. I would also wager that there is more to the event backdrop -- the world war. The superhuman soldiers have become reality, the door to the supernatural has been opened, and human beings have always been unable to resist harnessing fantastic powers and do so largely without considering the wisdom thereof. The war may be over, but the supernatural arms race has only just begun.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul Nelson

    Bitter seeds is an alternate history retelling of World War II, in which the Germans have scientifically engineered supersoldiers with incredible abilities. One can make himself invisible, pass through walls and avoid bullets, one is a human torch able to produce fire at will and others have superstrength and precognition. These special soldiers are orphans and test subjects the result of decades-spanning science experiments by a deranged Nazi scientist. The process by which these supersoldiers Bitter seeds is an alternate history retelling of World War II, in which the Germans have scientifically engineered supersoldiers with incredible abilities. One can make himself invisible, pass through walls and avoid bullets, one is a human torch able to produce fire at will and others have superstrength and precognition. These special soldiers are orphans and test subjects the result of decades-spanning science experiments by a deranged Nazi scientist. The process by which these supersoldiers are created is only touched on, a barbaric upbringing through childhood during which many perished, to be discarded as nothing. The English answer is a group of characters whose abilities exist under the basic framework and knowledge of society, Warlocks, blood magic practitioners. Warlocks speak an ancient language called Enochian, a primal language that is used along with various forms of sacrifice, to communicate with the Eidolons, beings that exist outside of reality. The Warlocks negotiate with the Eidolons and they in turn aid them in the war effort but each bargain struck is at a terrible cost, a cost of blood. The story’s apparent villain, although only because she is one of the re-engineered Germans is Gretel, whose superpower is an ability to see the future. She is a character whose motives are always in doubt, and whose foreknowledge is pivotal as the plot progresses. She is also an apparent sociopath who plays both sides with little or no concern for the lives lost, its a game to her and she has her own agenda. A fascinating and mysterious character, even at the end of the book we have no idea what she's up to. The two main protagonists are Brits Raybould Marsh, a secret agent, and William Beauclerk, a friend of Marsh and unbeknownst to him a warlock. When Marsh discovers the Germans’ secret weapons, he turns to his old friend for help. Will is the more interesting of the two characters the only warlock who seems to have any reservations for what they do, expressing constant remorse and eventually succumbing to drugs and alcohol, the only way he can cope with what they have done. Marsh to suffers horrific loss and treads a painful journey, his coping mechanism is to throw himself into the war effort but I thought him slightly inaccessible as a character. Seems a touch unpatriotic but for me the most compelling of the novel's characters were Gretel and her brother Klaus, whose understanding and conscience slowly emerge through the book and yet we realize Gretel is as much a mystery to him as to us. Bitter seeds is an original take on this period of history, the opposing factions are not so easily tied into the good versus evil formula, in fact in this respect the waters are not clear but somewhat murky. Certainly an enjoyable read, some good ideas and I shall definitely continue with the series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    Right out of the box I have to say that if you follow this author's blog you will know why I am and always am going to be a reader and not a writer. True, I only know what Ian has been gracious enough to put on his blog for all his fans to follow but, it really sounds to me like he is getting the shaft left and right when it comes to getting his books published. To his credit though he posts about all his dealings with the entire process which leads me to believe that along with his own struggle Right out of the box I have to say that if you follow this author's blog you will know why I am and always am going to be a reader and not a writer. True, I only know what Ian has been gracious enough to put on his blog for all his fans to follow but, it really sounds to me like he is getting the shaft left and right when it comes to getting his books published. To his credit though he posts about all his dealings with the entire process which leads me to believe that along with his own struggle with writing AND working a full time job, that he is genuinly aware that there are people out there that have read and loved his books and are wondering where the next in the series is. Well, I am not going to go into a full rant just know that I think problems like this are just hogwash! Now for the review... Bitter Seeds is a solid, fast paced, part historical fiction, part speculative fiction/fantasy debut novel. I have never been a huge, huge fan of history so out of the countless books out there plotted around WWII I have not read many. But this was a really great read for me as the opposing sides had warlocks and technologically advanced superhumans. To me it seemed like the Nazis had the upper hand for the majority of this portion of the story and it exacted to me just how ruthless and out of control they were. The literary prose in this book is absolutely spectacular. In fact this is the first line in the book and to me it speaks volumnes about the style and quality of writing that you are in for: "Murder on the wind: crows and ravens wheeled beneath a heavy sky, like spots of ink splashed across a leaden canvas." The book in a lot of ways is very character driven and that was appealing to me as well. Even though I have a real distaste for the methods of the S.S. military I found myself relating to the characters on that side. Getting a brief introduction when some of these key people were in there youth went a long way with me. Even on the British Royal Navy side of the war with Marsh and Will we got to see just how far people would go when desparation and loss really sinks in and takes control of you. And although she was more spoken about than anything, Gretal, I think was the real star of the show. I really hope in the upcoming parts she plays a bigger role in all the action. It is really eating at me to find out what exactly the Eidolan's have in their plot for the soul they weasled out of Will. And is Agnes REEEALLY gone? Don't know... It's a mystery that will keep me pining for the rest of the series. As always, Thank-you Mr. Tregillis for a great debut novel. May all your publishing woes vanish from the success and praise of this first novel.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.) The reason I put this older (2010) urban-fantasy alt-history novel on reserve at my local library is because its sequel The Coldest War just came out, and the premise sounded interesting enough to warrant going back to the first book and catching up; set within a Johnathan Strange like alt-reality where m (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.) The reason I put this older (2010) urban-fantasy alt-history novel on reserve at my local library is because its sequel The Coldest War just came out, and the premise sounded interesting enough to warrant going back to the first book and catching up; set within a Johnathan Strange like alt-reality where magic is real (via evil, ephemeral cosmic aliens who we barely understand but who some can take advantage of), it tells the story of a World War Two where the Nazis have literally invented supermen and crusty upper-class "magic scholars" in the UK are made MI6 operatives to stop them. But alas, although the idea itself is just really quite amazing, the execution of the idea is only subpar; the plot itself is quite clunky at times, the level of characterization uneven, the dialogue sometimes flat, and perhaps worst of all (or at least a big personal pet peeve of mine), a paper-thin wife is invented for one of the main characters exclusively to serve as a flimsy deux-ex-machina for the story's climax, otherwise servicing as a disposable distraction for the other couple of hundred pages we have to deal with her. I can see why the book's gotten so much attention, because it really is a captivating story idea, unique and historical and yet another great modern take on the Nazi's real-life obsession with the occult; and while it's sure to satisfy hardcore urban-fantasy fans, I doubt that I myself will be reading volume two of the series, and do not recommend it except to the most diehard Joss Whedon fans out there. Out of 10: 8.4

  27. 4 out of 5

    apple

    It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between -- that’s the first line from the book summary and it reads like something out of a TV infomercial targeting innocent vulnerable geek girls everywhere. Really, if you put the word supermen (in this case they’re more like surgically-altered super soldiers) and demons together in the context of alternate WWⅡ history, my brain will process those information the same way as “Lose 10 Kilos It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between -- that’s the first line from the book summary and it reads like something out of a TV infomercial targeting innocent vulnerable geek girls everywhere. Really, if you put the word supermen (in this case they’re more like surgically-altered super soldiers) and demons together in the context of alternate WWⅡ history, my brain will process those information the same way as “Lose 10 Kilos in 7 Days! Hollywood Diet Secret!” so I didn’t waste any time buying Bitter Seeds in audiobook format The story follows Raybould March, a British secret agent in his official task and later in personal vendetta to stop the Nazi super soldiers experimental program. March recruits his college friend Will who comes from an old Warlock family to help him counterattack the Nazi’s twisted version of X-men. The plot might sound a little (ok, ok..a lot) cartoonish but I was very nicely surprised to find that it’s actually pretty dark and disturbing. Goodreads summary doesn’t say much about Will but he’s my favorite character. March is your typical gun-blazing cardboard hero while Will has to fight his own demon…Literally and metaphorically. I seriously got creeped out by the British demons as bad as I got perved out by the psychopath Nazi freaks. The Audible narrator gave a good performance and I was very impressed at how he can switch between many characters’ voices. Although he could go a bit easy on the thick German accent -- ‘und zee Herr Doktor’ kind of lose its charm after a few times listening

  28. 5 out of 5

    Msmurphybylaw

    When I began this read, I was truly sucked in, but the glow began to unravel after the first third of the book. This is just a personal preference of books that I like to read so it is not any disrespect to the author. I did like the book, but I found that I would have really liked the book if there were more details or interesting backgrounds on the warlocks themselves as well as the other main characters. I wanted something more that would make me want to peek into their dark windows. Leaving When I began this read, I was truly sucked in, but the glow began to unravel after the first third of the book. This is just a personal preference of books that I like to read so it is not any disrespect to the author. I did like the book, but I found that I would have really liked the book if there were more details or interesting backgrounds on the warlocks themselves as well as the other main characters. I wanted something more that would make me want to peek into their dark windows. Leaving Gretel a mystery was understandable and I get that. I felt like I was just getting outlines of character sketches for the main characters, yet great details of the inside of the elevator at the hotel formerly known as the Prince Albert. There were giant voids in this book. Some were explained. Some were not and some didn't need explanation. But when I shut the book for the last time and laid my palm across it, I pondered how long I had spent with these characters and how much more time I was willing to give them. I wasn't certain if I cared to read a sequel, but there may have been enough built up there in the end to keep me going.

  29. 4 out of 5

    AndrewP

    An interesting alternative history of WWII. The Germans create super powered humans and the British counter this magic. Not a bad premise and it was interesting for about the first half, but for me the story fizzled out towards the end. The magic the Brits use is very black in nature and I question whether anyone would go to those extremes. It's not like the large scale operations they carry out would completely go unnoticed. A decent book but I'm not in any rush to get to books 2 and 3. An interesting alternative history of WWII. The Germans create super powered humans and the British counter this magic. Not a bad premise and it was interesting for about the first half, but for me the story fizzled out towards the end. The magic the Brits use is very black in nature and I question whether anyone would go to those extremes. It's not like the large scale operations they carry out would completely go unnoticed. A decent book but I'm not in any rush to get to books 2 and 3.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ed [Redacted]

    BITTER SEEDS is a fantastic debut novel from a very promising author. The story is set during the second world war where the Germans have developed technological supermen who are also monsters. and the English have turned to old school wizards...who are also...monsters...in a sense. Anyway, it is a ton of fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. I will be patiently awaiting Tregillis' next novel. BITTER SEEDS is a fantastic debut novel from a very promising author. The story is set during the second world war where the Germans have developed technological supermen who are also monsters. and the English have turned to old school wizards...who are also...monsters...in a sense. Anyway, it is a ton of fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. I will be patiently awaiting Tregillis' next novel.

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