1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.
This historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.
“THE ONE MAN” by Andrew Gross is a riveting novel in which one man’s knowledge can make the difference between winning and losing a war. Professor Alfred Mendl, a brilliant physicist from Poland has been arrested by the Nazi’s and deported with his family to the infamous Auschwitz. Within him lies the knowledge or the missing link that the Americans need to beat Germany in a race to development the first atomic bomb.
Desperate to find a way to free him and bring him to America, the Office of Strategic Services enlists the aid of a young intelligence officer, Lieutenant Nathan Blum. Nathan is the perfect candidate as he is a native of Poland, Jewish and speaks fluent German. However, his desire to go back has as much to do with putting ghosts to rest as it does to honor and serve his country. What Nathan will do is no easy feat and the odds are stacked against him. Sneaking into Auschwitz, finding the professor and escaping is pure suicide, but a risk he is willing to take. With the clock ticking and time running out, Operation Catfish has begun.
I have always loved novels set around WWII and “THE ONE MAN” by Andrew Gross will go down as one of the best novels I have ever read. From the beginning the story grabs you and doesn’t let go. It is high paced, action packed, but full of raw emotion. His descriptions of the poor prisoners, the wretched conditions in the camp, the cruel guards, the sights, sounds and smells literally jump off the pages. There were times I became so engrossed and emotional that I had to put the book down for a few minutes and walk away before continuing. His writing was so vivid it was like watching a movie play out before you, every scene real and intense. The characters the author created were nothing short of brilliant and will haunt you long after you turn the last pages. From the intelligent, gentle professor, to the genius young chess player, to the cruel guards and sorrowful prisoners, every character built upon the next created beautifully to make a powerful story. I especially liked Nathan. I found myself cheering him on and marveled at his faith, ingenuity and courage to complete his mission no matter what the cost.
If you like fast paced novels with action, intelligence and raw emotion centered on WWII then “THE ONE MAN” is for you. Those readers who like the action and intrigue that Greg Iles and Nelson Demille bring with the historical background and human emotion of Herman Wouk will enjoy Andrew Gross’s “THE ONE MAN”.
I appreciate being given an advanced copy of “THE ONE MAN” from St. Martin’s Press (Minotaur Books) via NetGalley for a fair and honest review.