My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a powerful story of the resilience of the human spirit during times of atrocity and how ultimately our choices define us. Neil Reuter is an American who fought during the Great War and has since been employed by the War Department to carry out assassinations of enemies of the state. He has recently lost his wife, Emilee, and his unborn child to murder. Grieving and wondering what the point is of his wayward life, he receives a letter from his best friend and war buddy, Jakey. To make matters worse, Jakey has been killed overseas. Jakey entrusts Neil with an important mission: of transporting dozens of Jewish childish and their caretakers to Palestine and safety from Europe.
It’s 1938, and the Nazis are gaining power by the day, and war looms on the horizon. Neil accepts the mission, believing it will give him a purpose and something worthwhile to do, but getting to the children will prove a huge challenge. What plays out is a masterfully crafted story of survival, espionage, battle of wills, and a race against the powers that wish to stop Neil, including crazed and corrupt War Department leader Preston Lord and SS leader Anton Aying, two men who are guilty of horrific crimes.
In the midst of Neil’s journey, he encounters more death, more hatred, but also romance and hope. The further I got into the story, to more the thrill of the tale swept me into its pages. I couldn’t stop reading. But it wasn’t only needing to know what happens next that got to me. Many of the characters came alive. I wept with them. I cheered with them. Also for them. This story may be fiction, but its basis is on fact. Not so long ago in our history, events like this occurred, and those who endured those days are to be remembered, honored, and admired…and never forgotten.
It’s clear that the author has a clear grasp of history and military knowledge. What’s clearer is that often during the most harrowing of circumstances, such of World War II, some of the best stories of courage and dignity shine. Chuck Driskell knows how to weave such a tale.