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Blood of the Reich

by bdietrich on May 10, 2011

Published June 28, 2011

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In 1938, Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler sends a team of Nazi scholar-warriors to Tibet in search of a legendary energy force that will help Germany conquer the world.

In present-day Seattle, software publicist Rominy Pickett is shadowed in a Safeway store by a handsome but mysterious stranger who tackles her  just before her car blows up.

Back in 1938 New York, museum zoologist Benjamin Hood is recruited by the American government to intercept his old colleague and enemy Kurt Raeder on the Tibetan plateau.

These are the story threads that will come together in a shattering modern climax at the CERN supercollider, or atom smasher, outside Geneva. This is a novel that hurtles the reader around the world, with Japanese strafing attacks, Communist bandits, a German SS castle, a lost city, and an abandoned cabin and mine in Washington’s Cascade Mountains.

The central link is 29-year-old Rominy, an innocent dragged into a monstrous plot because she holds the future of the world in her veins.

This stand-alone novel is an obvious break from my Ethan Gage series of adventures set in Napoleonic times. The idea for the story began when I read non-fiction accounts of a real 1938 Nazi expedition to Tibet, its purpose debated to this day. Then I learned of Tibetan legends of the lost city of Shambhala, reports of mysterious Tibetan powers, and tied it to modern theories of  dark energy and dark matter.

It helped that the Nazis had their own theories about mysterious energy sources, including a black sun at the center of the earth and a power called Vril. They also believed Germans were descendants of a mysterious and heroic past in which Aryans were related across continents. Some even thought that their ancestors originally came from the stars and all history is a battle between fire and ice. Himmler was particularly obsessed with weird science, and his own belief that he was a reincarnation of an ancient German king.

Truth, in short, is at least as strange than fiction.

This is a book different in tone from my Ethan Gage series: more tension, less humor, and a constant quest for identity. Are people really who say they are? Who can be trusted? Are some groups “chosen”? It explores the Nazi ideas of social Darwinism, and our own era of disunity and tribalism.

Like the Ethan Gage series, “Blood of the Reich” is set in exotic places. I journeyed to Tibet to research the story. Berlin’s Gestapo headquarters, Himmler’s SS castle, Tibet’s Potala Palace, the North Cascades wilderness, and Geneva’s CERN supercollider are all real.

This is also a story of individual courage. Benjamin Hood, his aviatrix companion Beth Calloway, Rominy Pickett, and Sam Mackenzie all face daunting challenges as the ingenuity and reach of a neo-Nazi movement becomes apparent. Can they grapple with implacable evil?

I think “Blood of the Reich” is my most exciting, evocative book yet. Hope you agree!


“I don’t miss a William Dietrich book—and neither should you. Blood of the Reich showcases his best skills, marrying riveting historical set pieces to a modern, taut thriller. Evocative and deadly, bloody and harrowing, this book left me breathless and churning through the last pages until its jaw-dropping climax. Not to be missed.”
—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Colony

Blood of the Reich is something new for William Dietrich. A foray into the modern world of the international thriller—loaded with secrets, conspiracies, action, adventure—but with all of the rich scope and history we’ve come to expect from a Dietrich book. Clearly, this one has it all, along with a super ending and a satisfying ‘so what’ to the historical web from which the tale is so skillfully woven. Top-notch entertainment.”
—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Jefferson Key

“Verdict: Dietrich has created a wonderful web of intrigue, using history, vibrantly depicted settings, and great character development that leaves the reader unsure of whom to trust until the very end. Fans of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and other thrilling tales of historic and scientific adventure will definitely add this to their holds list.”
— Cynde Suite, Library Journal

“A master at blending accurate historical fact with fictitious love and war storytelling. . . . For readers who find history books dull and dry, Dietrich has the antidote.”
Seattle Times

“Plenty of chases, deadly confrontations, and startling revelations keep the pages turning.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Told in alternating chapters – past and present – the story is at once a fast-paced historical adventure and a gripping modern-day thriller. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a gripping yarn.”
—David Pitt, Booklist

“It’s quite a ride, filled with surprises, and not to be missed.”
—Hilary Williamson, Bookloons Reviews

“A great gripping thriller that will be on the year’s short lists for action packed adventure tales.”
—Harriet Klausner, Mystery Gazette

“Rise of the Reich thrillers are still the best. This is among the top.”
—Terry Collins, Tulsa World

“A barnstorming novel that sets its sights high and never fails to deliver…It would make one hell of a great film.”
—Ron Fortier, New York Journal of Books

“True to form, many of the facts Dietrich peppers in this gripping read relate to real-life events, and the author traveled the world to make what he had to say as authentic as possible…It’s part of what makes what the writer has to say all the more compelling.”
—Amy Kepferle, Cascadia Weekly

“With cruel Nazi scientists, mysterious Tibetan nuns, a ne’er-do-well ex-pat tour guide, a fearless female pilot, chases, deceptions and romance, it adds up to an absorbing read.”
—Sara Holahan, Skagit Valley Herald

“The history and plotting are excellent and all the elements of a fine thriller are present. Fans of this genre of novel will love this book.”
—Mystery One Bookstore, Milwaukee

“With writing that is thoughtful and vivid, a plot highlighting historical facts, a nod to legend and a touch of quantum physics, this Indiana Jones-type story should please a broad spectrum of readers.”
—Joyce Morgan, Romantic Times Book Reviews

“A rip-snorting, intricately plotted thriller that never lets up…death-defying excitement, exotic locations, love stories, and soaring music (er, writing, that is) carry the day.”
—Kristin Hannum, Historical Novels Review

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