What if Hitler’s inner circle, already obsessed with the occult, sought to harness the power of an alien race to help the Nazis win the war?
In Richards’ (Dr. Who: Silhouette, 2014, etc.) sci-fi thriller set during World War II, only a select few know that the battle is not only between Allies and Axis, but between the human race and the extraterrestrial Übermenschen. Led by Heinrich Himmler, the Nazis begin to excavate ancient burial grounds to find and liberate these alien “Supermen." Only a motley band of British soldiers and civilians, members of the top-secret “Station Z,” can stop them, of course, but as they fight against time to locate the central alien headquarters on Earth, they begin to realize that the Nazis have no real control over these beings. Rather, the aliens are testing humankind to see whether they're worthy adversaries. The novel ends with a cliffhanger that clearly sets up more adventures and horror to come. Richards delivers a cinematic tale clearly written with the big screen in mind. He incorporates several actual high-ranking members of the Nazi party as well as spiritualist Aleister Crowley, and these people, along with the technical names of aircraft, lend an underlying authenticity to the black-and-white, popcorn-movie mood. The plot hangs together relatively well, though there are moments of silliness, and the action scenes are unnecessarily fragmented (again, they seem written for the movie). Richards’ true talent lies in crafting campy but believable dialogue which imbues the novel with a real sense of character. There’s also a certain slyness that suggests that the author doesn’t take himself or the subject matter too seriously.
Part Indiana Jones, part X-Files, part Catch-22, it’s good campy fun.