Black Sun Reich by Trey Garrison: Innovative 1920s Political Steampunk

Black Sun Reich by Trey Garrison is the first in the Spear of Destiny trilogy. And it’s true – everyone seems to be writing trilogies these days. It’s rapidly becoming an overdone marketing ploy. But not in this case. You really, really want there to be two more books after this one.

Black Sun Reich grips you from the very beginning with the horrific scenes of self-evisceration in a cold monastery that we witness alongside acolyte Arturo, who escapes the ordeal but sees who’s behind it. There’s a skeletal demon at loose but why, how and how?
Onto the wider setting. In this universe, America is a divided nation consisting of the Texas Freehold, the Confederate States and the Union States. And there’s also Germany, which is beginning its conquest of the rest of the western world using sinister supernatural means. It is very isolated and out of touch with rest of world but delving deep into the supernatural one to find the means of world domination. This political situation is well explained in the book and seems perfectly reasonable in this author’s hands.
It’s set in the 1920s and is atmospheric. There are details about what the characters wear and eat for example that bring the period to life, not to mention hints of intolerant racist and sexist attitudes. It’s a fascinating period to set a book in, one that’s often ignored but can be seen as a perfect time for major upheaval as the world is still in shock after the devastation of the Great War and the population is still recovering physically and mentally.
Sean Fox Rucker and Jesus D’Anconia Lago (Chuy) are likeable heroes, attractive and interesting. Both pilots in the Great War they’re now freelancing and working and playing hard. They’re tough on the exterior, and while still pretty tough underneath, have a sense of fun and humanity. They’re not cardboard cut-outs. A third key man is Dr Deitel, a Nazi, who considers the Americans to be evil wrongdoers at the beginning of the book. As he gets to know Rucker better he soon realises that it’s his side that is unleashing the nightmares into the world. And the Spear of Destiny is the holy artifact with mighty power that all sides want to get their hands on – either to save the world, or destroy it.
There are plenty of interesting and imaginative elements in the book like Airstrip One, a landing point for aircraft 9000 ft in the air on the back of 38 superzeppelins strapped together. The author throws powerful companies into the political mix too, such as Pegasus Petroleum and airline companies. It makes for a very convincing background to action that encompasses horror, courage, ideals and good versus evil.

It’s an excellent read from an exciting author.

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