Jacobson, Douglas W. Night of Flames: A Novel of World War II. McBooks. Oct. 2007. c.384p. ISBN 978-1-59013-136-7. $23.95. F

Jacobson's debut is a wide-ranging historical tale that starts and ends with the fate of a married couple. Jan Kopernik, a major in the Polish cavalry, and his wife, Anna, a university professor in Krakow, end up on separate paths when the Germans invade Poland in 1939. After the Polish cavalry launches a disastrous charge against German tanks, Jan takes refuge in a Hungarian refugee camp. Soon after, in what is the first of many terrifying adventures, he returns to Poland, working for the Polish Free Forces in the disguise of a Gestapo agent. Anna, for her part, flees to Belgium, where she works for the "White Brigade" resistance, ferrying rescued British and American aviators along the "Comet Line" to freedom. Surrounding these central characters are a host of partisans, saboteurs, soldiers, SS officers, and others caught up in the war, each with an intriguing story. Jan and Anna themselves will be severely tested in their search to find each other. Inspired by his Belgian relatives' own World War II experiences, Jacobson has written a novel that is suspenseful, rich in convincingly detailed incidents, and impeccably researched. Recommended for public libraries and all collections of historical fiction.

Library Journal, vol. 132, no. 13 (August 2007) 69.


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