Review by Brenda Repland
Based on one of the most dramatic sabotage operations of World War II. This story follows the combined British-Norwegian effort to curtail the program to develop the first atomic bomb.
In 1942, Norway is occupied by Nazi forces. At the Norsk Hydro plant, they are developing “heavy water” (deuterium oxide) an essential element in the creation of the atomic bomb. Should they succeed, it could mean victory for the Nazi cause.
Meanwhile, in England, a small group of Norwegian patriots is working with British forces on a plan to halt the “heavy water” production. It will demand that the saboteurs be air-dropped into one of the wildest parts of Norway and, making their way to the plant while escaping discovery by both Germans and collaborators, sneak into the plant. The location – cut out of a high cliff in a valley too narrow for aerial bombardment – precludes any airstrikes.
For the Norwegians, this is personal. They are determined to save their country and their loved ones. Most have already lost family members to reprisals carried out by the occupiers. In their efforts to destroy the plant, they must also bear in mind the damage to local citizenry – some of whom are family members.
This book is a follow-up to Andrew Gross’s historical thriller, The One Man. He bases his characters on those who actually took part in the operation and provides a picture of the harrowing situation of the time. It’s a story that should be read!
The Quantum Spy
Review by Brenda Repland
We’ve heard a lot of talk recently about Quantum Computing. In this new thriller, author David Ignatius takes us into the very plausible competition between Chinese and American spies for this prize gem. The country that will come to own it will dominate for ages. The machine will break through any known encryption.
Mr. Ignatius is known for his ability to predict the next national security story. Here we have a real thriller.
Piggy-backing on China’s anti-corruption campaign, the CIA carries out an operation in Singapore with a senior Chinese scientist. He is a member of the State Security which is determined to learn all they can about the US progress on Quantum Computing. The ramifications of that meeting are titanic and lead the Americans to learn that an American spy has been recruited as a mole for the Chinese. The mole is in a senior position in Science and Technology department funding the Quantum development.
It is imperative that the mole be uncovered and the flow of information to China be curtailed immediately. Leading the charge in the field is Harris Chang, an “American of Chinese ancestry.”
The Chinese will use every lever they can to appeal to Chang’s “Chineseness.” But is Chang to be trusted? Are his loyalties with the US or, latently, China?
We can guess but we won’t really know whom to trust until the very end of the book. Enjoy!