Monday, February 10, 2014

Unhinge the Universe

Unhinge The Universe

by Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt

Give me one fixed point and a long enough lever, and I'll unhinge the universe. — Archimedes

December 1944 – The Battle of the Bulge

SS Lieutenant Hagen Friedrichs is the sole survivor of a party sent to retrieve his brother—and the highly sensitive information he’s carrying—from behind enemy lines. But his daring rescue attempt fails, and Hagen becomes the prisoner.

Allied command has ordered Captain John Nicholls to extract critical intelligence from their new Nazi POW. His secrets could turn the tide of the war, but are they real? John is determined to find out . . . and to shatter the prisoner who killed his lover during the attack on their tiny base. The deeper he digs, though, the more he realizes that the soldier under the SS uniform is just like him: a scared, exhausted young man who’s lost loved ones and just wants to go home.

As captor and captive form an unexpected bond, the lines quickly blur between enemy, friend, and lover. And as horrifying rumors spread from the front lines and American soldiers turn their sights on the SS for vengeance, John may be Hagen’s only hope for survival.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

There are certain things that I've come to expect from any book written by Aleksandr Voinov:
Historical settings with incredible attention to detail, characters that are unique and complex each in their own way, and the emotional impact of a battering ram.  This book was no exception.   I haven't read much by L.A. Witt, so that's probably why I can't 'hear' her voice as well as Aleksandr's.  They worked so well together that the story is as seamless as if it were written by one person.

The setting is France during the last year of World War II.  From what I've heard, Aleksandr is a WWII nut and it definitely shows.  I was drawn in immediately because of the attention to detail and the way the setting was described so vividly.  Everything from the uniforms, the weapons, the was written so perfectly that I could easily imagine being there.

What really made the book a five star read was the tension between characters who are so different on the outside but are really quite similar at the heart of things.  Their interactions are filled with a mixture of hatred, confusion, compassion, and longing.  John's interrogations and Hagen's reactions put so much psychological tension in the mix that I just couldn't put the book down.  I loved every bit of the story because it never let me stop feeling.  I was a big emotional mess until the end and I wanted to reread it as soon as I was done.  I could go on all day just trying to explain how much Unhinge the Universe made me feel.

I'm so happy that I was able to read this one.  Bravo, Mr. Voinov and Mrs. Witt.

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