The Turn Of The Tide by Alan Jones – Review.

About The Book

The Turn of the Tide is the third book in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

As Hitler’s greed turns eastwards to the fertile and oil rich Soviet heartlands, life for the Kästner and the Nussbaum families disintegrates and fragments as the Nazis tighten the noose on German and Polish Jews. Implementing Endlösung der Judenfrage, the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Problem’, Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich and Eichmann plan to have Germany, and Europe, Judenrein, ‘cleansed of Jews’.

General Erich Kästner, increasingly alone, fights a losing battle to protect his friends, and their fellow Jews, putting himself and his family in jeopardy.

As the tide of war turns, he looks anxiously to the Soviets in the east, and to the Western Allies, desperately hoping, despite his patriotism, that Germany is defeated before there are no Jews left in the countries occupied by the Third Reich.
When an assassination attempt on Hitler and his henchmen fails, Erich Kästner himself comes under the scrutiny of the Gestapo, and his own survival, and that of his family, becomes uncertain.

As the war draws to an end, with Germany in ruins, time is running out for the Kästners and the Nussbaums…

My Review

The Turn Of The Tide, book three in the Sturmtaucher series, is one I have been trying to read for a year. But with the length of it I knew I had to set aside quite a lot of reading time and I’m not very good at reading more than one book at a time. 

It is a series where you really need to read them all in order. The storyline concerns three families whose lives are connected throughout the three books, and whilst not confusing they are complex. But despite the gap in reading it didn’t take me long to remember who was who and probably more importantly what they had done.

This book mainly takes place in the last few years of the war and the months after. It shows Franz and Johann as POWs in Scotland, Ruth and Manny living with a family on the Isle of Man and then in London with both of them determined to support the British and in Manny’s case get revenge. It shows Erich and the remaining members of the Kastner family in Germany, trying to survive and still showing differing views on war. And it also chillingly shows the ruthless obsession shown by members of the Gestapo and their refusal to back down in their pursuit of Erich.

Whilst the ending of the war is described in detail, much of the novel shows the attempts by many to get answers about loved ones. I could see clearly their devastation that all felt over their city being destroyed and seeing the horror of people picking through the rubble that used to be their homes. The author showed that there were more than the main characters who were searching, all hoping that they would find out one way or another. I can’t even begin to imagine how many never found out. The most emotional parts of this novel, for me, was knowing exactly what happened to their families or friends but those looking didn’t. 

I learned more about the war from this book than anything else I have read or watched on TV. Many of the characters weren’t military, they were just normal people whose lives had been torn apart by the actions of leaders. How many were brainwashed, or chose to believe because it was easier. 

Heartbreaking, horrifying and original. Highly recommended.

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