Stalag 17 meets the best of John Grisham in this tremendously exciting and moving new thriller about a murder trial inside a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. John Katzenbach has taken elements of his own father's history in such a camp, added a racial twist (the defendant is a black pilot, a member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen) and created a memorable adventure story that soars with hope and cries out to be filmed.
The first thing that former law student Tommy Hart does after his B-25 is shot down and he--the only survivor--is captured, is to fill out a form for the International Red Cross, telling his family he's alive and requesting, under "Special Items Needed," a copy of Edmund's Principles of Common Law. Amazingly, the book is waiting when he arrives at Stalag Luft Thirteen in the Bavarian woods. Hart soon puts it to good use, defending (with the help of two other prisoners, a former London barrister and a Canadian police detective) the prickly, proud Lieutenant Lincoln Scott when he is charged with killing a racist and corrupt fellow prisoner. The Nazis, especially a resident SS observer, have their own reasons for wanting the trial to be seen as a fair one, and it takes place against the backdrop of a planned mass escape. --Dick Adler
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John Katzenbach's best book so far. HART'S WAR may be a tale of a murder committed in bizarre circumstances, but on a deeper level it is a novel about honour and heroism. (Philip Caputo
HART'S WAR is that rare but delicious find - a book you hate to see come to an end. (Anita Shreve
A compelling read. Its portrayal of the tedium, suffering and occasional terror of prision life is impressive, while the courtroom scenes in particular are electrifying. (MORNING STAR
Katzenbach's seamless joining of investigative thriller and wartime adventure is brimming with detail and atmosphere that ought to catch next year's CWA jury's eye. (GLASGOW HERALD