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The Saboteur

The Saboteur, September 2017
by Andrew Gross

Minotaur Books
416 pages
ISBN: 1250079519
EAN: 9781250079510
Kindle: B01N9X5YA9
Hardcover / e-Book
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"A Superb, Spine-tingling Thriller Based on a True Story"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Saboteur
Andrew Gross

Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted August 24, 2017

Thriller Spy | Thriller Historical

It is March 1942, and an elite group of Norwegian resistance fighters along with the SOE -- the Special Operation Executive, a very hush-hush division of the British Secret Services -- is to combine their efforts to stop the Nazis from winning the race to the atom bomb. Norway is the premier producer of heavy water, and the plant at Vemork has the capacity to manufacture the quantity the Nazis need to make the bomb, and Hitler would win the war.

Outside of Norway, little is known about this important act of sabotage and the Norwegian resistance, whose contribution to the WWII effort remains largely unsung. While I was aware of the particular events related in THE SABOTEUR, I did not know the particulars, and even though this book is a fictionalized account of this daring mission, Andrew Gross sticks mostly to the facts and THE SABOTEUR can be viewed as a painless way to learn about a turning point in modern history. Mr. Gross does an outstanding job of weaving what must have been an inordinate amount of research into a cohesive and nail-biting story, where danger lurks at every corner be it in the form of the Gestapo, the local collaborators, or the harsh Norwegian landscape and weather where the heavy water plant is located. The author based the fictional Kurt Nordstrum on Kurt Haukelid's account of the actual story, among other sources.

The nearly impossible mission is extensively detailed, and far from being boring, every detail is enlightening and enthralling as the men, who numbered fewer than a dozen, risk their lives to thwart the enemy's plan. Ms. Gross writing is unadorned, as befitting the narrative, but still very eloquent as every nerve-racking moment is brought to life. I found interesting that, although THE SABOTEUR is a work of fiction, Mr. Gross chose to preserve the real names of most of the featured players, thereby honoring the heroes' memories. There was one character I suspected was fictional from the start, and I felt this was a bit self-indulgent from the part of the author as this detracted from a real hero's accomplishment; on the other hand, two fictional characters that appear towards the end were a lovely addition as I felt it added a touch of whimsy to a trivial news item. I commend Andrew Gross for crafting an exciting thriller while taking nary a historical liberty, and I can hardly wait to see what the immensely talented Andrew Gross has in store for us in the future.

Learn more about The Saboteur

SUMMARY

Based on the stirring true story, The Saboteur is Andrew Gross’s follow-up to the riveting historical thriller, The One Man. A richly-woven story probing the limits of heroism, sacrifice and determination, The Saboteur portrays a hero who must weigh duty against his heart in order to single-handedly end the one threat that could alter the course of World War II.

February, 1943. Both the Allies and the Nazis are closing in on attempts to construct the decisive weapon of the war.

Kurt Nordstrum, an engineer in Oslo, puts his life aside to take up arms against the Germans as part of the Norwegian resistance. After the loss of his fiancée, his outfit whittled to shreds, he commandeers a coastal steamer and escapes to England to transmit secret evidence of the Nazis’s progress towards an atomic bomb at an isolated factory in Norway. There, he joins a team of dedicated Norwegians in training in the Scottish Highlands for a mission to disrupt the Nazis’ plans before they advance any further.

Parachuted onto the most unforgiving terrain in Europe, braving the fiercest of mountain storms, Nordstrum and his team attempt the most daring raid of the war, targeting the heavily-guarded factory built on a shelf of rock thought to be impregnable, a mission even they know they likely will not survive. Months later, Nordstrum is called upon again to do the impossible, opposed by both elite Nazi soldiers and a long-standing enemy who is now a local collaborator—one man against overwhelming odds, with the fate of the war in the balance, but the choice to act means putting the one person he has a chance to love in peril.


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