Satan's Seed is a slightly different take on what could be called a "standard" Outlanders novel, partly because of placing real-life Satanist Aliestar Crowley front and center as the villain.
Mark Ellis maintains a good pace, bulding suspense as the Cerberus crew struggles against a invasion from the past on Thunder Isle.
The story mixes Nazis mysticism with bizarre time-travel experiments and carnosaur attacks. There is also time for humor, mainly the interaction between the characters.
I enjoyed seeing Brewster Philboyd teamed up with ex-Magistrate Edwards and the samurai, Nakai.
Like most books by Mark Ellis, plot has enough twists to keep the reader interested all the way through.
It features Brigid and the rest of the crew using a combination of brains, bullets and tactics to deal with the threat posed by the Brotherhood of the Black Sun troopers.
An exciting read all the way around.
After the pyrotechnics of Skull Throne, Outlanders comes roaring back with a smaller and more personal story. A group of nazi soldiers led by a sadistic German countess (clearly inspired by Ilsa the She Wolf) are transported from the aftermath of WWII to Thunder Isle, where they stage an assault on Redoubt Yankee. Tossed into the mix is a showdown with the Millenial Consorium in Russia, plus a healthy dose of Monstrodamii.
The scope of the story is smaller than your standard Outlanders novel, but that is by no means a detriment. Instead it allows for more character moments and particularly allows for some of the second tier characters like Philboyd and Sinclair to shine. As is usual with this series, the action set pieces are top-notch excersises in high adventure. The pacing is excellent, and the climax is a classic OL one-percenter. I am always impressed by Mark Ellis' ability to take existing plotlines and characters and to tease something new and unexpected from them. While not the very best the series has to offer, Satan's Seed is definitely a must-read.
Once again, Mr. Ellis dips into his apparently bottomless magic bag. It's full of rich mythic narrative and/or factual historical oddities. He excels at evolving the mythos that is usually attached to the latter events, and brewing all this into a first-rate story.
In "Satan's Seed," we can forget for a time that re-born Annunaki Over-Lords threaten the future world and the lives of the Cerberus exiles. Very suddenly, they must deal with a threat from the past. Evidence found in remote eastern European mountains, quickly becomes a deadly threat to a Cerberus satellite facility at the edge of the Pacific ocean.
The blend of Nazi tech, WWII-era occult figures, and the magical practices that link them, might have easily descended into a goofy farce. But in the hands of Mark Ellis, it becomes an intelligent, fast-paced read, laced with trademark action. He controls the humor in characters that might have been laughable mostly by never letting you forget the blood spilled and the lingering fear instilled by the raving insanity of true believers.
Initially, I thought this story could have handled another fifty pages without dragging, and that it was hurt by how quickly it ended. After a few days, as I thought about it, the author grew wiser, and it seemed he probably got all that particular story had in it. "Outlanders" is becoming quite the weighty edifice. It must have been nice to rip through a story without checking to see if Kane still had a carbuncle on his left temple or which of Lakesh's knees was getting gimpy again.
In all, just a notch below the writer's best. As always, the blend of fiction and action with nuggets of human history and myth, creates its own genre--somewhere way beyond B-grade action thrillers--in its own slot between science and historical fiction. A worthy addition to "Outlanders."