This novel engaged me from the first page to the last. Though the book weighs in at 175,000 words--three times as long as an ordinary novel--I never felt the work was too long. It certainly was never boring. I was impressed on every page by the author's broad and deep knowledge of both present-day and World War II era armaments and weapons systems. He integrated an enormous array of highly technical information into a story that could go toe to toe with anything by Tom Clancy--and win, hands down. As might be expected in a story drawing heavily from the techno-thriller genre, characters are mostly throw-away, one-dimensional creations. But one does not read a story of this type for the characters. Technology bristles on every page of this novel. In less capable hands, the weaponry would serve merely as a catalogue of the author's vast knowledge. Even in the capable hands of someone of the stature of Tom Clancy, stories can become bogged down in technical details that are difficult to make sense of. Mr. Breit somehow avoids both problems in this novel, creating a story that is as compelling as I have read.
I normally reserve accolades such as these for five-star novels. This novel, unfortunately, is not among the few books I have granted a perfect score. If I read a book only for plotting and integration of far-flung bits of technical savvy and historical erudition, this book would certainly earn five stars. However, this novel suffers a most noticeable deficiency in editing. Though I have to applaud Mr. Breit--a native German--for his command of the English language, the quality of his writing does not meet the standards I expect in an engaging novel. Rather than `esprit de corps', I read `esprit the corps'. Words of just slightly incorrect meaning were often used, as in "It was one of those seldom moments when the world and Moritz Dierke were in the balance." An experienced wordsmith would probably render the previous sentence as "It was one of those rare moments when the world and Moritz Dierke were in balance." Frequently used phrases included `everything but', as in "The Second Operation's Officer was everything but a superstitious man" or "The picture emerging from these reports was everything but encouraging." Interrogatives were frequently used in statements, such as in this example: "With how cheap, reliable, and superior in quality digital radio communications was nowadays even the poorest of..." Again, an experienced wordsmith would remove the interrogative, engineering a simpler yet more substantive statement: "With the superior quality of modern digital radio communications, even the poorest of..." Phrases were repeated, to the point of becoming an assault on the eyes, and removing the reader from the story. Hitler "sported" a unique moustache. A destroyer "sported" damages, an admiral "sported" red hair, and so on, several dozen times through the book. If I had seen the word "sported" in the last ten pages of the novel, I probably would have docked this novel to three stars.
This book needs heavy editing, and I hope Mr. Breit will have the work done quickly. He has created a novel that could become an Amazon bestseller and even 2015's biggest movie of the year, but it's not going to happen until the novel meets minimum standards of composition. In all other respects, this novel is one of the best I have read this year, and I recommend it to any interested in a fast-paced action-adventure story of the first rate.
Review by: Pearson of Sift Book Reviews
Sift Book Reviews received a free copy for review from the author. This has, in no way, affected the reviewer's opinion.