May 12, 1940, Westminster, London, England: the early days of World War II.
Raybould Marsh, one of "our" Britain’s best spies, has travelled to another Earth in a desperate attempt to save at least one timeline from the Cthulhu-like monsters who have been observing our species from space and have already destroyed Marsh’s timeline. In order to accomplish this, he must remove all traces of the supermen that were created by the Nazi war machine and caused the specters from outer space to notice our planet in the first place.
His biggest challenge is the mad seer Greta, one of the most powerful of the Nazi creations, who has sent a version of herself to this timeline to thwart Marsh. Why would she stand in his way? Because she has seen that in all the timelines she dies and she is determined to stop that from happening, even if it means destroying most of humanity in the process. And Marsh is the only man who can stop her.
Necessary Evil is the stunning conclusion to Ian Tregillis’ Milkweed series.
©2013 Ian Tregillis (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
In the first book of the Milkweed trilogy, British secret agent Raybould Marsh and his poncy toff friend Will Beauclerk tried to find a way to fight supersoldiers created by Nazi science. The solution was the top-secret Milkweed project: gathering Britain's warlocks, who can bargain with cosmic horrors called Eidolons, they used magic to destroy the Reich's armies and counter the supermen, at the cost of sacrificing their own citizens.
In Necessary Evil, Raybould Marsh is sent back in time thanks to Eidolon sorcery and the machinations of Gretel, the most powerful of all the original super-soldiers, with the power to see the future and, it turns out, all the many possible branches it can take, and choose between them. Gretel is basically unstoppable: she brings into the question the very existence of free will, since nothing happens that she doesn't foresee. Unfortunately, she foresaw the end of the world in every possible future, and so schemed to create a new timeline in which the Eidolons don't destroy the world and she lives.
Thus, Necessary Evil is not only an alternate history but a time travel novel. The older, scarred Raybould Marsh has to somehow manipulate his younger self and his friend Will into not using the power of the Eidolons to save Britain from the Nazi supermen. The problem with this, of course, is that saving the world might mean losing World War II. With a younger Gretel also involved, still playing her omniscient games, the plot twists through replays of events in the first book, taking them in new directions.
Like the first two books, Necessary Evil is heavy on plot and imagination, and while the characterization is still a little shallow at times, the tormented Raybould Marsh, seeing a wife that still loves his younger self, manages to elicit sympathy, while Gretel becomes, almost, human. Still crazy and evil, but human. The "necessary evils" the characters are required to perform cause quite a bit of angst, but they never really search for alternatives.
Time travel is tricky to pull off; time travel combined with an all-seeing precog even trickier. How do you create surprises and avoid paradoxes? Tregillis manages to pull it off without unraveling the plot. The ending is just right: a climactic battle, a bittersweet victory, and just desserts. It's a fine ending to the trilogy.
There's really no way I can talk about the plot of this book, without spoilers so spoiler warning now.
So yeah, Raybold Marsh goes back in time in order to stop the Idolans from ever destroying earth. This novel revisits several large plot points from the first novel, with (I think) some sections being brought over entirely word for word.
Because of that, I found it quite disappointing. The whole time I knew exactly the direction they were going in with this one and I was hoping there would be some kind of large plot twist or diversion that surprised me, but there wasn't. It was unfortunately quite predictable throughout the whole thing.
It was still exciting. And if you were hoping for a happy ending to the series you do sort of get that with this one. But ultimately I don't feel like it really lived up to the feel and scope of the first two books.
Bitter Seeds was good...The Coldest War was great...but Necessary Evil was the book that brought the previous books together and blew them away. I really did not see these books going in the direction that they did, especially Necessary Evil. I had a hard time predicting where the book would go, and really enjoyed how it turned out. Kevin Pariseau was good to hear again, and I liked how they kept him as the narrator throughout the series. I think this is the best book in the trilogy - if you liked the others, get this one now!
I love books!
I loved The Milkweed Triptych. Combination superhero\Cthulhu type story. This one in particular was a great capper for the series.
Lets face it,no one who wants to read this book hasn't read the first two. So i don't have to try and sell the awesome story to anyone. However,this was again,a great story and narration. Anyone that loved the first two books need to listen to this one.
I would be willing to read another book from Ian Tregillis, but it would not be my first choice.
No, I wouldn't. There are better books out there and I wouldn't waste my time reading this book again.
He was good at portraying different characters and really went into the roles. I particularly liked his voice for Will.
No. This was the last book in a series, so that question is quite stupid. The story ended there, so there is no natural way to continue the story.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.