Bitter Seeds : Milkweed Triptych

  • by Ian Tregillis
  • Narrated by Kevin Pariseau
  • Series: Milkweed Triptych
  • 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Audible was thrilled to discover this genre-busting alternate history of World War II by an exciting new writer, Ian Tregillis.
It's 1939. Raybould Marsh is a British secret agent in the early days of World War II, haunted by something strange he saw on a mission during the Spanish Civil War: a German woman with wires going into her head who looked at him as if she knew him. It wasn’t his imagination; the wired woman can see into the future and use her knowledge to twist the present. In fact, Marsh soon discovers that the Nazis are running missions with people who have special powers – a woman who can turn invisible, a man who can walk through walls, and the woman Marsh saw in Spain.
Marsh is called upon to stop them from aiding the Nazi expansion. He rallies a group of secret warlocks in Britain to hold an impending invasion at bay. But magic always exacts a price. Eventually, the sacrifice necessary to defeat the enemy proves as unthinkable as surrender. Alan Furst meets Alan Moore in this wildly entertaining epic of supernatural historical fiction. Bitter Seeds portrays a twentieth century much like the one we knew, but also profoundly different.


What the Critics Say

"A major talent.... I can't wait to see more." (George R.R. Martin)
"Debut novelist Tregillis breathes new life into alternate military history with this fun take on WW II." (Publishers Weekly)
"Magic and mad science mix in this entertaining alternate history of WWII, with the warlocks of Britain uniting to battle German forces with super powers. A striking first novel." (Locus magazine)
"Tregillis writes and plots beautifully. The characters - twisted German psychics, bitter warlocks, the brutal calculators of the British intelligence apparat - are complex, textured, surprising. The physical descriptions are wonderful. And the plot is relentless, a driving adventure story with intrigue, battle, sacrifice, and betrayal." (BoingBoing)

Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2010: Readers' Choice (SF Site)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

WW II alternate history: X-men vs Warlocks

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

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

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

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

WWII, Now With Superheroes and Wizards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-24-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios