23 September 2016

Review #528: The One Man by Andrew Gross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“After the thing went off, after it was a sure thing that America could wipe out a city with just one bomb, a scientist turned to Father and said, 'Science has now known sin.' And do you know what Father said? He said, 'What is sin?”

----Kurt Vonnegut

Andrew Gross, an American best selling author, pens his exciting and intriguing new historical thriller, The One Man that revolves around an old dying man who narrates the story of his untold past about a braveheart who saved the future by risking his life to rescue one forgotten scientist with a knowledge to build the atom bomb from a Jew camp in Poland right under the eyes and noses of some brutal and torturous Nazi soldiers.


Nathan Blum is about to risk his life for one man. One man he's never met.

Auschwitz, 1944. Alfred Mendl's days are numbered. But he has little left to live for - his family were torn away from him, his life's work burned in front of his eyes - until a glimmer of hope arises as he watches a game of chess. To the guards Mendl is just another prisoner, but in fact he holds knowledge that only two people in the world possess. The other is working hard for the Nazi war machine.

Four thousand miles away, in Washington DC, intelligence lieutenant Nathan Blum decodes messages from occupied Poland. After the Nazis murdered his family, Nathan escaped the Krakow ghetto and is determined to support his new country - and the US government knows exactly how he can. They want to send Nathan on a mission to rescue one man from a place no one can break in to - or out of.

Even if Nathan does make it in and finds him, can they escape the most heavily guarded place on earth?

After his wife's and daughter's death in the Jew camp and after his years of hard work in research about Uranium is burnt down by the Nazi soldiers, Alfred Mendl, a Polish physicist, had no further hope to carry on living his pathetic and sad life. But when a way of hope shines upon his life in the form of a smart and intelligent and heck of a chess playing teenage boy, and Alfred doesn't miss a single moment to take that young boy under his wing in order to transfer his knowledge and inventions about nuclear physics. And without much of Alfred's surprise, the boy turns out to be a quick learner of complex scientific studies. Thousands of miles away, another man named, Nathan Blum, another Polish citizen, currently working for the US Army after luckily escaping from the Nazi occupied Poland, is planning to risk away his life in order to save an asset that is highly valuable for the US government, so on the President's orders, Nathan embarks on his familiar path to his homeland, risking away his everything to save the life of the scientist who is the key to saving the mankind from Germany's torture and scheme to attack with an atom bomb. And little did both the men knew that escaping right under the noses and eyes of the ruthless Nazi soldiers is not an easy thing to achieve, there's a lot at stake.

Well I rarely came across a novel in my life that made me so much emotional, scared to death and tensed for the characters and even resentful towards the Nazi army and their inhumane treatments on the Jewish prisoners. The story is extremely well developed with so many layers, unpredictable twists and adrenaline action scenes that it escalated the pulse in my body. It felt like I was holding my breath for the entire length of the novel just hoping and wishing that the characters survive somehow. Right from the very beginning, the story gripped my mind so tightly that not even for once I could afford to look away from this compelling story.

The author's writing style is eloquent and extremely articulate enough to keep the readers' minds engrossed right into the very core of the story line. The author has developed the plot with layers of depth and back story that will allow the readers to comprehend the plot in a better way. The narrative is coherent and free flowing and is also laced with the local dialect of Polish and German, but with its proper translation into English. The pacing is really fast with so much happening scenes and actions that are vividly portrayed through the story line that will help the readers to visualize the scenes right before their own eyes.

The backdrop of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland is strikingly captured through the words of the author into the story line. The readers will be transported to this unusual, odd and scary location that will not only open their eyes, but will give them nightmares from those vivid and graphic scenes penned by the author. The author has arrested each and every details of that Nazi Jewish camp where the people are tortured brutally and in an inhumane manner, fed with distasteful food in a handful amount, the infirmary crowed with dying Jews, and the constant beatings by the Nazi soldiers, that will shock the readers with the brutal honesty and make them cry out in pain.

The characters from the book are thoroughly well structured with honest and realism reflecting in their humble demeanor. The main character, Nathan Blum, is one-of-a-kind of a man whose bravery and contribution towards his new country is exceptional and the way the man goes through so much challenges just to save one man will make the readers respect and root for the character till the very end. The next major character is Alfred whose painful torture and losing his family in the camp will make the readers feel for him deeply, yet he keeps fighting till the very end. The rest of the supporting characters will also leave an impression in the minds of the readers.

Ina nutshell, this is an unputdownable, captivating and thoroughly absorbing historical thriller is a must read for all those who enjoy the rush of World War II drama involving the Nazi Army.

Verdict: A trip down to the forgotten story of two men who managed hard to save the future of the mankind.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publisher from Pan Macmillan India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Welcome to my website. I’ve written fourteen New York Times bestselling thrillers, five with James Patterson, and nine on my own, mostly about people you might look through a lens and feel you know -- soccer moms and hedge fund dads -- who through a flaw, or a weakness, or just plain fate, end up over their heads in something they can’t get themselves out of, something sinister and widening, which threatens to take everything from them, especially those they love.
I’ve been shortlisted for top thriller awards, and my books have been sold into over 25 countries. People have said my books have a lot of pace and heart, but mostly, I’m only trying to tell a gripping story, of family or greed or desperation, one in which ordinary people might step into the shoes of those things are happening to and ask themselves if they fit the role of a hero, and then root for one for a while. So click a link and take a look. I invite you to thrill yourself for a few hours.
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