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The Coldest War (Milkweed Triptych) (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Ian Tregillis

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For The Coldest War

The Coldest War is like a cross between the devious, character-driven spy fiction of early John le Carré and the mad science fantasy of the X-Men. …Eloquent and utterly compelling.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Engrossing… Tregillis ably mixes cold war paranoia with his mythology, and the cliffhanger ending sets up the concluding volume quite well.”
Publishers Weekly
For Bitter Seeds

“A major talent.”
—George R. R. Martin

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


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 - the subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary people with superhuman abilities - escape from a top-secret facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. 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.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1346 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 421 Seiten
  • Verlag: Orbit (6. Dezember 2012)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B0091LM1V0
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #330.208 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Bitter Fruit of War 17. Juli 2012
Von H. P. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Coldest War is book 2 in alternate history series The Milkweed Triptych, and the sequel to Bitter Seeds. If you've come here to decide whether to read Bitter Seeds--do it!--I'll still be here when you get back. If you've come here to decide whether The Coldest War builds on the potential of Bitter Seeds, then my recommendation remains unqualified. Bitter Seeds is the type of book that relies on its sequel to reach its full potential; The Coldest War explains the mysteries that left Bitter Seeds incomplete. The two biggest differences between Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War is that the latter is quite as bleak, and we never see inside the heads of the Soviets. Spoilers for Bitter Seeds (and minor spoilers for The Coldest War) abound ahead.

The Coldest War begins 20 years after the events in Bitter Seeds. History has now diverged considerably from our own. Britain's gamble to end the war was successful, but at the cost of a Soviet continental Europe. With America trapped in an endless Depression (but with Nixon as president; the first rule of alternate history is: Nixon is always president), the Cold War pits a very overmatched Britain against an even large USSR.

The protagonists from Bitter Seeds are back, albeit worse for the wear. Klaus and Gretel are war prisoners of the Soviets. Marsh is a cuckolded husband reduced to working as a gardener. Only Will, of all characters, is doing reasonably well. But the past haunts him as well. But events pull Marsh and Will back into Milkweed's orbit, and Gretel takes it upon herself to change the game.

Jumping forward 20 years between novels is extremely difficult to pull off, which is probably why we see so few authors even try it. That's too bad. There are things you can't explore without that kind of time frame. Thankfully, Tregillis nails it. He manages to convey the full weight of what the passage of time has meant to each character (except Gretel, of course, who remains inscrutable).

Tregillis respects his reader. A simple throwaway line is made about "the camps," noting that the British have only a vague notion of them because the Soviets saw no need to publicize them and themselves found them useful. No more is needed to give a chill to a reader familiar with German and Soviet history. Things remain intrigue and suspense heavy, with occasional bursts of shocking action. The climax left me floored, if a bit worried about what it means for the final book in the trilogy (there is quite literally nothing more I can say without it being a huge spoiler).

Disclosure: I won an ARC of The Coldest War through First Reads.
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Von Paul Genesse - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Review of The Coldest War, (Book two in the Milkweek Tryptich) by Ian Tregillis

(No big spoilers, except for a few minor ones that regard the set-up)

I just finished The Coldest War, book two of three in the Milkweed Tryptich cycle by Ian Tregillis. I devoured it.

I read book one, Bitter Seeds (now out in mass market paperback by the way) in about three days and the same applies to book two. I would have read faster if I'd had the time.

I'm so blown away right now from finishing this fantastic novel. Mr. Tregillis has created a brilliant book, and I concur with the blurb from Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin blurb, "A major talent," indeed.

The ending was so awesome, and redeems the grim nature of this book. More on that later . . .

The same characters from book one are back, and it's about twenty years after the end of an alternate history World War II, and is now 1963, the height of the Cold War. The Soviet Union appears to have all of Europe, even France.

The alternate history is fascinating, but that is not the point of the book. This is a character novel and focuses very tightly on the protagonists, so we get three main point of view characters. There is very little detail given about the wildly divergent world so different from what happened after World War II in our world, but the details we do get are tantalizing, especially for history buffs.

Raybould Marsh, the British super-spy, is now a broken down middle-aged man with a terrible home-life and he's working as a gardener after getting fired from all his other jobs. His journey is incredibly bleak and sad, the most depressing of all the storylines. He should have listened to his warlock friend, William from book one, but he didn't, and Raybould and his wife, Liv, had another child. BIG MISTAKE.

William Beauclerk is also back, he was the warlock in Bitter Seeds who helped the British Empire fend off the Nazis who had super-human warriors. British warlocks negotiate with the eidolons (think demons) and accomplish feats of magic that boggle the mind, but the cost is high. Think . . . a blood price, and/or the souls of unborn children. William is no longer doing what he did before and has recovered from some of the horror of what he had to do during World War II, and he has the happiest life of all the characters. However, Will is still traveling down a very dark and dangerous road that is leading him toward a terrible confrontation.

Klaus, the former Nazi superman warrior is also back, but he is a pale reflection of who he was before, when he was at the peak of his power. After twenty years in a Soviet research camp he is incredibly broken and his storyline is so sad and very often quite poignant. I felt so bad for him, as he has been abused his entire life.

Raybould, William, and Klaus are the three main point of view characters, although there is one other with minor scenes, Reinhardt, another former Nazi superwarrior.

The most fascinating character is still Gretel, who is the sister of Klaus. She has the power of precognition and is so devious and brilliant. Tregillis gives us a look into her thoughts at the end of the book, which is worth all the dreary sadness of what went before. All the groundwork Tregillis did in book one (and two) paid off big time at the end. Wow, standing ovation.

Gretel can manipulate the time-line and might just be in charge of the future, but can she change it, or just delay things with her actions? You'll have to read this book to find out.

***Look for the short story available on Kindle, about Gretel that precedes this trilogy, "What Dr. Gottlieb Saw," and learn more about her as a teenager. It's a great short story and worth the 99 cents, and you don't need a Kindle to read it. You can read it on your browser while you're on Amazon.com. Read it after you've read Bitter Seeds, not before, as it kind of gives things away.

Overall, The Coldest War had a lot of tension, brilliant, razor sharp prose, and some pretty amazing action. There were so many great chapter endings and twisted moments. Tregillis is a master of the complicated and awesome plot, and I'm stunned at the foreshadowing he did in book one, which came out in book two. It's a must, in my opinion to read these books in order, as the sequel builds on book one big time. There is some recap about what happened in book one (thankfully), but I think readers would be a little lost had they not read Bitter Seeds.

Strangely, as I read Coldest War, I felt like the book was too perfect sometimes, meaning: "How the heck did Tregillis pull this off and make this book so great?!" It just felt like there was nothing wrong, and that bugged me a little. I kept thinking, "I'm going to see a chink in the armor here somewhere," but it never materialized.

The only real negative of this book was that it was so dark and depressing that some people will find it hard to take, but as long as readers get to the ending, it will all be okay. My feeling that the book was too depressing was erased with the fantastic ending of course. I'm not going to spoil it here, but suffice it to say that it will leave you floored and wanting book three, Necessary Evil (April 2013) really bad.

So, yes, the book was harsh and depressing most of the time, but Tregillis kept the tension up so much that no matter the sadness I felt for the characters, I could still face reading on about them, as I wanted to find out what was going to happen. That is the mark of great writing.

I'm just so impressed with this series and feel like Tregillis succeeded big time. I have no doubt that book three will be a triumphant conclusion to a great series.

Five Stars, Highly Recommended

Paul Genesse, Author of the Iron Dragon Series and Editor of The Crimson Pact anthology series
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Dark times, grim characters... 21. Juli 2012
Von N. Boer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I read Bitter Seeds first, and, unusually, I actually enjoyed this (the sequel) more - I would still recommend first reading Bitter Seeds to get to know the characters as young and likable (as opposed to the bitter middle-aged men they become here) - but you could potentially just start reading this book, the background is filled in pretty thoroughly.

Plot: 20 years after Britain manages to win WWII with the (morally highly questionable) help of highly unpleasant omnipotent beings in alliance with the USSR (conventional means having failed in the face of engineered Nazi super-men/women), the Cold War is about to turn hot as the USSR (controlling all of continental Europe) prepares to unleash their own super-heroes.

1. Fascinating alternative history of the Cold War - amateur consumers of WWII and Cold War history and fiction will definitely find enough to sink their teeth into. At the same time, the historical detail isn't unnecessarily belaboured or over-stressed: you won't have to wade through pages of non-plot-related background or attempt to spot obscure historical references.

2. Great protagonists. Which does not mean they're likable - anything but. Bitter, scarred, angry middle-aged men do not make the most attractive characters - yet Tregillis's genius lies in making us care about them regardless.

3. Excellent writing - unobtrusive narrative style; dark, brooding tone.

1. If you're a real history buff, you may be bothered by the paucity of details in the description of this alternative world. Interesting possibilities are hinted at (in Africa, for example, or the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (succesfully achieved)), but Tregillis is interested in telling the story of his characters, not fleshing out this world.

2. Female characters (mostly just love-interests and secretaries) are two-dimensional, stereotyped and uninteresting. Gretel, the pre-cog, is different in that she both plays a pivotal role and is actually an interesting character.

I found The Coldest War to be highly enjoyable plot-driven entertainment with enough moral questioning to not feel like you're reading fluff.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Circle 21. Juli 2012
Von Micah Martin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Tregillis is one of my favorite modern fantasy authors. He might belabor the occasional metaphor, but when he's on form his prose is great and his pacing is always razor-sharp. I also admire his ability to set pins up and knock them down; Chekov's Guns put on the mantelpiece in the first pages of book 1 are finally shot here, and the payoff is exhilarating.

I don't think many authors could pull off a character like Gretel. Oracles are usually cryptic, and prophecies usually lack payoff, but Gretel's particular brand of omniscience is frightening and strange. The Eidolons are horrifying and brilliantly described. Klaus and Marsh are sympathetic, badass, and sadly aged and while Will isn't as much fun in this draft HE IS STILL WILL SO THAT IS GREAT. I am done screaming now.

If there's one weevil in the flour it's that Tregillis's love interests are PRETTY FLAT, but that is okay because the rest of the cast is spectacular. (And also the Cyrillic doesn't really work. I wish he'd just used phonetic Russian).

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen a superb sequel 10. September 2012
Von M. Wanchoo - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
ANALYSIS: The Coldest War is the sequel to Ian Tregillis's brilliant debut Bitter Seeds, this book opens up nearly twenty years after the events of the second world war that took place in this alternate historical world. I was very much intrigued by this book and dove in based on Liviu's excellent review of the first book on Fantasy Book Critic.

The story begins in 1963 and we are introduced to a Europe wherein a cold war is on but the payers aren't the same and the rules differ wildly. In this one Europe is over run by the Soviets and the lone country challenging them is Britain. The USA is not mentioned much and its not clear where they are in the pecking order. The British are trying their hardest to cope up with the tactics used by the Soviets who have been bolstered by the German experiments that they have managed to inculcate within their own.

The tale opens up and shows what has been happening with those that survived the events of the first book. Almost all of them have lost something of themselves in the past and nowhere near what they expected themselves to be. Raybould Marsh is barely able to hold onto his jobs and his marital and personal lives have become a mentally excoriating hell from which even alcohol holds no escape. Klaus and Gretel, the German siblings have become lab rats for the Soviet regime and are forced to endure many experiments. Will Beauclark has ascended highly on the social scale however his past actions with the Eidolons have left a bitter aftertaste in his mind.

The actual plot begin with Britain's security net, its wizard force slowly and surely being depleted. Somebody is killing them and soon the British authorities are told of an escape from the mainland of two siblings that are thought to be very dangerous and should be returned if captured. Thus by Gretel's machinations and with Klaus's help Raybould is invariably sucked back into the Milkweed operations. This time he's doubly determined to make sure nothing threatens Britain's survival as defeat means that all his losses so far have been rendered null and void.

This novel was a terrific thriller and it definitely is going to end up in my yearend lists. Beginning with its characterization and then on to its zany plot, which mixes prescient beings, cold war era spies, mysterious extra-dimensional beings and much more. The author admirably mixes all these elements to concoct a story that is in parts a thriller and in parts a fascinating story of what happens to soldiers when their war is over. The characterization is one which nails the story whether be it Raybould with his stodginess, Gretel with her ultra-creepy prescience, Klaus with his helplessness and other characters with their own quirks. The author's skills invariably draws the reader in and make them invested in this story.

The plot twists and pace are kept at a level that makes this book very very hard to put down at all. Beginning with Britain's newest magic protection net to the ultimate aims of Gretel's plans, nothing is too superfluous or too obtuse. The author has done some intense planning in regards to the overall story and it will be apparent to the readers once they get to the end of this book and a particular event in the first book makes so much sense. There's an aspect to the plot wherein certain things are foreshadowed or atleast hinted at, this I found to be a fascinating thing wherein I went and reread certain parts of the book.

This book for me has everything needed to be called a terrific read and it is criminal how under appreciated Ian Tregillis is as an author. Do yourself a favor and grab Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War and read them back-to-back to understand the awesomeness of this story so far. I can't wait to see how the author ends the story with Necessary Evil, the third book in the Milkweed Triptych series.
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