Bitter Seeds

( 46 )

Overview

It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man is caught in between.

Raybould Marsh is a British secret agent in the early days of the Second World War. During a mission back in the Spanish Civil War, he saw something strange: a German woman with wires going into her head. She looked at him as if she knew him. When the Nazis start running missions with people who have unnatural abilities — a woman who can turn invisible, a man who can ...

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Bitter Seeds

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Overview

It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man is caught in between.

Raybould Marsh is a British secret agent in the early days of the Second World War. During a mission back in the Spanish Civil War, he saw something strange: a German woman with wires going into her head. She looked at him as if she knew him. When the Nazis start running missions with people who have unnatural abilities — a woman who can turn invisible, a man who can walk through walls, and the woman from Spain who can use her knowledge of the future to twist the present — Marsh is the man who gets to handle the problem. He rallies the secret warlocks of Britain to hold the impending invasion at bay. But magic always exacts a price. Eventually, the sacrifice necessary to defeat the enemy will be as terrible as outright loss.

Alan Furst meets Alan Moore in the opening of an epic of supernatural alternate history, the tale of a twentieth century like ours but also profoundly different.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Debut novelist Tregillis breathes new life into alternate military history with this fun take on WWII. In this version of 1939 Germany, the insane Dr. von Westarp has given WWI orphans superpowers, such as fire-starting, intangibility, and invisibility. As they use their abilities to aid German expansion, young mutant Klaus starts to suspect that he and the other soldiers are being manipulated by his precognitive sister, Gretel. Meanwhile, British secret agent Raybould Marsh recruits his old college buddy, magic-wielding aristocrat Will Beauclerk, to the British cause. Tregillis has trouble fleshing out characters and is overly fond of worn-out plot devices—a disastrous raid survived only by the protagonists, an urchin destined for greatness—but the action sequences are exciting and intense, and the clash of magic and (mad) science meshes perfectly with the tumultuous setting. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“A major talent.”  —George R. R. Martin

“Exciting and intense… The clash of magic and (mad) science meshes perfectly with the tumultuous setting.”  —Publishers Weekly

“A white-knuckle plot, beautiful descriptions, and complex characters—an unstoppable Vickers of a novel.”  —Cory Doctorow

Bitter Seeds may rival Naomi Novik’s Tales of Temeraire as a sustained historical fantasy.” 

Booklist

Library Journal
British spy Raybould Marsh's strange encounters during the Spanish civil war lead to his involvement during World War II in a secret confrontation between Germans with superpowers and extradimensional creatures summoned by British warlocks. The fantasy debut by Tregillis, a Los Alamos physicist, brings together the supernatural lore of World War II and wartime intrigue in this fantasy thriller that blends alternate history with period horror reminiscent of F. Paul Wilson's horror classic The Keep. VERDICT This period fantasy should appeal to fans of World War II fiction, superheroes, and alternate history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469281582
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 1/18/2013
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Tregillis lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he works as a physicist at Los Alamos Laboratory. He is a member of the George R. R. Martin Wild Cards writing collective. Bitter Seeds is his first novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    entertaining action-packed alternate historical thriller

    Wanting to build a superman and superwoman, German scientist Dr. von Westarp chooses WWI German orphans as his base for his experiments. Although many die and others are deformed, by 1939 the mad scientist has succeed in constructing his master race. However as WW II breaks out, he plans to use them to insure The Third Reich is victorious and remains in power for a thousand years. However, one of the successful test subjects Klaus fears his sister Gretel is using her precognitive skills to manipulate the team, but what agenda is remains unclear.

    Meanwhile British secret agent Raybould Marsh, who has his own father figure in Stephenson, knows first hand how powerful the enemy supervillains are as the German war machine blitzkriegs through all enemies. He enlists mage Will Beauclerk to help the British side, whose chances of victory seem slim. Will brings on allies from the warlock community including Olivia whom Marsh marries and has a daughter with her. When he ignores the warning not to deal with the mysterious Eidelons who will offer little and demand a lot, Will sees no other hope as the Germans are winning in the air, land and sea due to being the superpower.

    Although the cast is never fully developed beyond comic book stereotypes, readers will enjoy this entertaining action-packed alternate historical thriller. With homage to Moore's Watchmen, fans of action-packed WWII dramas will appreciate the loaded Bitter Seeds as superpower German warriors battle the mages of Britain for control of the continent and ultimately the world.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Very good book

    At first, I thought this book was just ok. I hesitated a bit in buying the sequel...but, I was bored, so I did. Wow! You need to read this book, then the sequel (The Coldest War). Then, read this one again. Much that is opaque becomes clear :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2012

    Bitter Seeds is a great novel. I was pulled in right away by the

    Bitter Seeds is a great novel. I was pulled in right away by the beautiful prose and the compelling storyline. I couldn’t put it down and read it in three days, wishing I had the time to read it in one. It’s an alternate history set during World War II with fascinating characters and gripping action.

    This book has received a lot of attention by major writers and reviewers, and deservedly so. There are many positive reviews online and I agree that this is an exceptional book. I was so impressed with the way Tregillis unfolded the plot, and revealed the characters, of which there are three whose point of view we get to see.

    Raybould Marsh is a British spy right in the middle of things; William is a British nobleman who was secretly taught to be a warlock by his slightly insane father; and Klaus is one of the German’s “supermen” with wraith like abilities. All three add a lot to the novel, and there are quite a few other secondary characters that are quite fascinating as well.

    The most interesting other character is the sister of Klaus, Gretel, who has also been mutated via diabolical processes and now she can predict the future, and warp it to her will. She’s the most powerful of all of the Nazi “supermen,” and is on the cover of both the mass market and hard cover editions for good reason. I wish Tregillis would have let us into her mind, but that would be too telling I’m sure, as she knows what’s going to happen and would ruin the mystery of what is to come.

    Every chapter was finely crafted, and the big time span gaps between some chapters really added to the coolness of the story. All the chapters have a date on them: month, day and year, which helped a lot. Anyway, this is not a large book, and only spans about 350 pages, but so much was accomplished. It was so impressive how little Tregillis told about what was happening in the actual wider war, but still incorporated a huge story in between the pages, as he focused on the three main characters and their experiences as wider events played around them. They are a huge part of those larger events, but this is not the alternate history of World War II in detail. There are lots of hints, but Tregillis doesn’t go into detail much at all. I would have liked more about how certain battles were going and such, but those issues weren’t the point of the book.

    Some of the wider war was actually shown in incredibly written interludes from the point of view of flocks of ravens and crows that feast on the dead after major battles. The interludes from the birds point of view were so awesome. Tregillis has a flare for brilliant description, and his ability to be brief, and yet powerful, is amazing.

    Bitter Seeds is a little bit X-Men, a little bit James Bond, with a core of brilliant darkness that pulls you in page after page.

    Highly recommended.

    Paul Genesse
    Author of the Iron Dragon Series

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2012

    A dark masterpiece! Ian Tregillis successfully fuses slam bang W

    A dark masterpiece! Ian Tregillis successfully fuses slam bang World War II action, breathtaking international espionage, bizarre magic and genuinely evil super human nazis into a taut, exciting thriller.
    We get an in depth look at the reasons why good men do evil things for a greater good and the consequences of such actions. I thought the two main characters were interesting and believable. And the nazi super humans were as evil as you would expect, but Gretl was something else, scheming, mysterious and utterly depraved. If you're looking for something new in the world of super humans, this is the book for you. I can't wait for the next volume in this trilogy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    entertaining

    Not aa lot of action. Some passages are difficult to understand. Overall entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    Not quite what I was expecting, but still good.

    Not quite what I was expecting, but still good.

    I was expecting something a little more action oriented. Which isn't to say that there aren't any action scenes in the book. But it's much more a story of the costs of war and if the ends justify the means than of two unnaturally powered groups of people meeting up on the field of battle and throwing down. Actually, given the rules of the world established in the book, I don't think such a battle would be possible. There's a difference of micro vs. macro power levels here. A Nazi super soldier may have the ability to summon fire or crush a tank with the power of their mind on a moment's notice, where as a British warlock is cutting deals with Lovecraftian style demons to freeze enemy supply lines or sink enemy fleets.

    It's definitely a darker book than I normally enjoy. It does lose a few points with me for hitting a couple of my personal pet peeves. It sequel baits the reader with the ending, and I feel that it telegraphed a future plot twist so badly that when I eventually get to it my reaction will be less of surprise and more of "about time". But I liked what was here enough that I'll continue with the series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Another Tragedy of Replaced Cover Art

    This book's original cover art was SO much more intriguing than this "more realistic" looking version.

    I can't comment on the author's work, however. This was a gift for someone who had been looking very hard for a copy of this novel. The first thing out of his mouth when I handed this hard-to-acquire book, was "Wow. Thanks. God, why are they always changing the cover art. This is so much less fantastic than the original." Then he proceeded to show me the original art. I wholeheartedly agreed with him.

    I expect the REAL reason for the purchase, the AUTHOR'S work, is going to meet the gift-recipient's expectations for literature, however.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Gripping story with plenty of interesting characters and action.

    Gripping story with plenty of interesting characters and action. One of the best parts is that the "super humans" and warlocks have limitations and the use of their powers is very costly. I can't wait to read the sequels.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Lionpaw

    The tall buff fully grown dark red blind tom. He began sorting herbs.

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Medcat den-cliffrock

    Hello

    0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Autumnleaf

    -picked up the feather and looked around- hello..?

    0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    The prose is lovely; the plot is tense, well-crafted, and page-t

    The prose is lovely; the plot is tense, well-crafted, and page-turning; and I loved to spend time with every character. I sped through this book, hardly able to put it down. The World War II setting feels thoroughly researched and vibrant. The ending was satisfying in its own right, though the authorleft enough balls in the air that I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel.

    Oh, and what a joy to read a book written by a physicist. Hurray for conservation of momentum!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Seedstar to wildspirit and dullnight and beaverpaw

    Wildspirit: talk to me in my den (result 2) dullnight: i saw ur post on result 1. It means that once u find happiness it will alwys b with u no matter where u go. Beaverpaw: once ur done with training bring tht to the fresh kill pile, kk(result 8)

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Beaerpaw

    *follws the ent trail anyway

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    Beautiful attention to detail!

    I was very pleased at the melding of history and fantasy into a believeable alternative history twist. I eagerly await the other volumes to follow.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2011

    Awea Awesome but short

    GREAT read, dark story. Wish the book was longer. A good sign for picking up the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2011

    Great read

    Interesting premise. Disappointed in delays on second novel, but it's not the author's fault.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews

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