TANNHAUSER ENIGMA BY JAMES SWALLOW

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Copyright 2013.

The Reich is developing a new weapon. Reichdoktor Hoss Harbinger the number two man in the Reich has developed a new device called Enigma. Enigma harnesses the powers from hell to take control of branded soldiers and turn them into one hive mind. They also can change into monsters. This weapon has the power to turn whole nations into an unstoppable army. So the Union sends in a small commando squad lead by RAF pilot Rick Cross and Lt. Caitlin “Hoax” Lamsbury. Using a prototype jet they drop into occupied Norway. There they join forces with Major Volkov of the Matriarchy. Known as the iron major the two groups mound an assault on Aesir the massive floating platform that is a combination aircraft carrier and landing craft as it assaults the city of Aberdeen. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

The finally in the Tannhauser trilogy. This one decided to not use the characters of Von Heizinger and Major McNeal. Instead we get new heroes and villains which is a nice change of pace. Hoss Harbinger is some sort of immortal demi-god that has plans to eventually take over the world and destroy it. Hoax and Volkov are characters that briefly appeared in the first two books. We get a look into Britain and some of the occupied territories. Throw in a turncoat traitor, secret agents and a mercenary squad of aviators known as the Autonomous Alliance of Aces and you have a fun and exciting story.

So the series on the whole was intriguing. Based on a board game a lot of details for this alternate reality where the Great War never ended were never fully explained. The origin of the characters could still be explored. The history on why the change in history. Why is Thomas Edison over hundred? Why have they never figured out nuclear bombs since this is 1954? Many questions to explore if they decide to write any future books. I found the trilogy at Half Price Books and somehow it just called to me to buy it. Otherwise I would have never known of its existence. It must have been fate.

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TANNHAUSER OPERATION: NIGHT EAGLE BY BLAINE LEE PARDOE

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Copyright 2012.

Operation Night Eagle is the ambitious undertaking of Von Heizinger and his Obscura Corp to grab artifacts that have mystical powers and could win the war. Under cover of a massive Reich raid on the U.S. East Coast his mixed demon Shocktruppen and fifth columnists sneak into Washington D.C. The first goal is to steal from the Smithsonian the cross of Juan de San Martin. Luckily Major John McNeal and his 42nd Union marines have found out his plan after raiding his HQ in occupied France. They manage to foil his plans. So he continues to the next objective. A runestone located in Kensington, Minnesota. The runestone is supposed to contain the spirits of the Norse gods including Loki.

At this time the Matriarchy under Irina has crossed the polar icecap and landed in Northern Canada. Their objective is also to recover the Runestone. Eventually the three groups meet up in Kensington for one big battle to determine who gets the runestone.

So the second book in this series takes us to the United States and Canada. This one has plenty of action with many battles. Von Heizinger uses his occult powers to take control of people and bring down a massive snowstorm to give him cover. The Matriarchy has its Tesla made energy shields and guns. Also they use polar bears. And of course the Union has its alien tech including jet packs. We get General Patton who is still alive and Undersecretary of Defense for the Union being Patton. All for some cheezy tourist attraction in some boondock Minnesota town. Another enjoyable book in the series of Great War never ending.

TANNHAUSER RISING SUN, FALLING SHADOWS BY ROBERT JESCHONEK

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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.