Author: Aleksandr Voinov & LA Witt
Cover Artist: Simone
Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars
Give me one fixed point and a long enough lever, and I’ll unhinge the universe. — Archimedes
December 1944 – The Battle of the Bulge
SS Lieutenant Hagen Friedrichs is the sole survivor of a party sent to retrieve his brother—and the highly sensitive information he’s carrying—from behind enemy lines. But his daring rescue attempt fails, and Hagen becomes the prisoner.
Allied command has ordered Captain John Nicholls to extract critical intelligence from their new Nazi POW. His secrets could turn the tide of the war, but are they real? John is determined to find out . . . and to shatter the prisoner who killed his lover during the attack on their tiny base. The deeper he digs, though, the more he realizes that the soldier under the SS uniform is just like him: a scared, exhausted young man who’s lost loved ones and just wants to go home.
As captor and captive form an unexpected bond, the lines quickly blur between enemy, friend, and lover. And as horrifying rumors spread from the front lines and American soldiers turn their sights on the SS for vengeance, John may be Hagen’s only hope for survival.
Josie Goodreads’s View:
I really don’t have the words to do this story justice; I’ll just say that Unhinge the Universe is tense, gripping, exhilarating, unforgettable and just plain awesome! Perfect for anyone who wants a story that’s a bit different and will keep them on the edge of their seat.
American Intelligence officer Captain John Nicholls arrives at the small US forward base in Saint-Michel tasked with interrogating a captured German Major, but what he finds is a man moments from death, bleeding internally, a man who takes his secrets to the grave. John is in turn frustrated and annoyed as at this stage of the war, only a few months after D Day, the Allies are desperately in need of intelligence. When a lone SS Officer attempts to rescue the Major and ends up captured John’s attention turns to him.
John soon discovers that the prisoner is SS lieutenant Hagen Friedrichs, brother of the dead Major. As the mind games start both prisoner and interrogator are naturally at odds, enemies, both determined to do the best for their country, but war is never that clear and simple, soon wariness, admiration and attraction is warring with duty and conscience. As John attempts to transport Hagen back through American lines to a POW transport rumors of the German massage of American soldiers at Malmedy starts to filter through and John struggles to keep Hagen safe from retaliation.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book. I love historical stories but I also like my stories to have happy endings and I really couldn’t see how that could work, but what I found was so much better than I could ever imagine. The story revolves almost completely around John and Hagen, both men are flawed, but likeable, and right from the beginning the attraction is just there, hovering between them in contrast to the righteousness both men have in their side of the conflict. The evolution of feelings between the two men is believable, their world narrowing down to just the two of them, both like-minded men sexually, and both forced to hide that part of their nature from fellow soldiers, it gave them a common ground, something neither man expected. I liked the alternate POVs of both characters; it gave a balanced view as the mind games played out, and helped me understand both men, particularly making me sympathetic to Hagen’s plight, which I didn’t expect. I don’t really want to say anything about the plot, suffice to say that it had me gripped all the way through and the ending is quite satisfying.
My husband is a WW2 buff so I know a bit about the period and the locations so I can confidently say that the historical and military details are spot on, the authors having obviously done their research. I was immersed into the time period right from the first page. I could feel the fear and unease among the men, and I was surprised by how much the authors managed to humanize both sides, so much so that quite early on I found myself caring what happened to Hagen, regardless of the fact that he was an SS Officer, the traditional ‘enemy’.
For anyone who is tired of the same old romance stories we see every day Unhinge the Universe by LA Witt and Aleksandr Voinov is an excellent choice, one that will keep you thinking long after you finish the book.
This review was originally posted on Mrsconditreadsbooks.com which is no longer online.
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
This is a love story, not so plain and definitely not simple.
Chew on that for a sec… ok, good? Then let’s begin.
This mostly takes place in 1944 in France, WW II at full blast, civilians and soldiers getting more and more demanding in their desires and actions to just make it all stop. The Russian front was especially brutal, and in every part of the continent, more and more towns and lands were being destroyed, now in ruins, and everyone was getting more desperate to find the key to turn the lock and open the door to peace – could that really happen?
Before they could even get there, you had to survive first. This includes an SS officer, Hagen, and an American captain, John. They’re each doing their jobs, trying to gain intelligence that might help get them all home in one piece sooner than later. I don’t want to give away too many details, even when it comes to the time line, so if you get frustrated by slightly vague reviews, maybe stop now and just go read this book. If that doesn’t bother you, and you’d like a little more, then carry on 😉
Despite the seemingly incredible premise of this story, about the connection and interwoven paths between Hagen and John, it all works. There really aren’t any holes: from how Hagen ends up at the first camp where he and John “meet”, to the times when each of them give in to the momentary ‘what if?’ or ‘what the hell am I doing?’, and the kinds of decisions they each make that lead to unexpected but mostly accepted consequences. The fact that it takes place during war of course makes events seem unlikely, but I think it’s actually the opposite: under extreme circumstances, you realize quickly what you want and what you’ll do to both get and keep it. This carries through the entire story and informs motivations with well-fed clarity.
You’ll come close to holding your breath more than once, trying to remain quiet just like Hagen and John are often forced to do. In attempts to stay alive, what they do and what they say, how they say, when they say – all must be measured against making it another day, mentally and physically. To what end, to what life, they don’t know and neither do we.
Simply put, this is a love story and it’s beautiful, despite being constantly surrounded by the ugliest things human beings can do to each other. Smooth and jarring, confusing and sharply in focus, sad and joyful, muddy and sexy. That this is set during WW II is a huge part of it: hearing the description of Ardennes, town of Colmar getting a mention, the intense cold, the beautiful countryside, the farms and farmhouses, I just can’t get enough. This is a part of history about which I have read a large amount, so with that as the setting for this fabulous story, I sank right in.
This book is one of my all-time favorites, ever, of any story I’ve read.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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