As an editorial project as colossal as it is daring, the Tetralogy of the Origins of French Stephane Przybylski started under the best auspices with The Million Years’ Castle . An explosive cocktail of spying, history and science fiction, this first volume was enough to appeal to a wide audience. More imposing, this second volume, always published by the editions of Belial ‘ , has the heavy task of confirming all the good that one thinks of its author. The Hammer of Thor then plunges us back in 1939 not far from Madeira where Friedrich Saxhäuser seems to condemn. Unless mysterious aliens are coming to save him!
While Saxhäuser finally meets the mysterious beings who could change the course of history, the archaeologist Joachim Schmundt and Siegfried’s cargo are captured by his Majesty’s soldiers. To prevent the British secret service from discovering the wonders that have been updated in Iraq, Himmler, Heydrich and Canaris send two German agents for a rescue mission on British soil. While the war is raging in the East and the Einsatzgruppen begin their deadly work of death, the eyes of the world rival a small English mansion in Devonshire. At the same time, the mysterious Mr Lee and the US secret services of the ONI enter the dance. Saxhäuser will have to choose his side!
Thor’s Hammer skillfully renews the Castle of Millions of Years experience by changing dosage. Indeed, the historical part is reduced to the benefit of the action and the excitement of the plot. Which does not mean that Stéphane Przybylski abandons his accuracy when the course of history with a large H. He does it in a less ostentatious way than in his first attempt. Thus, Thor’s Hammer becomes more of an old-school action-spy narrative, keeping the strong point of his predecessor: his page-turner character. Thanks to the fluid and nervous writing of its author, The Hammer of Thor, despite a respectable size, devours literally. The reader is caught in the sequence of events and Przybylski’s ability to change his point of view. To achieve something very cinematic in the mind, the French author operates constant back and forth between his characters and between times to keep the attention of his reader. This process, as simple as ingenious, also allows to tell a myriad of things without losing the thread of the main plot.
It is also true that sometimes the story of Thor’s Hammer looks more like Russian dolls than anything else. Przybylski enshrines his stories, lugging us from the Second World War to the First before projecting himself into the post-war period. In short, the French writer moves us through the ages, the result allowing us to constantly renew the interest of the story. Very nervous, this one gives pride to the games of spies and the political machinations. As a connoisseur, Przybylski dissects the British, American and German secret services, makes them clash and explains with great simplicity the internal rivalries (Abwehr vs SS, MI6 vs MI5 ) or between allies (especially American and English)However, this imbroglio still remains accessible to readers, which makes The Hammer of Thor all the more delectable. Similarly, the action, always readable, reinforces the page-turner side of the novel. Difficult to let go of the book once opened.
Finally, and to complete this already pleasing picture, Stephane Przybylski develops the camp of the aliens (the science-fictive touch of the Tetralogy, between X-Files and the pulps narratives of yesteryear) by deepening their motivations. Always so discreet, this UFO side also announces many other things for the rest of the operations. The French writer plays the equilibrists, juggling the clichés on the Petits Gris while avoiding the cheesy side of this approach. The interaction between the E.Ts and Saxhäuser (clearly behind this opus) offers the opportunity to talk about the responsibility of men in the service of the Third Reich. Przybylski confirms his propensity to illustrate(by fictional or historical characters) the very heterogeneous reasons that pushed some Germans to support the Führer. By avoiding making all Nazi dignitaries pure wicked, he also avoids getting into the usual clichés of the genre. In this sense, Canaris and Saxhäuser certainly prove to be the most interesting characters in this second volume.
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