In Ian Tregillis' The Coldest War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Britain and the USSR. For decades, Britain's warlocks have been all that stands between the British Empire and the Soviet Union—a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. Now each wizard's death is another blow to Britain's national security.
Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary people with superhuman abilities, then prisoners of war in the immense Soviet research effort to reverse-engineer the Nazi technology, they head for England.
Because that's where former spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.
As Marsh is once again drawn into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain's darkest acts didn't end with the war. And while he strives to protect queen and country, he is forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.
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The engrossing second book in Tregillis s Milkweed Triptych (after Bitter Seeds) takes up years later, in an alternate 1963 in which the warlocks of the British Empire protect the land from the Soviet Union. Secret agent Raybould Marsh and mage Will Beauclerk again find themselves drawn into the conflict, as the plans of the precognitive Gretel newly escaped from Russia finally start to come to fruition. Tregillis ably mixes cold war paranoia with his mythology, also nicely expanding characters (particularly Gretel) who had seemed one-dimensional previously. The monstrous, extra-dimensional Eidolons add a genuinely convincing menace that transcends the more banal evil motivations of the political game players, although Gretel s more complicated motivations really drive the action. A few nice twists keep things interesting, and the cliffhanger ending sets up the concluding volume quite well, though some readers will be frustrated by the lack of resolution.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I couldn't stop
This book was even better than the first one (which I really liked a lot). It threw me forward about half way through to a point where I couldn't put it down. It's such a rich imaginative world that's so big you almost forget entire aspects of the fantasy until they're right back in your face. Then all of your focus is on this part and you're just hanging on to find out what happens. I literally wanted to skip pages I was so into it. I'm forcing myself to wait 24 hours before buying book three because otherwise I'll need to take off work. Really, one of the best books I've ever read.
What a unique and wonderful story! Reminds me of old-fashioned pulp-fiction, but really well written!
Worth the wait
Fans of Bitter Seeds know there was a prolonged delay in the sequel being published, but it was worth waiting for. Coldest War brings back the characters as the British try to outwit the Soviets by pitting sorcerers against super-men. The intrigue was suspenseful and there are some great action scenes. I wish I could read the third book now!