Alfred Mendl counts down his final days within the confines of a hell on earth. His family was torn away from him on arrival, his life’s work was burned before his eyes. Now his only joy comes from watching the occasional game of chess. To the guards he is unassuming, but in fact Mendl – a leading physicist – holds knowledge that only two people in the world possess. The other person is working hard for the Nazi war machine.
Four thousand miles away. . .
In Washington DC, intelligence lieutenant Nathan Blum decodes messages from occupied Poland. Having escaped the Krakow ghetto after the Nazis executed his family; Nathan thinks he has a safer future. But the US government has other ideas. They want to send Nathan back to Europe to rescue one man from a place no one can break in to – or out of.
But even if Nathan does make it in, how on earth will they make it out alive?
The major challenge while reading historical fiction is to distinguish between history and fiction. While the challenge of writing the same is to connect both. Andrew Gross has succeeded in bridging the connection between history and fiction in such a way that more or less every incident looked true.
For example: Straus’s meetings with President Roosevelt and other dignitaries. I had to literally Google the names to know which is real and which is created. Finally while I read the author’s note only,the reality and fiction could be distinguished. We have read several stories, in fact truths about the cruelties against Jews during the WW2. Being an individual from another era, I haven’t given much thought about this but fictional adaptation of the dark years brings forth the realization in all readers.
The classes between Mendl and Leo were a bit confusing for someone who is not much into Electromagnetic physics. From the moment Blum sets out on his mission, it is literally impossible to put down the book. Blum’s soliloquy while weighing the chances of being quote echoes in the kind of the readers. A lot of homework has been invested in character portrayal, which enabled the readers to have a three dimensional image of the characters. There were quite a lot of characters and since the story is so engaging and since the names were difficult to comprehend, sometimes I forgot who is who. A character glossary could have been added in the end.
The climax was , well, I can’t explicitly say but I would say, lingering with me for hours and may be continue to be so for days but I wanted it to be different.
Overall the book is just amazing. I recommend the book to all thriller lovers.
Reviewed for the publisher
complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I waas not required to write
a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
About the author