Seed of Satan by Simon Laffy
Publisher & Release: ACM Retro Limited, October 1, 2016
Time and setting: World War I, England & Germany
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 146 Pages
Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns
Deep in the heart of the Kaiser's Reich, scientists work desperately to produce a form of germ warfare that could provide the elusive breakthrough on the Western Front, thereby bringing ultimate victory to the Central Powers. One young Englishman is willing to risk his all to prevent them from succeeding.
Seed of Satan is an examination of human identity during World War One. Spanning three decades at the turn of the twentieth century, it questions the notions of honour and betrayal, of nation and family.
Identical twins, William and Michael, are born to an English aristocratic mother and a Prussian diplomatic father. Their mother tragically dies during childbirth, leaving them to be raised in Germany by their father. However, he reluctantly agrees for the boys to visit their English relatives every summer throughout their childhood.
The twins hold a divided loyalty to their father, who clearly favours William. The onset of war in Europe causes an ever-widening rift between them and eventually they enter the conflict on opposing sides. As their family is split asunder, they are cast as modern warriors, struggling to adapt to the new, industrialized ways of waging war.
In parallel, Karl Hans Ziegler is an obsessive young scientist who hears voices in his head. They are the masters of Science, telling him secrets that will aid his progress in devising new weapons in germ warfare. From his 'angels', he learns how civilization not only provided new environments for humanity, but also the breeding grounds from which disease has plagued our species throughout the centuries. They also teach him about the evolution of microbes and how they perfected the mechanisms by which to invade their hosts.
Throughout the actual fighting, the story focuses specifically on the air campaign and the way that ordinary civilians became legitimate targets of war. It highlights the bravery of the twins through their exploits as aerial combatants. Meanwhile, it reveals how scientists and laboratory technicians made rapid progress in sinister new ways of killing: mechanical, chemical and biological.
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Hmm, I have mixed feeling with this one. While there are no doubt nail-biting, heart-racing moments, at other times the writing becomes quite clinical when describing the scientific aspects of this story.
The story line follows identical twins from their birth to what they suffer due to the ravishes of the Great War. While at times, I found their stories fascinating, I did not like what happens to them. I know I am being vague, but I do not want to give anything away.
All in all, I did enjoy Seed Satan and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this. Thanks to the author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Anyone who finds novels about the Great War, then they will enjoy Seed of Satan. I know this is a shorter review than I normally write, but this book is quite different from my usual selection for my reading enjoyment. Happy reading!