Friday, December 09, 2022

173. The Enemy Above

The Enemy Above. Michael P. Spradlin. 2016. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: At first, Anton thought the rumble was a summer storm.

Premise/plot: Anton, our twelve-year-old protagonist, is coming of age during the second world war. Both fronts--the Germans and the Soviets--are closing in on his family's farm in Ukraine. Both sides pose real risks to Anton and his grandmother...and to the community at large. In particular, the Jewish community. There's not enough time to actually, actually flee with any hope of success. But there may just be enough time to find a hiding place in plain sight. The caves below may just prove a refuge to a community. But it isn't a cozy-safe-refuge. War is literally raging above. And there are those who will go to any lengths to hunt down Jews. 

Can Anton keep his grandmother safe?

My thoughts: This one is compelling, intense, action-packed. There are so many, many close-call moments. so many chapters end in a cliff-hanger. Emotions build as the novel unfolds. There is always this question of CAN Anton save his grandmother? Can he save himself? 

I was not at all expecting a dual narrative. It was so ODD and unusual that readers get a Nazi [Major Karl Von Duesen] viewpoint. We get both the HUNTER and the HUNTED perspectives. The flipping/switching back and forth during very intense scenes was something. I definitely don't like *being* in Karl's mind. 

This one does not tie things in bows. While some war novels have some amount of light to counterbalance the dark, this one doesn't. I think that is fair and realistic. 


© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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