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Tomas Gallucci

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Twilight of Courage [Mar. 27th, 2009|04:35 pm]
Tomas Gallucci

I find myself constantly recommending Bodie and Brock Thoene's The Twilight of Courage (specifically the hardcover) but am always displeased with myself because I never have both the dust jacket text and the Amazon.com user's review in the same place. I can attempt to describe the book (and would be happy to answer any questions) but I think that what you see below is already perfect and fear I will just muck it up. Without further ado:

From the Dust Jacket:

Between the sky and the assembly, a cloud of red and black banners unfurled, fluttering in time to the trumpet blasts. The expectation of the gathering had reached a feverish pitch, exactly the right moment for their worship to appear. As if controlled by a single switch, all light and sound vanished. The arena was plunged into absolute blackness and total stillness with such suddenness that thousands believed they had been struck both deaf and blind in that instant. And then...a single spotlight reached out from the back of the stadium, stabbing the highest podium. As if by magic, the lectern was now occupied by the stern, brooding figure of Adolf Hitler.

As the clouds of war gather over an unprepared Europe, the remarkable and stories of an international cast of characters unfold in The Twilight of Courage. Follow diverse and memorable personalities such as American journalists Josie Marlow and Mac McGrath as they narrowly escape from the collapse of Warsaw in the fall of 1939 and suddenly find themselves caught up in the events of the so-called Twilight War--when Hitler was preparing to march and the Allies did nothing to stop him.

Meet Polish mathematics genius Richard Lewinski who heads a desperate attempt to crack the Nazi secret code; brother Andre and Paul Chardon who organize an heroic defense of the French Calvary School in Lys; German Captain Horst von Bockman who is caught between the love of his country and the insanity of war, and David Meyer, an American pilot who, shot down during an air war, struggles to escape the German onslaught and return to the lovely English woman Annie Galaway.

From Mac's expirences at Dunkirk to Josie's expirences in Paris, The Twilight of Courage brings to life the cataclysm of war as seen through the eyes of men and women who faced unbelievable challenges in a time of crisis.

Intricately woven and impeccably researched The Twilight of Courage is a war story, a love story and a spy story wrapped into one unforgettable package.


The relevant quote from Amazon.com reviewer Tracy Groot on the paper back edition:

Under duress, I recently confessed my favorite Thoene novel: Twilight of Courage. (It's like admitting you have a favorite child.) A friend of mine who has read only non-fiction books for the past 7 years agreed to read this one only because it is fiction based on fact. He loved it. (I, in turn, had to read a non-fiction book. He chose for me "Fate is the Hunter", a book so well-written I couldn't help reading it.)

I told my friend about the background to this book, which I know because I wrote a review in the Grand Rapids Press years ago: the Thoenes spent four months on a barge in Paris, with assistants, researching this work. They asked elderly Parisians this question: Where were you the day France fell? Seemed they all had a story. From those stories came this book. It's what got my friend to read it.

That's what I love about the Thoenes' work. Winston Churchill said something about hinges, that isn't interesting upon what small hinges events turn. The Thoenes seek out those hinges and give them a rightful place by recording them. Fact couched in fiction? Sometimes that's the only way a story can be told. That it is told at all is the only thing that matters. From Marcus Aurelius..."Look beneath the surface; let not the quality of a thing nor its worth escape thee..."

Mallowcups for Bodie and Brock. Cheers for their dedication to rusty old hinges.

[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-03-27 07:22 pm (UTC)
Here's an editorial review by Anne Bartholomew of Amazon's Best of the Month, March 2009 book "Lowboy" by John Wray: I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last reader to herald Lowboy for the subtle homage it pays to one of the best-known heroes in 20th century fiction, or to envy and delight in its masterful vision of New York City as seen from its darkest, most primal places. What's most seductive for me about John Wray's third novel--and arguably the one that puts him squarely on the map alongside contemporary luminaries like Joseph O'Neill, Jonathan Lethem, and Junot Diaz--is how skillfully it explores the mind's mysterious terrain. This isn't exactly uncharted land: John Wray's Will Heller--a.k.a. Lowboy--is a paranoid schizophrenic off his meds and on the lam, certain of both his own dysfunction and of the world's imminent collapse by way of global warming, but Wray handles that subtext delicately and is careful to make Will's mission to "cool down" and save the world feel single-minded without being moralistic. Wray invokes all the classic elements of a mystery in the telling, and that's what makes this novel such a searing read. As Will rides the subway in pursuit of a final solution to the crisis at hand, we meet (among others) Will's mother Violet, an Austrian by birth with an inscrutable intensity that gives the story a decidedly noir feel; Ali Lateef, the unflappable detective investigating Will's disappearance whose touch of brilliance always seems in danger of being snuffed out; and Emily Wallace, the young woman at the heart of Will's tragic odyssey. The novel moves seamlessly between Will's fits and starts below ground and Violet and Ali's equally staccato investigation of each other above. This kind of pacing is the stuff we crave (and we think you will, too)--the kind that draws you in so unawares that before you know it, it's past midnight and you're down to the last page.

But don't read the paperback version, because it SUCKS!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-03-27 07:29 pm (UTC)
I recommend the hardcover because I love how it feels in my hand. Additionally, I can compare the texts page by page and if there is a publishing error, I can verify it in my copy.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-03-27 07:37 pm (UTC)
Sure. But to recommend only the hardcover to those who care about the content, rather than verifying publishing errors, diminishes that recommendation severely when you decide to post some random shit you found on Amazon.
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