by Robert Conroy
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476780566
Date: 01 September 2015 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Germany is collapsing under the pressure of the Allied offensive, but there is a plan to hold on. One that might save the Reich from absolute defeat. Location is important, more important than might be imagined. A wide cast of characters tell of the end of this WWII.
As the Allied invasion of Europe continues, the last gasp attempt to break the Western Front fails. Hitler authorizes the deployment of people and materials to a location near the Swiss border. Hitler intends to stay in Berlin and go down in flames. There is a question as to who should be left in charge of the holdouts. There will be a struggle for power.
Captain Scott Tanner survives the destruction of his unit, but not without wounds. He fights to stay in the army. He succeeds and is sent to a new front, one that may be the end of him if he can't stay dry.
Staff Sergeant Billy Hill has a name you don't reverse. He will be working with Captain Tanner. He has skills that are of great use. Together they make a formidable pairing, one that is willing to do what it takes to win and overcome the deficiencies of their new unit.
Lena Bobekova is confined as a Jew. Nobody really knows if she is, but she is kept as a slave for a Party official. When the family is offered a slot in the redoubt, she learns her relative freedom will soon end. She needs to escape and find a way to fight back.
Joseph Goebbels is estranged from his wife, but loves his children. The opportunity to go to the special mountain redoubt, is a chance to avoid the poison which awaits to prevent capture. The truth of how effective the base will be is less than would be hoped for.
George Schafer was shot down, but he was lucky enough to land in Switzerland. But life there is boring. It is until he finds himself entangled with a beautiful woman and a spy ring.
There are a couple of other perspectives, but the above are the main ones. The perspectives limit knowledge to low level characters experiencing the action for the most part. The Alpine Redoubt is the last hope. One that is a tough nut to crack because of location. It is next to the Swiss border. The Swiss take bombing their territory very poorly. So the action begins with a slow dance with many careful steps.
The dance gets complicated by the lack of enthusiasm by the Allied leaders and the poor health of Roosevelt. Harry Truman is an unknown quantity as Vice President. He also has no idea of all of the plans that Roosevelt has going.
This is another good novel by Conroy. He continued to improve with each story. The action and pacing were very good. This is his typical multi POV novel. It's worth a read, as are many of his earlier works.
As was typical for Conroy, this is a standalone novel. There was enough story to fill one novel and fortunately it wasn't stretched to make another story. A little knowledge of WWII helps readers see the divergence, but there is an introduction that discusses the situation that is developed in the story.