Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Deal With The Devil (Part 1)
Author: J. Gunnar Grey
Publisher: Astraea Press
Cover Art: Elaina Lee
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 286 Pages
Wehrmacht Major Faust has a dangerous secret: he likes England. But it’s May 1940 and his Panzers are blasting the British Army off Dunkirk’s beach, so he keeps his mouth shut even though it hurts. When the Waffen SS try to murder their English prisoners of war, Faust helps the POWs escape. Now it’s treason, with his neck on the line.
Then a friend gets him drunk, straps him into a parachute, and throws him out over Oxford during a bombing run. He’s quickly caught. Because he helped type the battle plan for the invasion of England, Faust cannot allow himself to be broken in interrogation. Two German armies depend on it. But every time he escapes, someone rapes and murders a woman and the English are looking for someone to hang. He’s risking disaster if he stays, someone else’s life if he runs, and execution by the Gestapo if he makes it home.
Major Stoner, professor turned British intelligence officer, sees three possibilities. Faust perhaps was joyriding in that bomber, as he claims. Or he’s on a reconnaissance mission for the German invasion. Or he’s a spy. Stoner must break Faust to learn the truth, no matter how it strains his old heart. He must save England, and his granddaughter.
Their battlefield is confined to a desktop. Only one of them can win. Someone must break. Someone must make a Deal with the Devil.
If you were to come into my house and look at my bookshelves, you would find exactly one historical fiction. It's one that I bought as a teenager because it was based on the true life story of a young girl kidnapped by Comanche Indians in the 1800's and adopted into their tribe. Needless to say that historical fiction, even though I love history, doesn't seem to be a genre that I typically read. And the world war two era...even less so. You will find nothing from that era on my bookshelves. If I'm being honest, I was actually dreading reading these books a little. I didn't think they would hold my interest. Boy, was I ever wrong!
Faust, the captured German soldier, must run the gambit between not committing treason and giving the British enough to save his own neck from being stretched during the interrogation sessions he has with Major Stoner. The problem is, he happens to like the British. He likes England, their customs, their refinement and, in particular, he likes his interrogator and his oldest granddaughter.
He is wounded and not dealing with a completely clear head. He is afraid that he is going to slip up, or maybe that he already has. After convincing himself that he is required to at least attempt escape, he takes his every opportunity to do so. That opens the door to other problems presenting themselves. Each time he attempts escape, he not only re-injures himself, but a young girl is also brutally murdered. Naturally, he is the prime suspect. And the first victim is someone close to the situation, making his predicament that much more precarious than it already was.
The amount of research that had to go into this novel astounds me. It's easy to tell just by reading it how well researched it is, even without your own knowledge of the era. The knowledge accumulated, and passed on, is simply amazing. The twists and turns in the plot are well thought out and well executed. The head games the two lead characters play with each other is fun to follow but also enough to make you stop and think. You can never be completely sure if the word play is based on animosity, respect, a means to an end for their country or the fact that they genuinely like each other and are enjoying, just a little bit, being pitted against one another. And usually, you're left trying to keep up and figure things out yourself. It definitely keeps you guessing.
For most people, thoughts of World War II engenders thoughts of Nazi's and concentration camps. This is not so with this book. Obviously, these things are going to be mentioned but it's not at all what you might imagine. Then, just as you are deeply engrossed in the story...it ends! Luckily for us, part two is already out so you won't have to wait to see what happens.
Part puzzle, part head game, part mystery and part suspense, this book kept me entertained for hours. I love puzzles. Definitely an author that is going on my "must read" list. I loved it and immediately started reading part two.