Letters of Mass Construction

Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis

Book three of the Milkweed Triptych (Bitter Seed and The Coldest War being book one and two) starts off with a bang. Takes a sharp left turn and then drives a spike right through your brain. This may be one of my favorite trilogies I have read in the last decade. If you haven’t read the first two you are missing out on a treat. I like alternate history books and this series mixed horror, magic, and science like few I have ever seen.

I am going to have to do a clever dance around the plot to keep this spoiler free. At the end of The Coldest War the British Warlocks unleashed the Eidoloens (the best way I can describe them is a nasty Cthulhu like creature) on Nazi Germany and their battery powered super soldiers. The results were truly horrific and devastating. It leads Raybould Marsh, British super spy, to catapult himself back in time to hit the reset button.

What happens next is a thrilling roller coaster ride as Marsh tries to stay one step ahead of both the Germans and the British in a desperate attempt to rewrite history (including his own). Every time I thought I knew where this book was going it would swerve in a different direction. It was a completely satisfying ending to the story (although, I still think The Coldest War was the best book of the trio).

It is a testament to Tregillis’ plotting that he was often able to weave the multiple timelines and stories into this final book. I don’t think I have had more fun with a time travel story ever. I also loved seeing the older Marsh deal with his younger self and his wife. The older Marsh was a ruthless bastard who would do anything to save his family and country. The younger Marsh was a hero who had not quite become the jaded monster that his alternate timeline persona had become.

This series was a genre bending, alternate history, mash up. It was action packed, thrilling, often horrific and ultimately brilliant. A lot of times when authors throw in everything including the kitchen sink the story can often get bogged down. This one left me stuffed to the brim with goodness. I can’t wait to see where Tregillis goes next with his career.

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