The Witches of World War II

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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2023
TKO Studios, TKO Presents

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Description

Inspired by a true story, The Witches of World War II follows a coven of witches as they embark on a mission to help capture Adolf Hitler's second-in-command, Rudolf Hess.

This magic kills fascists! In the darkest hours of World War 2, Doreen Valiente, a junior intelligence officer, twenty years old and already a war widow, is approached by a British General who tells her he knows she’s a witch… and that’s how she can best serve her country.

Valiente, an expert on British folklore and the occult, is to use her connections in this peculiar community to recruit a group of British ‘magicians’ and use their “skills” to gain some advantage over the Nazi high command, who believe fervently “in all this occult rubbish.”

Together with Aleister Crowley, the self-proclaimed “Most Evil Man in the World” Valiente recruits a hard-nosed white witch Dion Fortune, the grizzled and gray-bearded founder of Wicca Gerald Gardner, and exorcist and con man in a turban Rollo Ahmed. Together this coven of witches will travel deep into the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe and gamble their lives, their beliefs, and their powers on a mission to help capture Rudolf Hess, fervent occultist, and second in command to Adolf Hitler himself.

Inspired by the incredible true story of the New Forest coven and Operation Cone of Power.

Inspired by a true story, The Witches of World War II follows a coven of witches as they embark on a mission to help capture Adolf Hitler's second-in-command, Rudolf Hess.

This magic kills fascists!...


A Note From the Publisher

Distributed by Simon & Schuster

Distributed by Simon & Schuster


Advance Praise

“Vengefully imaginative occult rewrite of wartime history, full of sharp knife twists, proving yet again that Cornell is a storyteller to cherish.” — Chuck Wendig


"Paul Cornell has foraged some highly-charged elements from the historical record - Aleister Crowley’s espionage claims and Dion Fortune’s psychic civil defense project - and brewed up something magickal.” — Matthew Sweet (BBC Journalist and author of The West End Front)

“Vengefully imaginative occult rewrite of wartime history, full of sharp knife twists, proving yet again that Cornell is a storyteller to cherish.” — Chuck Wendig


"Paul Cornell has foraged some...


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Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781952203183
PRICE $19.99 (USD)
PAGES 160

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Average rating from 62 members


Featured Reviews

"The Witches of World War Two," is a rollicking adventure told in graphic novel style. How do you defeat the Naziswhen conventional means are not available? The Occult is how and this is a great adventure that tells just that story.

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Paul Cornell takes on the not exactly virgin territory of what Britain's mystics got up to in the War, researching what has been said and what can be proven about Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente and Rollo Ahmed during that period, and then weaving a story which can't quite be disproven, mostly. After all, undercover work like this is just the sort of thing they might not have admitted to even in private, isn't it? The mood is quite Graham Greene, down at heel, unsure of itself - "Doubt is the most British thing of all!" - even as it faces the terrible certainty of the Nazis, with every magician also a confidence trickster to some extent, if only of themselves. The story remains studied in its ambivalence over whether magic is real, while also emphasising the extent to which that question feels irrelevant if the attendant practices and mindset get results. All of this, pleasingly, achieved without too much of the characters being forced into mouthpiece role, or at least not beyond what you'd expect given how much some of them loved the sound of their own voice. Valeria Burzo's art is often lively and characterful, occasionally prone to squidginess, though the most unconvincing bit of it is the sheer scale of Doreen's hairdo, and given the Doreen Valiente Foundation assisted Cornell with this, I bet that is in fact 100% accurate. Just for extra academic cred, there's an afterword from possibly the world's leading expert in witchy gubbins, Ronald Hutton.

(Netgalley ARC)

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This was really enjoyable! I loved the artwork, I loved all of the connections to occultism and how the story left you wondering. There were a few parts that left me a bit confused as far as the backstory and who was working with who, but that was my only real issue. Otherwise- beautiful work and wonderful story!

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Another of the first batch of approved books from NetGalley.

This graphic novel is written by the dark pen of Paul Cornell and wonderfully illustrated by Valeria Burzo, and takes us on a fanciful journey of a group of occultists recruited to play on the fact that Nazi High Command believes "in all this occult rubbish"

The story is loosely based on the true story of the New Forest Coven and Operation Cone of Power, and includes a ragtag group of occultists including Aleister Crowley, Doreen Valiente, and others in their bid to capture Rudolph Hesse a proponent of the Thule Society.

The story cracks along at a great pace weaving fact and fiction into a wondrous whole, with the illustrations supporting the mystical and prosaic but with a style that reminds me of some of the work in Hellboy comics by Mike Mignola whilst standing as their own.

Paul Cornell's storytelling comes to the fore making it a believable tale full of tension and build the characters well considering the short time he has to do so, I especially enjoyed the Crowley that inhabits these pages.

A great graphic novel well worth picking up.

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I love it when books take real historical events and add fictionalized elements to them. This story was very interesting, and I loved Doreen's character development throughout. I also like that by the end nobody confirms whether magic truly is real, whether Crowley was a con man or not. It was a fun, and interesting quick read.

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The Witches of World War II
(Paul Cornell, Valeria Burzo, Jordie Bellaire, TKO Studios, 2023)

This graphic novel has all the right ingredients to be a pulp hit, it's got witches, intrigue, and Nazi's getting beaten up. What more could you want from a graphic novel?

The story follows a group of witches and magicians working for British intelligence in the war against fascism. While this may sound rather outlandish, the book is very firmly built on the foundations of truth. As with all historical fiction, liberties have been taken but it certainly makes for a fun story.

The book is well paced, and we're given brief flashes of backstory, enough to give us understanding of motivations without grinding the story to a halt with exposition.

The artwork is of the traditional style for stories like this, not overly stylized, but certainly striking in places. A few panels stand out, especially during rituals and fighting.

The end of this edition also contains information on the very real people featured in story, and while they are less fantastical it does help us understand the truth, or lack of it, within the book.

Thank you to NetGallery for providing a preview copy of this book.

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