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The Witches of World War II

door Paul Cornell, Valeria Burzo (Illustrator)

Andere auteurs: Ronald E. Hutton (Nawoord)

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"In the darkest hours of World War II, Doreen Valiente, an expert of British folklore and the occult, is approached by British intelligence who tell her they know she's a witch ... and that's how she can best serve her country. Together with 'the most evil man in the world,' a hard-nosed white witch, the grizzled founder of Wicca, and a professional exorcist and con man, Valiente will travel deep into the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe and gamble her life, her belief, and her powers on a mission to help capture Rudolf Hess, second in command to Adolf Hitler himself"--Provided by publisher.… (meer)
  1. 00
    Aleister & Adolf door Douglas Rushkoff (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Graphic novels about the "Magical Battle of Britain" -- English occultists working against the Nazi threat
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1-5 van 8 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
Received this one as part of the Hugo package, so thanks to the publishers for that.
I was predisposed to like this, I've read books by and about most of the characters and honestly I had thought about buying it a time or two and honestly I was underewhelmed. Yes I knew Crowley was a bit of a douche, but the story just came across to me as being somewhat disjointed and shoving characters around a chessboard without a coherent plan. Almost as if they wanted to put some of these characters in a situation and see how that panned out and then constructed a story around why. Not on the top of my list for the Hugos. I think as well that some of my disappointment was how much I anticipated the story and wanted it to work. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jul 1, 2024 |
This Hugo Award finalist takes several real historical witches or magicians who were alive during World War II and posits what they might have done if they were to use their magic to take down Adolf Hitler; it's written by my longtime favorite Paul Cornell and illustrated by a new-to-me artist, Valeria Burzo. (It's in six chapters, so I had thought it was a collection of six issues, but it seems to be an original graphic novel.)

Ever since I read Captain Britain and MI13, I have known that Cornell is a good comics writer, and this is among his better work. The concept is super fun, and the historical notes at the back bring a lot of enjoyment to the story, as you work out what really happened and what he embellished. All the protagonists pop off the page, and the story has a number of good twists and turns and audacious moments and big payoffs. I particularly liked what Cornell did with Aleister Crowley's "wickedest man in the world" shtick (though for some reason he consistently misquotes it), Doreen Valiente's struggle to believe in her own magic, and Rollo Ahmed's perpetual outsider status. This is a neat group of characters in reality, and it's neat to see them come together in fiction in a way they did not in reality.

It's an easy read but an interesting one too, and I liked Burzo's artwork a lot; combined with Jordie Bellaire's colors, it's simple but effective in communicating both character and action.
  Stevil2001 | May 10, 2024 |
The Witches of World War II treats "The Magical Battle of Britain" in graphic novel format, collecting six issues of a comic book of the same title. In this case, the author Paul Cornell has made Doreen Dominy (later Valiente) the central protagonist as the leader of an intelligence cell that includes Aleister Crowley, Gerald Gardner, Dion Fortune (whose actual name Violet Firth is never mentioned), and Rollo Ahmed. Cornell admits that he has taken significant liberties with the history involved, as extreme as having Crowley die as a martyr for England in Nazi Germany.

The book is furnished with an afterword from historian Ronald Hutton, who is a noted and reliable researcher of twentieth-century British occultism. Professor Hutton points out many of the likely errors and evident impossibilities in the story, along with some of the actual events and likely facts that were used as scaffolding. He does so in a friendly spirit with an allowance for inaccuracy among the surviving sources.

Allowing for creative license and storytelling efficiency, I was still bothered by the story showing antagonism between Crowley and Fortune (Cornell admits to knowing better himself), collapsing Rudolf Hess and Heinrich Himmler into a single character, and repeatedly calling Crowley "the most evil man in the world," rather than his actual yellow press title of "The Wickedest Man in the World." If the book had been using the story to court larger ideas the way that Douglas Rushkoff did in his graphic novel Aleister & Adolf, I might have been more willing to cut it some slack. But mostly it seemed to amount to a superheroine origin story for Doreen Valiente.

The illustration work by Valeria Burzo is in a very traditional comics style, effective for the characterizations and action. Colorist Jordie Bellaire kept to customary flat colors, but did some nice non-black line work in visions, dreams, memories, and reflections.

I have read other reviewers who found The Witches of World War II "boring." It held my attention pretty well, but I'm a soft touch for the subject matter. For a better comic on the subject, I would recommend the aforementioned Rushkoff book, and for a far more sprawling and sophisticated fiction that uses the capture of Hess as a touchstone event, Jake Arnott's The House of Rumour.
  paradoxosalpha | Mar 17, 2024 |
How can a book about occultists recruited by the British government to fight Nazis be this boring?

Received via NetGalley. ( )
  amanda4242 | Mar 11, 2023 |
(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Netgalley. Content warning for racism and violence.)

At just nineteen years old, Doreen "Dominy" Valiente is a recently widowed, junior intelligence officer, when she is approached by a British General for a covert mission. "I know you're a witch, Doreen Dominy! And that is the capacity in which you can best serve your country." A hobbyist of the occult, Dominy is plagued by doubts about the existence of magic and the supernatural. However, she soon realizes that this is immaterial to her operation: as long as her targets believe in the occult, she can use this to the Allies' benefit. Trouble is, her hatred of Churchill rivals her hatred of Hitler.

I really wanted to love THE WITCHES OF WORLD WAR II, but I often found the storytelling confusing. Based on a true events - Doreen Edith Dominy Valiente was a crucial figure in the English Wiccan movement, and in Operation Cone of Power, a group of British witches attempted a "magical assault" on the mind of Hitler - the story felt incomplete and, well, surprisingly boring. Cornell spends entirely too much time focusing on Dominy's personal doubts and existential crises. Crowley feels like a caricature (although perhaps this is accurate for a man dubbed “Wickedest Man In The World”). And I never did understand Dominy's antipathy toward the war (aside from blaming it for her husband's death at sea). ( )
  smiteme | Dec 28, 2022 |
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» Andere auteurs toevoegen (4 mogelijk)

AuteursnaamRolType auteurWerk?Status
Paul Cornellprimaire auteuralle editiesberekend
Burzo, ValeriaIllustratorprimaire auteuralle editiesbevestigd
Hutton, Ronald E.NawoordSecundaire auteuralle editiesbevestigd
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"In the darkest hours of World War II, Doreen Valiente, an expert of British folklore and the occult, is approached by British intelligence who tell her they know she's a witch ... and that's how she can best serve her country. Together with 'the most evil man in the world,' a hard-nosed white witch, the grizzled founder of Wicca, and a professional exorcist and con man, Valiente will travel deep into the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe and gamble her life, her belief, and her powers on a mission to help capture Rudolf Hess, second in command to Adolf Hitler himself"--Provided by publisher.

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