Very good novel, good second volume, but i’m still not fully convinced.
This novel is the second volume of the Tetralogy of Origins , after The Castle of Millions of Years. It has all the qualities (the panting side that makes you devour it more than you read it, the absolutely astonishing precision of historical reconstruction, the ambition and mastery of the narrative structure, the richness and complexity of characters – at least most), but there are also some of the defects of the first volume (the structure based flashbacks a little too demanding mainly).
I also noted in this volume 2 the appearance of new defects or the aggravation of existing defects that, despite undeniable and important qualities, I am still not 100% convinced by this tetralogy for the moment (Thor’s Hammer).
NEW PLACES, NEW HEADS, KNOWN HEADS
After the capture of Schmundt by the English, the mummy and the pieces of extraterrestrial technology are repatriated to England. Saxhäuser, he survived (what a surprise), rescued by the extraterrestrials, who make him revelations and deposit him on the Iberian coasts, where he will resume contact with Admiral Canaris but without the news of the exaggeration of rumors about his death is spreading (especially among Thor’s Hammer).
The bulk of the narration (apart from the flashbacks, of course) focuses on the Nazi commando going to England to release the prisoners (they are not aware of Saxhäuser’s drowning) and try to recover their discoveries. There are known heads (like Thor’s Hammer), as well as new characters, in the forefront of which is the dreadful and perverse Maud Alten, Anglo-Danish aristocrat passed body (you will soon understand) and soul on the Nazi side.
The new characters enjoy the same degree of deepening with flashbacks explaining their psychology, their motivations and their common history as the old ones. Whether old or new characters side, I appreciated the absence of Manichaeism, one of the English (Rourke) revealing in its kind as foul as the Germans, and the Americans proving to be manipulators without qualms able to kill their English “allies” to prevent them from speaking. I also appreciated that, without falling into the excesses of the Iron Throne , the author did not hesitate to get rid coldly of several characters (including at least a not-so-secondary).
The shift of the frame of action to England (for the most part) gives this volume an atmosphere that is noticeably different from the first, but just as successful. The passages on board the U-Boot give a wave (but very pleasant) side Das Boot or U-571 (for grenadage) to the whole. The end is very successful, not in the genre of the first volume (there is no cliffhanger this time) but rather in the genre “Hollywood blockbuster summer blockbuster scene.”
As I said in the introduction, we find all the qualities that made me love the first volume:
- a keen sense of rhythm and characters (it’s really remarkable from the author, when you think about it, knowing it’s his first two novels ).
- an impressive immersion offered to the reader in the great events of the time (Stéphane Przybylski is a historian, and uses his knowledge thoroughly and skillfully, describing accurately and accurately the atmosphere of those dark years).
- a narrative structure of a refreshing ambition (without wanting to decry the French SFFF authors, we are more used to seeing that in the Anglo-Saxon authors than ours) and which, above all, allows to explain very finely the motivations characters by inserting an appropriate flashback that justifies their motivations in the present of the plot.
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