Flight Of The Shearwater by Alan Jones – Review.

About The Book

Flight of the Shearwater: Book 2 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy,a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

With Poland divided between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Union of Soviet Republics, the increasingly confident Third Reich flexes its military muscles northwards into Denmark and Norway, while the rest of Europe watches anxiously over its shoulders.

General Erich Kästner, in his key role in the Abwehr, is fast becoming aware of the mass expulsion of Jews and other minority groups from Germany and from northern Poland, to the new ghettos of the Generalgouverment area of southern Poland, and has an inkling of what the National Socialists’ have in mind for Europe’s Jews.

As Holland and Belgium fall, and the British are routed at Dunkirk, barely escaping across the channel, the seemingly impregnable France collapses under the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg, sealing the fate of millions of Jews, now trapped under Hitler’s rule.

The Nussbaums, thwarted in their attempts to escape to Denmark, desperately seek other routes out of Germany but, one by one, they are closed off, and they realise they have left it all too late…

My Review

Flight of the Shearwater is the second book in The Sturmtaucher trilogy and I would recommend that you read the books in order. These books are very long, but they need to be, this was a shameful period in history that was so harrowing with the politics, pain, cruelty and acceptance of all of it by many. Anything less would feel like the events were being glossed over.

Whilst there is continuing focus on Erich, Yosef and Miriam, this novel also concentrates on some of the younger members of both families. You get to see the horror and guilt that both Franz and Johann feel when they realise what they have become involved in as part of the German army and the turmoil faced by Ruth and Manny when they have to leave behind their parents and overcome danger hoping for safety. 

Sadly, it also had to focus on some of the characters who believed in Hitler and everything he stood for. Maria, Eva and the female members of the once friendly Bohm family all made me cringe as I read. I found it fascinating but I was also increasingly upset by the attitudes and the amount of venom displayed. Especially when I read how Maria had no remorse or compassion for her former friends. I found their attitudes had more of an impact on me than the Gestapo and their determination to find out what was happening with the Kästners and Nussbaums on their sea trip. 

The novel is extremely detailed, with historical facts and the complexity of the early years of the war. The author shows how everyday people were duped by propaganda and the insider bulletins about how the Jewish community were being cut off and what the plans for them were. I was aware of certain aspects but I also learned a lot. I had no idea about the amount of control Germany had over Northern Europe, that there was a Jewish community on the Isle of Man or where any of the prisoner of war camps were in the UK.

I am happy that the third book in the series is available to read. I plan on reading it as soon as possible, I need to know what happens  to all of the people who feature in this outstanding series.

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