Copyright 2012.

Union agents in Tokyo find out about a mission undertaken by the Shogunate. It is lead by the Reich’s Generalleutant Von Heizinger the leader of the Obscura Korps, the special occult unit. The Union wants to know what they are after so assign Major McNeal and his elite 42th Marines to find out. The trip leads to the Kamchatka peninsula. The Union joins forces with a renegade unit of the Matriarchy called the New Guard. The mission leads to an active volcano and a captive pagan god. The potential power unleashed could bring the Union to destruction.

So this is the first in a trilogy of books from the Tannhauser universe. Tannhauser is a French board game that takes place in an alternate reality where the Great War never ended. So in this book it is 1954 and the First World War has been going for over forty years. During this time occult forces have been discovered and weird technology. Sort of a wild idea having the Great War continue for so long. In reality I doubt such a war would since both sides would basically run out of men to fight it which is what happened in reality. If you overlook the implausible reality this can be a fun series. So basically the sides correspond to the main players of WWII.

There is the Reich which is Germany and its allies. They are basically Nazis without being Nazis. The are ruled by the lich Kaiser and have turned to the dark occult. So they have demon soldiers and magic. The central baddie is Von Heizinger who is probably over a century old and heads the Obscura Korps.

They have been fighting The Union which is the alliance of western democracies of Europe and North America. It is lead by President Thomas Edison. Now Edison died in 1931 at the age of 84. So in 1954 he would be 106. So you wonder how he stayed alive for so long. Sounds like he is president for life. The main good guy is Major John McNeal of the 42th Union Marine special forces. The Union has salvaged technology from the Roswell crash and relies on advanced gadgets and weapons.

The Matriarchy is the Russian Empire ruled by Czarina Anastasia and her husband Rasputin known as the Dark Angel. They seem to have avoided the war. They have turned to worship of the pagan Slavic gods of old and combine magic with technology developed by Nicola Tesla. They seem to still have a kind of Communist organization to their society only based on pagan church and run by holy Commissars. The main character is Irina Kravchenko who can sing mystical liturgies that instill fear in their enemies and bravery in their troops.

Finally there is the Shogunate. Japan was in a civil war during this time when the emperor tried to depose the samurai. He came out on top to some unknown science and with a powerful Shogun now rules Japan. Recently they have invaded China and allied themselves to the Reich. They also seem to dabble in the occult.

So the first book was an engaging read with interesting characters. The wilds of Kamchatka make an interesting setting. Also their is a mysterious mercenary named Wolf who is working for the pagan god. He is a constant throughout the books and works for all sides with a mysterious unknown motive. This weird world war makes for an interesting read and glad I took a chance when I found the books at Half Price.


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