Graduating from college with a degree in history is I guess the most obvious way to tell that I enjoy history. To say you enjoy history offers a pretty broad spectrum of things to like. The World War II period has always been my favorite period to study/read/learn about which was one of the reasons I jumped at the chance to review Deal with the Devil. Written by J. Gunnar Grey, it details espionage, loyalties, and the difference between right and wrong in Europe in World War II. While reading this novel, the reader’s eyes are opened to question of doing what is perceived to be right versus what is actually the right thing to do.
Major Faust is a high-ranking officer in the German army during the start of World War II. After spending some time in England while achieving his college degree from Oxford, Faust found that he liked Britain as well. He tended to believe in British ideology more than the propaganda of Nazi Germany. After allowing some British soldiers to escape from German control, a friend gets Major Faust drunk and throws him over into England near Oxford. There he is captured by Major Stone, a retired general of the British army and his granddaughter Jennifer, whom Faust has an immediate connection with. He must not crack under interrogation as he was one of the architects of a detailed plan to invade England drafted by the German army. He attempts to escape, but during his attempt a local woman is brutally murdered, and he is captured again and made the lead suspect. Thrown into this classic whodunit is a story of loyalty, with twist and turns around every corner.
I will admit, I did not like the book the first three times I attempted to read it. I would read 20 pages and then it would slow down and I couldn’t get myself past that hump, only to give up and start again a week later. However, on my fourth and final attempt I got past the hump and am I glad I did. I couldn’t put my iPad down and couldn’t wait to flick (iPad turning) the page. I kept finding myself gasping at the twist and turns set in the backdrop of World War II England. Similar to Dan Brown creating mysteries with religious material and legends as a base, J. Gunnar Grey was able to create an excellent mystery with a fantastic historical background.
I was completely blown away with the amount of research Grey put into the book. I kept learning about new facts and was constantly double checking to see if these were actual events and places that were described in the book. It probably took me twice as long to read the book because I kept doing that, but it made for a fuller reading experience. Not only was I reading a mystery, which was the first mystery I truly enjoyed since Angels and Demons, but I was also learning more about a subject I love.
All and all, I think this reading experience goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a book by the first 20 pages. Even though the beginning may be slower, eventually you will get to an exciting part. My only complaint was that I only read part one of this two-part series, because this first part ends with a huge cliff hanger, I need to get my hands in part two ASAP, so I can continue this great story!
5 out of 5 Stars
Deal With The Devil by J. Gunnar Grey
Astraea Press (2011)
eBook: 286 pages
Special thanks to Astraea Press for my review copy!