3 out of 4 stars
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Major Dieter, Captain Heinz, and Lieutenant Gustav are German Nazis who imprison and labor the Jews in concentration camps. The soldiers escape from these camps to evade capture and execution by the Russian army. The Russians don't care for fair trials. They execute! These three military men assume new identities, blend in with the Jews, and gain their entry into the camps for Displaced Persons (DP) located in the American zone. These camps serve as a conduit to the final destination, which is Palestine. In Palestine, they plan to fulfill Hitler's promise that he made to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. They will team up with the Arabs to annihilate the Jews. The Nazis and Arabs share a common hatred for Jews.
Enter Lee Haber, a young American soldier, who retires from active service. Due to his writing prowess, he gets a job offer to become a reporter for the International Herald Tribune. His job is to cover post-war situations in the DP camps spread across the American zone in Germany. Work is smooth until he notices a disturbing pattern. Someone is leaving a trail of dead bodies as they go. Who is doing this? Is there a story that connects these bodies? Who's the next to die? Read Escape! by Ivy Kenneth Blecher to find out.
This book is a description of the chaos that Europe and the Middle East represented in the 1940s. A beautifully narrated historical fiction ladened with facts. If you don't know your history very well, you may not be able to separate fact from fiction. Yet I'm not surprised, as the author is a historian, and she made a lot of research before writing this book. I give the author thumbs up for effortlessly creating a thorough blend of fact and fiction. The book has a depth that drew me in and kept me glued until the last page. It was with sadness that I waved goodbye to Lee Haber. I love this novel.
For the most part, the story was narrated through Lee Haber, the reporter. At other times, the story was narrated in the third person. The dialogues were clear and interesting, even though the author digressed a lot. I loved that the main players had backstories to help the readers know them better. The author lets us into the minds of the characters. We also get to see ahead and know who did what. The readers are now injected with some tension, as they follow the characters' journeys to discovery. I found myself having a profound respect for the villain. Anyone who can hide in plain sight isn't to be joked with. We get to see the roles that America and Britain played in the war between the Arabs, Nazis, and the Jews. The plot is akin to a chess game. It's played with wit, resilience, mental alertness, secrecy, and alliances. Top it with a sprinkle of romance, and we have Escape!
I rate Escape! by Ivy Kenneth Blecher three out of four stars. I took off one star because of the following reasons. Firstly, the author wasn't consistent with the characters' names and confused me in the process. Character familiarity begins with the name of the player. The author uses a character's first name somewhere and uses the character's last name elsewhere. I opine that after the author introduces the players, he should choose one name per player and stick with them throughout the book. Secondly, I came across a ton of non-English words that had no explanations. Also, there were grammatical problems. They include missing words, wrong spellings, punctuations, and homophones. This indicates that the book wasn't professionally edited.
I recommend this book to lovers of history, war, and politics. However, if you can't stand murder, bombings, and war in general, you may not want to read this book.
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