Thursday, 12 March 2009

Watch on the Rhine by Tom Ringo and Tom Kratman

Watch on the Rhine is another addition to the Posleen War series and helps to answer one of my main complaints about the series in that it only showed what happened to the USA during the invasion and barely mentioned the rest of the world.

The Watch on the Rhine fits into the series by starting just after the events of Gust Front and finished before the events detailed in when the devil Dances, with a epilogue that occurs some time after the events in Hell’s Faire.

Germany is facing disaster. With most of its modern army off world, they have few remaining veterans to turn to,( The aliens have technology allowed people to be rejuvenated to their early 20s) to train their armies in time for the coming invasion. With the invasion of the USA bringing home the reality of the horror they face the German Chancellor is faced with an impossible decision. Do they hope that their armies will be ready in time with their current resources or does he turn to the one group that they swore never ever to recall. Does he make a devils bargain or will the cost be simply too high? This group?

The few remaining survivors of the Waffen SS.

This is not an attempt at Nazi glorification by any stretch of the imagination. The authors do not attempt to white wash the misdeeds of the SS or portray them as whiter then whiter heroes. They have written a very dark and gritty story that poses the question does the need for survival cancel out our programming? Will we do whatever it takes not matter the cost?

The level of detail in describing what happens to Europe during the initial invasion waves is excellent and fills the void nicely. If you have read the first four books you already ‘know’ that the German forces can’t win but you can’t help but hope. By the end of the book all of the old SS are dead. But the military training they have given to the younger generation allow the surviving population to reach safety in the Alps and prepare to take the war back to the enemy.

The description of the Posleen in this novel is much more chilling and they seem a much more dangerous enemy then the mindless foes they have appeared to be previously. A good example of this is a scene where they attempt to cross a bridge by carrying children as human shields!

The book also conveys that War is indeed Hell, that evil men can do good deeds and in the same vein good men can also do evil deeds and that mere survival is not always enough.

I would give this book four out of five. However you should keep clear if you are easily offended.

No comments:

Post a Comment