The Midnight Front

David Mack. Tor, $27.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8320-4
Mack (author of numerous Star Trek tie-in novels) has created a well-researched fantasy version of World War II, but he’s far too blithe in his handling of real-world atrocities. The battlefields of the Eastern and Western Fronts are joined by the titular Midnight Front in a war of demon-harnessing mages called karcists. Cade Martin is an American of secret magical heritage. After his parents are murdered by an Axis-controlled demon, he’s taken in by 357-year-old karcist Adair MacRae and his team of adepts. Cade masters his powers in record time to fight the megalomaniacal German karcist Kein Engel (literally “No Angel”) and his diabolical network. Along the way, Cade and his compatriots witness the worst atrocities of the war. Mack is a skilled storyteller with a knack for vivid and visceral action and violence. Many readers will be discomfited by his use of Babi Yar, Auschwitz, and Dresden as backdrops to the wizards’ war; these ghastly events chiefly provide a justification for willingly entering into a pact with a demon for a greater good. Most of the victims (who include children and infants) remain faceless bodies on which horrors are perpetrated to play with the reader’s emotions and move the plot. Though a diverse cast supports the entirely standard straight white male hero, this well-written pulp fiction falls short of its aims. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 01/30/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-7653-8319-8
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