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[Book Review] "The East Wind" by Storm Erickson

1942. Nazi Germany. An American physicist of German birth joins Allied Intelligence to penetrate the Third Reich.

By Meg IlsleyPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
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SYNOPSIS:

The year is 1942, Robert Mann, a brilliant young American physicist of German birth, joins Allied Intelligence. When the assassination of a top Nazi official presents OSS and MI-6 with a rare chance to penetrate the Third Reich, Robert volunteers.

His cover survives one nerve-racking encounter after another as he infiltrates Hitler's atom bomb program. Then comes the ultimate test: entry into the home of Effi Zell-wife of Christoph Zell-the man Robert is impersonating. Tension builds toward a crescendo, then collapses as Christoph and Effi fall in love. Their torrid affair morphs into a man-woman resistance team. Again, the tension builds...

Robert and Effi perfect the art of deception on their perilous journey toward sabotage.

Their goal: to deny Hitler the nuclear weapon that will decide the outcome of World War II. But a new threat of blown cover forces Robert to accept a pivotal role in the bomb's final stage of development.

The result: an American spy creates the world's first atomic weapon-for Germany. If Robert cannot "defuse" the bomb, he will have dealt London and Allied armies a fatal blow. He has decided that life is not worth living without Effi. But he cannot contrive an escape until he destroys the monster he has created. Robert faces dilemmas and challenges of historical proportion.

Whether he succeeds is a question whose answer the reader will demand to know.

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

PUBLISHED: September 24, 2023

RECEPTION: Positive (5.0 on Amazon; 4.40 on Goodreads)

CONTENT WARNINGS: WWII setting (and all that entails)

REVIEW:

Disclaimer: I received a free physical copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own and are not in any way influenced by the author, publisher, or others involved in its creation.

The East Wind is a story set in 1942, three years before the end of World War II, and follows physicist Robert Mann as he navigates the ups and downs of infiltrating the Third Reich and Hitler's atomic bomb program. The story is slow in the beginning, but it does a good job at introducing all the major players (though several names were easy to forget as there were so many of them); if you have any basic knowledge of World War II, some of the names may even be familiar (such as Goebbels and Himmler, for example). In short, The East Wind is an interesting and captivating take on World War II; it will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering if something will go wrong, wondering when the next bad thing will happen, wondering who will come out of it alive.

Where I think this story could improve is in the pacing. The East Wind is not the kind of story for those who like to be constantly hit over the head with action. There is a lot of political manouevring and it can be hard to keep straight at times. Similarly, a lot of the names blend together after a while, and unless they are names from the real world, they can be easy to forget. Often, I found myself having to remember who a person was and what their role was in the story. That being said, I do not think it took away from the story so drastically that it makes it a bad one; if you are a fan of historical fiction, political intrigue, and World War II, then you'll find something to love.

Robert Mann is a deeply flawed character which makes him very real (and makes it easy to forget, at times, that you're reading a world of fiction), and the aspects of World War II taken from the real world are exceptionally well researched. It is clear Frederickson loves what he does and has a desire to get things right, something that shows in every little detail - including descriptions of Nazi operatives and the underhanded way major players would act in order to get Hitler to do what they wanted. Similarly, Frederickson does an excellent job balancing the romantic subplot of the story with the overarching plot; it does not dominate the story, simply adding depth to the characters' arcs.

I would recommend approaching this story with caution if World War II is a sensitive subject for you, as appropriate detail has been paid to character reactions and propaganda (e.g., the Germans thinking Jews are inferior to them and are stealing their knowledge), which adds a layer of realism that almost turns this story into a thriller, but which may affect those who are sensitive to such subject matter. However, Frederickson does an excellent job making sure these instances are added for a purpose, and not just thrown in for the shock factor every other page, which is refreshing to see.

All in all, an excellent read and one I might return to for a reread in the future.

FINAL RATING: 4 stars; would recommend

PURCHASE: Available on amazon.ca, amazon.com, and in all major bookstores.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Storm Frederickson is the nom de plume of Thomas Kirkwood, an American author best known for his international thrillers. Kirkwood's works have been published by a number of companies, and movie rights and options have been acquired for his thrillers. Of life, Kirkwood has said “I’ve been fortunate, lucky perhaps. This creates an obligation to those who have fared less well. In the Western world there’s enough to go around. Make sure it does.”

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About the Creator

Meg Ilsley

Born in Australia, I moved to Canada in 2013 where I live with my four cats and two snakes. I have a Certificate in Creative Writing, am pursuing a Diploma of Graphic Design, and am an amateur author. Find me on Goodreads or Instagram.

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