During the years between the first and second World Wars, Germany creates the Institute of Human Advancement (Institut Menschlichen Vorsprung) to explore the possibility of “Germanic potential.” The institute’s research is cruel and wicked but successfully produces a squadron of superkids specifically bred to fight for the Fatherland. The first graduation class includes a “burning man,” an “insubstantial man,” a telekinetic, and a woman with precognitive gifts. It’s like a Nazi version of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
In response to these Aryan supermen, England enlists a warren of warlocks. Magic, it seems, is the only thing that will save queen and country. Initially the warlocks are able to neutralize Germany’s übermenschen, but things get complicated very quickly. Note to self: when negotiating a deal with the Eidolons, make sure to read the fine print carefully.
Bitter Seeds puts a new and exciting spin on superhero fiction. The author is a member of the Wild Cards collective and he’s comfortable creating an alternate history that integrates magicmen and supermen. Along the way, he’s created a terrifying character named Gretel. A seer imbued with godlike prescience, she’s the Reich’s greatest weapon. She’s also a monster feared even by the Schutzstaffel. In a word: Fantastisch!
[Bitter Seeds / By Ian Tregillis / First Printing: April 2010 / ISBN: 9780765321503]