While the historical material fascinates, it’s the memorable characters that power the story. Brandon's own repressed trauma as a former prisoner-of-war hurts his marriage with Margie, who resents him for not keeping their sons from enlisting, while Margie's narrative of seeking independence and eventually coming to terms with Brandon is the emotional heart, reflecting the ways in which war shatters lives away from the field of battle. Schumacher is not a dedicated Nazi, but threats to his family rope him into the assassination plot.
The eventual convergence of the three men leads in some unusual directions, as Brandon shows mercy to Schumacher. While the pacing is slow at the beginning of the book, the time Lewis spends on his characters pays off when the pace picks up and the reader is fully invested. The result is a thrilling example of historical fiction that's grounded in fact but never forgets that it's the characters who ultimately drive history.
Takeaway: Fans of World War II thrillers will delight in Lewis’s research and characterization.
Great for fans of: William Martin’s December '41, Howard Blum’s Night of the Assassins.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-