cover image Dark Victory

Dark Victory

Michele Lang. Tor, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2318-7

Lang’s pallid sophomore effort (after 2011’s Lady Lazarus) continues the saga of a Jewish witch in 1939 Europe trying to use her magic powers to stop the Nazis. On the eve of Germany’s invasion of Poland, Magda Lazarus, who has the ability to summon souls, is distraught to learn how she will die. But she can defeat Hitler “only if she retrieves the true Book of Raziel,” so Magda puts aside concerns for her own well-being to search for the tome. Given the grimness of her mission, the sometimes arch tone detracts from full engagement with the characters and their fates. While Jewish readers will love having a protagonist they can identify with, they will also spot a few errors in matters of language and religion, and some may object to the (possibly unintentional) implication that Hitler being possessed by demons relieves him of responsibility for his crimes. Agent: Spectrum Literary Agency. (Feb.)