Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review - Blood of the Reich by William Dietrich

Blood of the Reich
William Dietrich
Trade Paperback
Uncorrected Proof
432 pages
Publisher: Harper
Expected Release Date: June 28, 2011
ISBN: 978-0061989186


Sometimes a book is published at exactly the right moment in time and Blood of the Reich may have hit the jackpot in the way of timing. By that I mean that it may eventually sell a lot of copies due to its timely publication in correlation to the World War II Nazi stories that currently inundate the news. The Associated Press published an emotional article this past week about the grandchildren of high-profile members of the Nazi Party. Also, this week, an Ohio autoworker, John Demjanjuk, was found guilty of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder, one for each of the Jews exterminated during the six months that he worked as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland. This may well be the last Holocaust war crime to capture the public’s attention. The timing may ultimately also help sales of Blood of the Reich.

I enjoy historical fiction and World War II is especially fascinating to me, a child of a WWII veteran. Throw in some action and a little suspense and you have something that piques my interest. However, while Blood of the Reich has its moments, especially the intriguing pre-WWII story line, it fails to pull all the sub-plots back together into a neatly-bundled conclusion. Some suspense/action writers (Steve Berry and James Rollins, for instance) have the remarkable talent of putting us at the edge of our seats and then, as the story concludes, drawing all the sub-plot arcs together into a compact, complete, and satisfying climax. While Dietrich tells a good story and makes a descent attempt at bringing it all together I think it could have been done much better. Indeed, the closer to the finale I got the more hurried it felt. I suspect this had more to do with publication pressure rather than actual writing skill but since I have never read anything by Mr. Dietrich before this is only a guess. However, it felt to me like a book that was forced too soon out of the writer’s hands. On the other hand, perhaps Blood of the Reich might have been more impactful and my opinion less negative had the story not already been told so well by Spielberg, Lucas, and company in the Indian Jones saga. Still, for the die-hard WWII suspense fanatics out there, you should probably check this one out for yourselves.

3 ½ stars out of 5

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

Additional Reading:

William Dietrich

William Dietrich’s Official Website

William Dietrich Wiki Page

William Dietrich Interview

Blood of the Reich

Blood of the Reich Amazon Pre-order Page

Blood of the Reich Review

Current News

Associated Press “Crimes of the Fathers” Story

New York Times Demjanjuk Coverage


Logon8er said...

I couldn't finish it.

It lacked "page-turner" appeal. Perhaps I am just Clavell-spoiled. But, I expect a lot more from a with multiple publications to his credit than this book promised to deliver.

I literally tossed it across the room when he compared aged log cabin chinking to the teeth of a drunken sailor; one forced simile too many.

It reads like a first effort. Do not buy.

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