1 out of 4 stars
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Hitler has seized power and delivered deadly blows to Great Britain. Britain is struggling to maintain a strong front, much less gain victory. They continuously send up RAF pilots in Spitfires to photograph various countrysides in the hope of spotting enemy facilities to target before it's too late. One such pilot manages to capture in a photo a rather strange-looking boat on a lake in the Bavarian countryside. Upon inspection, an in-training Photo Interpreter discovers the terrible truth about the object on the lake: it's a prototype for a vehicle that could carry troops, weapons, and supplies over water at a far greater speed than any other known craft. This boat must be destroyed at all costs, lest the British suffer a detrimental invasion.
Wolfgang's Castle by Rex W. Last promises a gripping, exciting tale full of suspense and action. Unfortunately, I did not find this book living up to that promise. While the subject matter and meat of the story have great potential, the poor execution and editing present a confusing, repetitive, wordy book that made me lose interest altogether by page 50. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre, so I was very disappointed at this wasted opportunity.
The worst thing about this book is the unnecessary repetition. I am talking about literal pages of exposition and background being re-stated later at the same length as on the original occasion. Not only did this pull me entirely out of the story, but it also severed any emotional connection to the given characters. The wordiness created this same effect. Much of the dialogue drips with unnecessary descriptives and long, drawn-out speeches that came across as tiresome and cringe-worthy. Most of the characters talk this way, which at least is annoyingly inaccurate for the time.
Another striking problem occurs at the one point in the story where there should be no messing around: the climax. The author chooses to begin with the pinnacle event and spend the next few chapters describing what certain characters did just prior, rather than writing the events in chronological order. This approach destroys any feeling of suspense, which I desperately craved after over 200 pages of uneventful reading.
My other complaints pertain to irrelevant subplots, unnecessarily sleazy sexual descriptions of women, nonexistent dialect changes from British to German, and laughably unrealistic scenarios. The history of Wolfgang's Castle receives a lengthy recount, yet it is not relevant to the plot or mentioned again. The author points out the sexism directed at WAACs, but then senselessly describes how one woman's breasts strain against her uniform shirt. When German and Englishmen speak to each other, both parties use English dialect and slang, confusing the reader. Finally, a scene in which a woman gets her nightgown torn off by getting it caught on something is just one example of some of the ridiculous scenarios described.
The only positives I enjoyed were the Glossary with definitions of British and German slang and the brief mentioning of Sherlock Holmes and Jane Eyre.
I rate this book 1 out of 4 stars, as I repeatedly had to stop reading out of frustration and boredom. If the author edited out all the fluff and wordiness, you would probably have a good, enjoyable book of fewer than 200 pages.
I do not recommend this book to any readers who enjoy this genre, as all the requirements for an exciting, suspenseful espionage story are blatantly absent.
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