The Coldest War. Book Review

coldest_warTHE COLDEST WAR by Ian Tregillis

Orbit Books, p/b, 432pp, £8.99

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

The second in Tregillis’ Milkweed Triptych is set in 1963; Milkweed is a covert UK government department that helped to win the Second World War, thanks to the British warlocks who fought off the army of bio-engineered German psychics, pyromancers and telekinetics.  Powered by batteries wired directly into their brains, these soldiers view themselves as gods amongst men, and used their powers to crush the allied forces.

The Second World War is somewhat of a distant memory as the book opens – one of the founding members of Milkweed, Raybould Marsh, is now a gardener with a drink problem.  Two of the bio-engineered Germans escape from Soviet imprisonment and make their way to England to surrender to Milkweed – Klaus, the ghost who walks through walls, and his manipulative sister Gretel, who can see the future and shapes it through her actions.

The action flows thick and fast as Marsh finds himself back inside Milkweed, nearly twenty years after he left.  Britain’s warlocks are being killed, and he must find out what Gretel is planning so that he can avert disaster.

This gripping novel is compulsive reading – the characters are realistic and well-rounded, and the adventure draws the reader completely into Tregillis’ exciting world.