St. Martins Press - Minotaur Books
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Date Read: September 10, 2016
In this riveting historical thriller from New York Times bestselling author Andrew Gross, a US intelligence officer is sent into Auschwitz to help one man escape.
Poland. 1944. Alfred Mendl and his family are brought on a crowded train to a Nazi concentration camp after being caught trying to flee Paris with forged papers. His family is torn away from him on arrival, his life’s work burned before his eyes. To the guards, he is just another prisoner, but in fact Mendl—a renowned physicist—holds knowledge that only two people in the world possess. And the other is already at work for the Nazi war machine.
Four thousand miles away, in Washington, DC, Intelligence lieutenant Nathan Blum routinely decodes messages from occupied Poland. Having escaped the Krakow ghetto as a teenager after the Nazis executed his family, Nathan longs to do more for his new country in the war. But never did he expect the proposal he receives from “Wild” Bill Donovan, head of the OSS: to sneak into the most guarded place on earth, a living hell, on a mission to find and escape with one man, the one man the Allies believe can ensure them victory in the war.
Bursting with compelling characters and tense story lines, this historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely new and compelling.
This was a different kind of story. One that I really could not have imagined. I have read quite a few books written or co-written by Andrew Gross so I thought that I knew what to expect when I picked up this book but I was completely wrong. This book was so much more. I would have never even dreamed that a fictional mission set in such a vivid and horrible historical event could have even worked...but it did.
This story is set during World War II with the majority of the book taking place inside Auschwitz. Despite the fact that this was a fictionalized story, there were parts of this book that were hard to read because of how realistic it was. There were moments in the book that honestly made my heart hurt. I thought that the parts of the story where we were really in the head of Alfred were some of the most powerful and emotional.
Nathan Blum is a Jewish man who left Poland and now lives in the United States. He has been working in military intelligence but he is offered a very dangerous mission. The military wants him to go into Auschwitz and escape with one very important man. He agrees even though the odds are completely against him. Nathan proves to be not only incredibly brave but also very resourceful as he proceeds with his mission.
Alfred has no idea that anyone may be trying to help him escape. He does know that he has very important knowledge that needs to be shared with the world. He meets a younger prisoner, Leo, who he feels is capable of learning and sharing this information when he is gone. The men form a bond as they spend time with each other and we do spend time with each of them at the camp.
This was one of those stories that I really wasn't sure how things would end. I was really nervous as Nathan tried to complete his task at the camp. So many things could go wrong and they often did. There were a few complications and twists that I didn't see coming. This ended up being a heartbreaking and exciting story.
I would recommend this book to others. I think that Andrew Gross did a fantastic job of creating a exciting mission inside of a well known historical event. I have enjoyed his work in the past but with this book, I think he has moved on to a whole new level. I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
I received an advance review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
About the Author
Andrew Gross is the author of the New York Times and international bestsellers Everything to Lose, No Way Back, 15 Seconds, Eyes Wide Open, Reckless, Don't Look Back, The Dark Tide, and The Blue Zone. He is also coauthor of five number one bestsellers with James Patterson, including Judge & Jury and Lifeguard. His books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. His latest novel, The One Man, is a World War II thriller coming August 23, 2016 from Minotaur Books.