International Spotlight: Ian Tregillis’s MILKWEED TRIPTYCH

Today, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Ian Tregillis‘s highly-acclaimed debut trilogy, the Milkweed Triptych: BITTER SEEDS, THE COLDEST WAR, and NECESSARY EVIL.

The series was first published by Tor Books in North America, and Orbit Books in the UK. Here’s the English-language synopsis for the first novel…

The year is 1939. Raybould Marsh and other members of British Intelligence have gathered to watch a damaged reel of film in a darkened room. It appears to show German troops walking through walls, bursting into flames and hurling tanks into the air from afar.

If the British are to believe their eyes, a twisted Nazi scientist has been endowing German troops with unnatural, unstoppable powers. And Raybould will be forced to resort to dark methods to hold the impending invasion at bay.

But dealing with the occult exacts a price. And that price must be paid in blood.

The complete trilogy is published in Spain, by Debolsillo, as Tríptico de Asclepia: SEMILLAS AMARGAS, LA GUERRA MÁS FRÍA, and UN MAL NECESARIO

… and in Latvia by Prometejs, as the Asinszāles triptihs: RŪGTĀS SĒKLAS, VISAUKSTĀKAIS KARŠ, and NEPIECIEŠAMAIS ĻAUNUMS

Here are just a few of the great reviews the Milkweed Triptych has received…

‘Debut novelist Tregillis breathes new life into alternate military history with this fun take on WWII… exciting and intense, and the clash of magic and (mad) science meshes perfectly with the tumultuous setting.’ — Publishers Weekly on BITTER SEEDS

BITTER SEEDS is a book of questions and is far deeper than you might expect… Aside from the depth of characters and meanings, this book is filled with the kinds of exciting, intelligent and intense scenes that you’ll find in only the best page turners… another huge point regarding BITTER SEEDS and that is that it is just written so damned beautifully. The prose really is some of the most accessible yet academic that I have read in a while. Tregillis writes with authority while displaying a firm understanding of the subtler things that make us human… Whether you are looking for a cool alternate history that questions the core of humanity or just a damned brilliant story with twisted powers and great action, you should check this out and be wowed. It’s one hell of a ride.’ — Fantasy Faction

‘Tregillis has journeyed into that most overtilled field, World War II alternate history, and in the process he has created a unique, unsettling, and deeply atmospheric setting; populated it with a diversity of grimly fascinating characters; and turned up the heat with the sort of plot that requires those characters to keep shoveling frantically if they are ever to stay in advance of the needs of the firebox… These are the book’s strengths – its atmosphere, its setting, the vividly imagined consequences of immoral and desperate actions… All in all, this is an excellent first book, and I am eagerly awaiting number two.’ — Tor.Com (Elizabeth Bear) on BITTER SEEDS

‘Independently intelligible sequel to the dark fantasy BITTER SEEDS, something like a cross between the devious, character-driven spy fiction of early John le Carré and the mad science fantasy of the X-Men… Despite the jaw-dropping backdrop and oblique plotting, the narrative is driven by character and personal circumstance, the only possible drawback being certain important developments that annoyingly take place offstage. Grim indeed, yet eloquent and utterly compelling.’ — Kirkus (Starred Review, “Best of 2012”) on THE COLDEST WAR

‘The engrossing second book in Tregillis’s Milkweed Triptych… Tregillis ably mixes cold war paranoia with his mythology, also nicely expanding characters (particularly Gretel)… The monstrous, extra-dimensional Eidolons add a genuinely convincing menace that transcends the more banal evil motivations of the political game players, although Gretel’s more complicated motivations really drive the action. A few nice twists keep things interesting, and the cliffhanger ending sets up the concluding volume quite well…’ — Publishers Weekly on THE COLDEST WAR

‘With all the flair he showed in his debut novel, Tregillis continues the tale, bringing to it that same marvellous plotting, immersive sense of place, and above all, wonderful characters. One of the characters introduced in the first novel is a precognitive, and in this volume – which revolves around her long plots – we are shown that the power to see the future is the most corrupting power of them all. Tregillis’s oracle is one of the most chilling psychopath villains of literature, a delicious monster who drives the book forward. As with the earlier volume, I tore through this one in a day and a half. Tregillis is a major new talent in the field, and this is some of the best – and most exciting – alternate history I’ve read. Bravo.’ — BoingBoing on THE COLDEST WAR

THE COLDEST WAR builds brilliantly on BITTER SEEDS – it’s darker, tighter, and utterly engrossing. Easily a contender for best novel of 2012… just as action-packed, and the pacing is absolutely superb… if you enjoyed BITTER SEEDS, then I have no doubt that you’ll love THE COLDEST WAR just as much, if not more. Tregillis’s prose is tight, fluid and a pleasure to read. The story is superbly crafted, and the narrative and action will pull readers through. I was hooked from the first page… This novel is superb. I can’t recommend this highly enough. A must-read for 2012.’ — Civilian Reader

‘Tregillis’ conclusion of the Milkweed Triptych is the pièce de résistance of the series… a perfect marriage of science fiction, fantasy and alternate history. His narrative flows seamlessly, and his plot is fantastically convincing. Tregillis’ characters astound, the villains as well as the heroes, especially honorable, tormented yet heroic Raybould.’ — RT Book Reviews on NECESSARY EVIL

‘The historic backdrop of World War Two is intricately detailed, and captures the British wartime spirit well. A suitably epic end to the magnificent Milkweed Triptych (aka trilogy!), this draws you in and keeps you glued to the page until the very end.’ — British Fantasy Society on NECESSARY EVIL

‘Darkly fascinating… A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to an imaginative tour de force.’ — Kirkus on NECESSARY EVIL

‘With NECESSARY EVIL… Ian Tregillis triumphantly concludes his astonishing, brilliant, pulse-pounding debut trilogy, The Milkweed Triptych… This is a book that veers precipitously from unexpected and chilling ruminations on the inherent evil of precognition; to the questions of loyalty and betrayal so thorny that they need a time-travel loop to really be explored; to spy-thriller action sequences that will keep you up under the covers with a flashlight, turning pages and unable to sleep. This is a remarkable set of books, and with all three in hand, would make a fabulous spring read.’ — BoingBoing

Ian’s latest trilogy is the Alchemy Wars, which is also published by Orbit Books in the UK and in North America: THE MECHANICAL, THE RISING, and THE LIBERATION. (The series is also available in Italy, Poland, and China.)

Cover Reveal: Latvian Edition of NECESSARY EVIL by Ian Tregillis


Above we have the Latvian edition of Ian Tregillis‘s critically-acclaimed NECESSARY EVIL. The third novel in the Milkweed Triptych, it is published in Latvia by Prometejs as NEPIECIEŠAMAIS ĻAUNUMS. Prometejs have also published the first two novels in the series: BITTER SEEDS and THE COLDEST WAR — as RŪGTĀS SĒKLAS and VUSAUKSTĀKAIS KARŠ, respectively.

The Milkweed Trilogy is published in the UK by Orbit Books. Here is the English-language synopsis for NECESSARY EVIL

Superhumans and dark magic collide in secret supernatural history of Twentieth Century events — the final book in this landmark series

The history of the Twentieth Century has been shaped by a secret conflict between technology and magic. When a twisted Nazi scientist devised a way to imbue ordinary humans with supernatural abilities — to walk through walls, throw fire and see the future — his work became the prized possession of first the Third Reich, then the Soviet Army. Only Britain’s warlocks, and the dark magics they yield, have successfully countered the threat posed by these superhuman armies.

But for decades, this conflict has been manipulated by Gretel, the mad seer. And now her long plan has come to fruition. And with it, a danger vastly greater than anything the world has known. Now British Intelligence officer Raybould Marsh must make a last-ditch effort to change the course of history — if his nation, and those he loves, are to survive.

Below are the Latvian covers for RŪGTĀS SĒKLAS and VUSAUKSTĀKAIS KARŠ and also the UK covers…


Here’s just a small selection of the great reviews NECESSARY EVIL has received…

‘A work of art so outstanding in its complexity that is difficult to imagine how Tregillis even began to plan the series out in the first place… a dark and uncompromising journey into the depths of despair, constantly thought-provoking and always surprising. It’s a mind-blowing series that everyone should read… a great conclusion to one of the best series of recent times. As unpredictable as its predecessors, it’s a black magic thrill ride that makes you think as well as makes your heart race. Tregillis is a master at work, mixing so many genres together in his unique melting pot, until we are left with something so delightfully unlike anything else published today.’ — Fantasy Faction

‘The historic backdrop of World War Two is intricately detailed, and captures the British wartime spirit well. A suitably epic end to the magnificent Milkweed Triptych (aka trilogy!), this draws you in and keeps you glued to the page until the very end.’ — British Fantasy Society

‘The masterful conclusion… In the final book in Tregillis’s awesome Milkweed Triptych, superhumans and dark magic collide once again in a secret, supernatural history of early Twentieth Century. A series that has consistently impressed me, and improved with each book, NECESSARY EVIL brings the story to a close with aplomb… Gretel is an absolutely fascinating character, and one of my favourites in any book or series: she is both star and villain; Machiavellian in the extreme and ultimately tragic… Ultimately, Tregillis brings the novel and series to a brilliant close. The ending of NECESSARY EVIL is heart-wrenching… but it feels right, given what’s come before. The Milkweed Triptych is one of my all-time favourite series. It is a must-read. Very highly recommended.’ — Civilian Reader

‘[The] Milkweed Triptych is one of the most enjoyable and clever series on the market right now… one of the best novels I’ve read… If you like Science Fiction, this is the series for you. If you like Alternate History, this is the series for you. If you like Urban Fantasy, yes, this series is also for you. If you just like well-written novels with well-made characters and an expertly crafted story, then this series is for you. NECESSARY EVIL is the perfect conclusion to what is now one of my favorite series ever.’ — Elitist Book Reviews

Zeno represents Ian Tregillis in the UK, Commonwealth and Translation, on behalf of Kay McCauley of Aurous, Inc.