Ehrlich (World War Four and the Catholic Empire, 2014, etc.) returns with a novel about the end of the world, in which demons clash and humans face danger from all corners.
As this long novel begins, Karl Laforce of the City Defense Forces is going back to college by train, leaving the big city behind him. Another student explains that this unnamed university is the right place if Karl is looking for “a new resurrection from the toil of life.” He and other characters adhere to the politics of National Socialism, and often talk about the Reich, the importance of the “Volk” and the dangers of Asiatic Bolshevism. But it turns out that there are far greater threats in world. Not only is this “pristine countryside” targeted by some of the same criminal forces that terrorize other parts of the country, but there are also other, darker forces at work in the surrounding forest. Two demons are fighting a war on Earth: One is Merihem, who creates zombies, and the other is Abaddon, who’s said to be one of several Antichrists. It comes as no surprise that the demonic zombies soon become a problem for Karl, as well. This could have been the start of an engaging adventure story, but readers may have a hard time connecting with the characters here, who mostly speak in odd, stilted prose: “As the pure white Swan of Lohengrin is everlasting and eternal in the cadence of our hearts music so I shall faithful be unto you.” There’s also plenty of distracting technical specifications for guns, binoculars and other equipment. Overall, the setting is vague and dreamlike: The pub near the university, for instance, is called the “University Pub,” and its proprietor is “the Publican.” Readers familiar with World War II history may find some character names of interest, as several of them belong to Nazis who died in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. (The book is also dedicated to several real-life Nazis, such as SS member Col. Jakob Grimminger.) However, the novel’s many odd aspects never come together to create a unified effect.
A somewhat unexciting supernatural tale, hampered by awkward prose.