Friday, March 5, 2010

The Furies, by Bill Napier

I have always been fascinated with World War II. Is it some morbid fasnication with one of the most manipulating regimes of all time? I don't know. But if you put a swastika on the cover, I'll give a look-see nearly everytime.

Book 2 of my old man's challenge.

The residents of a small Arizona reservation town die an nearly inexplicable death. The remains of what looks like a bomb have Nazi markings on them. The authorities must figure out if the weapon is really old Nazi ordinance, that no one has ever heard about before, or if militia rascists fabricated it hoping to avoid detection. While the FBI is working on the case, MI6 in London receives a letter with a seemingly mad collection of references alluding to the Arizona attack and threatening a repeat in downtown London. MI6 agent Jocelyn recruits a reluctant Lewis Sharp, a sometime Nazi historian, to help follow the possible WWII connection.

The author draws out two plotlines: the modern investigation, and the story about how the weapons were originally made. During the wartime segments, we follow Max Krafft, a former Wermacht-SS officer pulled from the Eastern Front to help develop a super secret biological weapon meant to bring the war to a successful end.

While the secret weapon's delivery system is fictional, there are plenty of elements of Nazi Germany that were drawn from real situations; the bizarre mix of government propoganda and advanced science, skewed racial views and industrial efficiency, murder and devotion to duty, all make for an institutionalized insanity.

Parents should note there is profanity, torture, sexual innuendos (though not as obvious as in a James Bond movie) and implied sexual encounters (you know it happens but thankfully, no details). Older teens could probably handle it and discussions about following one's conscience would be instructive.

Overall, an exciting story. I got through it in a day or so.

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