Release Day Review: The Coldest War (The Milkweed Triptych, #2) by Ian Tregillis

July 17, 2012 Review 0

The Coldest War (The Milkweed Triptych, #2)

Art by Chris McGrath

The Coldest War

(The Milkweed Triptych, #2)
by Ian Tregillis

Genre: Speculative Fiction | Excerpt: Yes
Book Trailer:  No
Reviewed by: Abigail | Source: Publisher

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (July 17, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0765321513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765321510


Excellent – Loved it! Buy it now & put this author on your watch list.


Someone is killing Britain’s warlocks.

Twenty-two years after the Second World War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Great Britain and the USSR. For decades, the warlocks have been all that stand between the British Empire and the Soviet Union– a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. But now each death is another blow to Britain’s security.

Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret research facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary humans with extraordinary abilities, then prisoners of war in the vast Soviet effort to reverse engineer the Nazi technology, 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 drawn back into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain’s darkest acts didn’t end with the war. And as he strives to protect Queen and country, he’s forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.


20+ years after WWII and BITTER SEEDS, the second book in Ian Tregillis’ The Milkweed Triptych picks up during the cold war in THE COLDEST WAR.  Hitler has been defeated by warlocks and now the remnants of his experiments, humans with X-men like powers, are resurfacing with deadly consequences.  Cinematic in scope and filled with rich historical details–with a supernatural twist–THE COLDEST WAR is a dark, character driven thriller that fully embraces is bleak and despondent tone while weaving a story that is completely consuming.

Having not read BITTER SEEDS, I was presently surprised to find how easily the the context and history of these characters was conveyed at just the right moments throughout THE COLDEST WAR.  After a somewhat lengthy and seemingly unconnected introduction to the half dozen main characters, the storylines began to converge and the plot took off.  The expressive writing and deft characterizations were excellent and helped carry me through some of the more depressing parts.  The past two decades have been unbearably cruel to the protagonist Marsh.  It was heavy reading to learn all the truly awful and hopeless details of his life which were made all the more tragic when certain revelations came to light.

While not a happy book by any stretch, THE COLDEST WAR is intriguing and masterfully written.  Fascinating Nazi experiments and occult obsession mixed with spy thriller plot, alternate history, and grim but compelling characters.  This is not a book that’s easily forgotten, nor, I’m sure, will NECESSARY EVIL, the third and final book in The Milkweed Triptych, when it’s published on April 16, 2013.

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