It is early 1945 and Nazi Germany, reeling under the relentless onslaught of the Allied armies, looks to futuristic superweapons like jet fighters, V-1 buzz bombs, and V-2 rockets for its salvation.
But Peter Miller, an analyst at the headquarters of the Office of Strategic Services in Washington D.C., learns of a secret Nazi weapons project that may pose a far greater threat: the Black Gate.
Sent alone on a perilous mission into the heart of Germany in the guise of an SS officer, Peter discovers that Nazi scientists have recreated an ancient machine that opens a portal to another universe, a gate they believe literally leads to Hell.
With the help of Mina Hass, a beautiful woman who is also the lover and confidant of the madman leading the project, Peter must find a way to close the gate forever before the Nazis unwittingly unleash Armageddon…
Review 4 of 5 Stars
I wasn’t feeling well yesterday and I chose Michael R. Hicks’ new book, The Black Gate, to keep me company. I always read a few reviews before I purchase a book and I saw several that mentioned they did not like this book as much as the In Her Name series and therefore gave it a lower rating. I prefer to rate the book based on its own merits rather than the merits of another series so that is how I’m going to handle it. I will mention here that the In Her Name series is one of my favorite new series. In fact I re-read the whole thing after reading the most recent installment. What does that have to do with this book you may ask. Not much really, aside from that series is the reason that I follow Michael R. Hicks and found out about this book. On with the job at hand.
The Black Gate was a really fun read. I very much got that Indiana Jones feel from it, but somewhat darker. There is a lot going on in this book and Hicks has managed to somehow wrap it all together to achieve a story that was pretty fun to read. Peter Miller is a really good character and I easily found myself looking at things from his point of view. From the time Peter Miller starts out on his adventure until the end it is pretty much an action-packed ride. I very much got the feel of the old Saturday matinée shows they used to show on TV.
As a description think Indiana Jones type relic meets Stargate, with some serious coordinate problems, and bring along the Nazis to try to take over the world with super soldiers. There you have it. A really fun ride with lots of action. Hicks does a good job building the back story for the gate through Peter Miller’s investigations. He created a history and mystery for creating the relic instead of just digging it out of the ground as we find so often. All in all I really enjoyed this book. There were some strange errors in it grammatically/typographically where it almost looked like track changes had been used and the author chose both words to describe what was going to happen (e.g., stepped onto/walked off – that kind of thing, but not those exact words). That was kind of strange and caused me to pause when I found those places, but there were only a few of them. I only mention them because they brought me out of the story to think about the language.
I’m not going to say this is high literature or anything, but I really had fun reading this book. It’s not at all like the In Her Name series or the Season of the Harvest series. I think that’s fantastic. I like to see a writer stretch their mental muscles so to speak. I don’t know if I would be up for a whole series about this, but it was definitely a good standalone adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a good read that will give you a little of that 1940’s serial adventure feel then I think this will fit the bill. There’s a good story here. Some of it is easier to believe than other portions, but that makes me wonder about what could be and I enjoy that. The characters are interesting, believable and do their jobs in the story. I would especially recommend this book to those that love Indiana Jones or the 1940’s serial adventures, as mentioned above. All in all, a good reading day for me and I enjoyed it. I hope some of you may enjoy it too.