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The Midnight Front: Dark Arts #1    by David Mack order for
Midnight Front
by David Mack
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's another magic users versus Nazis historical fantasy, but David Mack's The Midnight Front is a particularly good one. It begins with young American Cade Martin sending his English friend Miles off to war in 1939. They were students together at Oxford and Cade's parents are taking him home by boat now that the war has started.

After a torpedo hits their ship, Cade ends up in a lifeboat under attack by a leviathan. Cade's father fights back with magic but ultimately perishes. Cade comes close to death, awakening sixteen months later in a Scottish castle. There he meets Master Adair and his three apprentices - Niko, Stefan and a very hostile Anja. Cade is believed by the world to be dead. He learns that the attack on his family was set in motion by the Nazis' chief karcist, dark mage Kein Engel.

Adair runs a top secret magickal warfare program, reporting to Churchill. All the new magicians he has trained since the war began have been murdered by Kein and his two adepts. But if Adair's team fails to stop Kein, 'the Allies have no chance of liberating Europe.' Cade agrees to enlist to avenge his parents. He has to learn to harness demons as weapons. In return, they inflict great misery on their wielder.

It's clear to the reader that there must be something special about Cade for Kein to target him when he exhibited no power, but that secret is kept till late in the story. Meanwhile, he trains hard and very fast, making progress that seems unbelievable to Adair's other apprentices - and Anja resents it. Adair begins sending his own adepts against their enemy, and they suffer great losses while eliminating most of Kein's minions.

They eventually learn that Kein's true objective is not to increase Hitler's power, but rather to unleash Hell's legions to lay 'waste Science's decadent modern world', which Kein would then remake and rule. Can Adair and his surviving apprentices stop this? They not only will have to survive their enemy's attacks, but also their allies' intent to eliminate all living sorcerers from the world.

If you enjoy war thrillers in which magic is wielded even more than guns, then dive into this series, which opens with the fight against Hitler and his sorcerers in The Midnight Front.

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