Jacqie's Reviews > The Coldest War

The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis
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's review
Aug 14, 2012

really liked it

I must find out what happens next.


This book takes the bold step of beginning twenty years after the first book ends. Our heroes are well into middle age, and are in very different places than the first book placed them. Will is doing much better, but Marsh is in a dead marriage with a disabled son. Klaus and Gretel are still together, but their relationship is beginning to fray.

Again, we don't really have any clear-cut heroes. Marsh is definitely a flawed character, his drive for revenge and to beat the Soviets leaving him unable to see the consequences of his actions. I'm actually fairly sympathetic to Will- warlocks have horrible abilities and the moral grayness of allowing innocent people to be killed in order to win a war echos Hiroshima, but in an even more horrifying way, since British citizens must be killed in order for the British to triumph. Was Will a traitor? I suppose so.

Again, I also find myself having some sympathy for Gretel. She is playing a long game, and isn't that much different from any government willing to take some losses in order to ultimately win. And she's playing for more than just a nation.

The Soviets are mostly faceless bad guys in this book. It's funny- I can very much remember Cold War mentality, but it seems so different than how many Americans view the world today. The book contrasts the black and white wartime win at all costs mentality with the horror of the costs of war. I'm not sure the alternate history post-WWII was entirely thought out, but was willing to overlook it to focus on the story.

And at the end of the book- we finally get our time travel! I'm really looking forward to seeing how Tregillis will handle time travel paradoxes.
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