The Coldest War: Ian Tregillis continues the Milkweed Triptych

Ian Tregillis's The Coldest War is the long-awaited sequel to his 2010 novel alternate WWII novel Bitter Seeds, a secret history that pitted a mad Nazi scientist who'd made a cadree of twisted, dieselpunk X-Men against the hidden warlocks of the British Isles, men who conferred with ancient, vast forces and traded the blood of innocents for the power to warp time and space.

Coldest War opens in the late 1960s, in which continental Europe has been entirely taken over by the Soviet Union, the UK locked in cold war with it. The Nazi supermen of the first volume were either captured by the Soviets and spirited away to a secret city for reverse-engineering, or they were killed, or they have gone underground in London.

With all the flair he showed in his debut novel, Tregillis continues the tale, bringing to it that same marvellous plotting, immersive sense of place, and above all, wonderful characters. One of the characters introduced in the first novel is a precognitive, and in this volume -- which revolves around her long plots -- we are shown that the power to see the future is the most corrupting power of them all. Tregillis's oracle is one of the most chilling psychopath villains of literature, a delicious monster who drives the book forward.

As with the earlier volume, I tore through this one in a day and a half. Tregillis is a major new talent in the field, and this is some of the best -- and most exciting -- alternate history I've read. Bravo.

The Coldest War



    1. That might have been about the audiobook. For some reason the audiobook was available months before the print edition – I think this post is about the now available print version, and how excellent it is.

      Can’t stress this enough: This is a sequel. Read Bitter Seeds first.

  1. Thanks for this. Sounds intriguing. I’ve now got Bitter Seeds on my short list. Right now I’m in the middle of Alistair Reynolds’ Blue Remembered Earth, which I’m enjoying immensely, and next up on the roster is Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312, but Bitter Seeds may very well be next after that.

  2. I need some recommendations for more good science fiction audiobooks, available from Audible (or Librivox). I just finished Ender’s Game and I’ve listened to just about every John Scalzi book. Any suggestions?

    1. I have a feeling you’re about to get flooded with more rec’s than you can handle. No idea about availability from your two vendors, but:

      Hyperion by Dan Simmons 
      Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams (Oldish, but full of absolutely fucking awesome ideas. Probably should be read rather than listened to because of how the formatting contributes to the story, but still worthwhile.)
      – Probably any of the Culture books by Iain M. Banks. I’m not a huge fan of his, but everybody else is so probably worth a look. 
      – The Takeshi Kovacs books by Richard K. Morgan. 
      Embassytown by Miéville

      Also, like any good nerd I loved Ender’s Game, but eff Orson Scott Card. That guy’s a dick.

  3. I’ve been waiting for this forever, so thanks for the heads up. 

    There really needs to be a way to get notifications of book releases besides pre-ordering them from Amazon.

  4. Wierd, same name as the last book that David Halbersham published before he died — an excellent history of the Korean War, 
    Paperback: 736 pagesPublisher: Hyperion; Reprint edition (September 16, 2008) Language: EnglishISBN-10: 0786888628ISBN-13: 978-0786888627

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