Oct 27, 2009

Night of Flames by Douglas Jacobson

Douglas Jacobson's Night of Flames is a gritty "spy" novel set during World War II beginning in 1939 during the invasion of Poland by the Nazis.  The main protagonists Anna and Jan Kopernik are separated by war and face near misses with the wrath of the Germans.  Anna joins the resistance in Belgium reluctantly, while Jan jumps at the opportunity to help MI6 on a secret mission in Poland with the hope that he can find his wife.

"Anna's eyes snapped open and she sat bolt upright.  The shrill sound blasted into her brain, penetrating through the fog of sleep like an icy wind.  She blinked and looked around the dark room, trying to focus on shadowy images as the sound wailed on and on."  (Page 11)

Anna is in Poland with her friend, Irene, and her son when the bombings start in earnest, leaving them and their driver very few options on the way back to Krakow and her father, a professor at the local university.  Anna is hit by significant loss and constant worry about her husband, who's career is with the Polish military.  Night of Flames is a fast-paced novel that pushed through the front lines and skulks in the shadows of the resistance.

"'The best thing any of us can do is try and keep out of their way, and if you get stopped or challenged, be as cooperative as you can.'

'So you're telling us to act like house pets in our own city.'" (Page 65)

Jacobson's no-nonsense writing style will place readers in the heart of the resistance, though some readers could get bogged down by the military strategy and direction, such as how the resistance used holes dug in the earth to hold lanterns that were lit to signal the Allies as to where to drop supplies.  Readers will either enjoy the detailed strategy or wish for a greater focus on the characters.  Anna is the most developed of the two protagonists, though Jacobson does give each nearly equal time through alternating chapters.  These chapters help build tension, leaving the reader in suspense as to whether they will ever be reunited.

Readers who enjoy learning about World War II and who enjoy spy novels will like this novel.  But Night of Flames is more than just a war novel; it is about how ordinary citizens can rise up to reclaim their homeland and their dignity in the face of adversity signifying an indelible human spirit.

Check out this video for Night of Flames:

I want to thank Douglas Jacobson, McBooks Press, and Pump Up Your Book Promotion for sending me a free copy of Night of Flames to review.  If you click on the title links, you'll be taken to my Amazon Affiliate page, but there is no obligation to buy.

They've also kindly provided an additional copy for one reader of my blog from anywhere in the world.  To Enter:

1.  Leave a comment on this post.
2.  Check out the War Through the Generations blog and leave me a relevant comment here about something you read or learned.

3.  Blog, Tweet, and spread the word about the giveaway and leave a comment here.

Deadline is Nov. 4, 2009, at 11:59 PM EST

This marks the 7th book I've read for the WWII Reading Challenge.  Though I officially met my goal of reading 5 WWII-related books some time ago, I've continued to find them on my shelves and review them here.  I'm sure there will be more, stay tuned.


Marjorie said...

I would love to win this book for
my husband, just the cover alone
is worth the book.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Anna said...

I'm glad you liked the book. I loved it and didn't feel that the details were cumbersome.

No need to enter me, obviously, but I will add a link to my sidebar.

Diary of an Eccentric

Kaye said...

Same here, Serena, no need to enter me. I just wanted to encourage readers to enter this contest as Night of Flames is a wonderful book. Hubby read it and loved it too.

bermudaonion said...

After all the great reviews I've read, I'd love to read this! Please enter me. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Pam said...

I've never heard of this one before but it would make a fabulous stocking stuffer for my dad for Christmas!

melacan at hotmail dot com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, like usual. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Anonymous said...

This sounds very interesting!

readingatthebeach at gmail dot com

Linda said...

Sounds great; I love stories that involve the Resistance. Thanks for the giveaway.

J.T. Oldfield said...

Please enter me! Thanks!


Amy said...

This book sounds fascinating. I like the opportunity to learn more about WWII while reading about inspiring characters dealing with the effects of War.

Thank you for another great giveaway!


Marie said...

I would love to share this with my husband, it sounds really good!


Amy said...

I went to War Through the Generations (thank you! I didn't know of this website) and I ended up reading Age 30+...A Lifetime of Books review of Coventry by Helen Humphreys and discovered the Coventry was the site of heavy bombing in WW II which was something I didn't know. And now I have added another wonderfully sounding book to my TBR!


S. Krishna said...

No need to enter me, but this sounds very interesting. Thanks for the review!

Kim said...

I want to win! I feel like I haven't read a great spy novel in ages!

KIm said...

Here's what I learned from the War Through the Generations blog:
1. I have another challenge I'll want to join next year.
2. My son is writing a paper on WWII in the winter and I'm going to send him over there for some preliminary research.


tetewa said...

Sounds good, I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

a real librarian said...

sounds interesting! Thanks for the chance to win!


Alyce said...

I've been seeing the reviews for this one and would like to enter to win a copy.

I love WWII books!

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Sandra K321 said...

Another historical fiction. I would love to read this one also.

Jeanette said...

I have this out from the library right now. It sounds really interesting.

Veens said...

I am regular reader of WW2 site, though i dnt comment there!
But i did comment today!

this book sounds really good. would love to be entered to win this one.

givingreadingachance AT gmail.com

avalonne83 said...

Please enter me in the contest. Thanks.

avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

Jo-Jo said...

I love reading WWII books so please enter me for this one.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Kristine said...

I would like to be entered. Thanks!
kristinemarie7 at gmail.com

Kailana said...

Judging by the reviews of this book I have read so far, I think I really want to read it!

Mitz said...

I would love this book, I've read some great reviews. Enter me please...


Mystica said...

I would like to be entered for this book giveaway.


Silent Raven said...

WWII is a subject I love reading about. The way it changed the world and the sacrifice it took to make that change. Please count me in.

carianmoonlight at gmail dot com

Esme said...

I enjoy WW 11 books-this sounds interesting.

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo.com

Serena said...

We've linked to your review at the war blog here: http://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/reviews-night-of-flames-by-douglas-jacobson/