This is a tight collection of WWII stories within the Cthulhu mythos. Only one weak "story' in the bunch.
4 STARS, as a collection
“The Aklo Intelligence” by James Lovegrove - During a post WWII visit to an asylum, cousins discuss their WWII experiences and what happened that led to one of the cousins to be a resident of the asylum.
“Nightmares and the Price of Dreams” by Sarah Newton - Like a lot of Lovecraftian tales, this one tends to spend a lot of time in dreamland. While relevant to the tale, the dreamland sentimentality and shallow symbolism is lost on me.
All-in-all, not a bad tale, though.
“Reign of Hell” by Paul Finch – Set in Greece, two brothers face their differences with one loyal to the fascist regime and the other loyal to his archaeology.
A pretty straight-forward tale.
“The Hunger in the Flames” by Rebecca Levene – A young girl’s family falls victim to a German blitz. Alone, the girl realizes there is something older living in the flames that calls to her. And it needs to be fed.
There are some nice ideas presented here.
“Baby-Steps to Oblivion” by TP Pike – British agents trace the activities of the Ahnenerbe SS and their discoveries and experiments related to a much older culture.
The Ahnenerbe SS makes for a great subject when reading about the Cthulhu mythos. This is one of many short stories in this collection that I wish the author would explore further.
The title though needs some work.
“The Death House” by John Llewellyn – A covert operation into a notorious Nazi torture facility reveals a new, but ancient, Nazi weapons program.
Nice ideas! It leaves you with a little grin on your face at the thought of what was to come.
“Now I am Nothing” by Simon Bestwick – A Nazi strike team is sent to destroy one of their own secret weapons programs that are no longer under their control. What they find is much older than they expected and it is looking for a way back into the world.
This is another one that leaves you with a little grin on your face at the possibilities.
"The Egyptian" by Robin D. Laws - A mysterious "Egyptian" attaches himself to a platoon of GI's in order to make a point with the sergeant, a former Miskatonic professor.
The tale leaves you wanting to know more about the mysterious "Egyptian" and wanting to see more of him in the heat of battle.
"Strange Bedfellows" by Greg Stolze - I found the dialog at the beginning of this short story to be sentimentally hokey. "Is the song of the waves in your blood?" “The hectic pace of the dust of the land, blown hither and yonder by conflict, has little impact on the ocean, but the break of waves on the shore, in time shapes all." Yeah, that's a likely conversation.
That aside, Stolze puts together a good short story and leaves the reader debating further outcomes.
"From Unquiet Waters" by Gaie Sebold - This short story is written as a series of journal entries and front line letters between a wife and her husband serving aboard a British naval vessel.
"When I Knew Baseball" by Weston Ochse - A secret weapon must be kept alive. It survives by feeding on memories. But, not every soldier assigned to the unit responsible for the weapon has the mental fortitude to feed the weapon. Still the weapon must be fed.
"The Scottish Patient" by Jonathan Green- An airman finds himself in a hospice after a desert plane crash. He recalls neither the plane crash nor the long period of time before his rescue, a time in which his dreams indicate he was exposed to something older than empire for which he has been fighting.
"The Mouse" by Archie Black - The Mouse is a French agent (think "La Femme Nikita") who has attached herself to a high ranking Nazi in charge of procuring ancient artifacts for the party (think SS Ahnenerbe).
A good little action story but not a whole lot of new ideas.
“Watchers” by Lavie Tidhar. This story was too sentimental and atmospheric for my tastes and there really wasn’t much “story” to it.