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By William Dietrich

Harper, HarperCollins, 2011 ($9.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-06-198919-3
Kindle eBook: ($9.99)

Reviewed by Sam Waas

First, you've got your Nazis. Nazis are good. Not that Nazis are intrinsically good. They're of course slimy. But they are good for empowering a wonderfully rousing and speculative thriller. Check "Raiders of the Lost Ark" if you think otherwise.

Add to the Nazis some Tibetan nuns, cryptic maps and coded messages, Indiana Jones-type explorers, a daring Amelia Earhartian aviator — excuse please, aviatrix, magic staffs imbued with protean energy, possible ancient aliens, sacred blood (or cruor sancta, maybe even heilig blut), swirl everything together in a large hadron collider (I kid you not) and you've got a terrific and fun read.

Some of the quoted reviewers take all this hoopla deadly serious. I don't. And I think I'm sharing a knowing wink with the author. BLOOD OF THE REICH should be read with tongue firmly in cheek. Which in no way detracts from enjoying the novel and its lively narrative.

How else can you explain roving gangs of crypto-Nazis led by faithful Third Reichers who, after decades, still lurk fiendishly in the shadows, eager to (ahem) "blend" their flawless Aryan genetics with handy and sexy heroines? How else can you accept cohorts of leftover Nazis trolling the otherwise peaceful American, German, and Swiss countryside? How else to subvert the entire physics enterprise of CERN solely for imposing outworn eugenics and dazzlingly goofy pseudoscience, if not for goodnatured, clever satire?

The principal characters are also delightful. There's a flawed, self-depreciating heroine, a flawed, overwrought hero, a dashing retro explorer, the aviatrix, and new convert fascists as well as oldline fascist hangers-on. Just don't forget the wise Tibetan nuns. All are comic in one aspect or another, but comic in the gentle way, artfully drawn and entertaining.

When I first started the novel, I thought "wait a second, you can't expect me to..." but as soon as I let go and was subsumed by the story line, I enjoyed every page.

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