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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (October 6, 2014)
I did not read the first book in this series, but that seems not to have been a problem as this one was thoroughly engrossing and a fine read. It is a meticulously crafted love and adventure story set in the waning months of World War II as the Allies are months from overcoming the Third Reich. The characters are soldiers and scientists from all over Europe and elsewhere.
- Kristofer "Kit", with his charming name and nickname, is a nuclear scientist anxious to escape with the plans for an atomic bomb, a loyal German who simply does not want the Nazis to get a hold of the weapon.
- Michel is a French Resistance fighter whose work to protect the plans for the bomb are complicated by his love for Kit and feeling the need to protect him.
- Matt is an American soldier sent to locate the plans and retrieve them for the Allies. He has nightmares about his house burning down and his family all being killed.
- Ken is a soldier traveling with Matt who is also in love with him.
- Liang is a British scientist with a Chinese father.
- Leo is a New Zealander RAF pilot who is shot down in the Black Forest.
Then there are several SS officers, a collection of women who are related to or in love with our boys, and several other people, from a young boy to a Resistance doctor. who step in either to help or screw up the four main characters' mission.
If I have any complaint it is the names. Kit and Ken. Matt and Max are just too close to keep track of, especially if one reads with one's ears, as do I. Luckily the women all have longer more diverse names and the Nazis are similarly disparately named. Thank heavens for Leo, is all I can say.
This is a wonderfully choreographed novel, nothing out of place, nothing wasted, and extremely entertaining and suspenseful. The characters are distinct, in spite of the names, and one cares for them and wants them to survive and succeed. It sounded to me like the time and places were all right on. The racial diversity of the group is certainly credible if a tad forced.
The reference to a "winter duet" is both clever and inventive and gives one an idea of the contents of a sequel.
And the good guys and bad guys all have white and black hats firmly affixed to the tops of their heads. Though as far as I am concerned, Leo is the real hero.