THE ONE MAN by Andrew Gross
Kirkus Star


Email this review


The author of One Mile Under (2015) changes genres with a heart-pounding thriller set in the bowels of Auschwitz.

In Washington, D.C., in early 1944, Capt. Peter Strauss learns that Polish Dr. Alfred Mendl has been sent with his family to Auschwitz and confirms he’s still there and possibly still alive. Mendl is an electromagnetic physicist believed to have knowledge key to America’s secret efforts to build an atom bomb. Strauss proposes the impossible: have someone sneak in, get Mendl out, and bring him to America. So OSS translator Nathan Blum is carefully trained for “one of the most vital undercover missions of the war.” FDR himself commands Blum, Do not fail. Meanwhile, the Nazis don’t kill Mendl because his fluent German comes in handy to them. They also don’t kill 16-year-old Leo Wolciek, the camp’s chess champion, because he’s so entertaining to watch. Mendl learns that Leo has an astonishing memory and secretly convinces him to memorize a vast amount of scientific information—Mendl fears he will die and hopes that somehow Leo may get his critical knowledge into Allied hands. It’s the thinnest of hopes. (It’s unclear how Mendl knows he has precisely what the Allies sorely need, but no matter.) Either man could be clubbed to death by a guard or a kapo at any time. The camp is run by the Lagerkommandant, whose wife is amused to watch Leo play chess. Meanwhile, the stench of human waste and wasted humans pervades the camp. Yet in the midst of all the tension and horror, there are faint flickers of hope—and humanity from a most unexpected source. But the escape will probably fail, and evil will probably exact its toll yet again. So don’t bet on the outcome of this one, and do keep your tissues handy.

This is Gross' best work yet, with his heart and soul imprinted on every page.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-250-07950-3
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2016


FictionRISE THE DARK by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
FictionAFTER DISASTERS by Viet Dinh
by Viet Dinh
FictionINVASIVE by Chuck  Wendig
by Chuck Wendig
MysteryLADY COP MAKES TROUBLE  by Amy Stewart
by Amy Stewart
FictionTHE ONE MAN by Andrew Gross
by Andrew Gross
Kirkus Interview
Andrew Gross
June 2, 2014

In his new best-selling thriller Everything to Lose, Andrew Gross gets to the heart of a question we've all asked ourselves: What would you do if you came across a bag of money you desperately needed but that wasn't yours? We ask Gross about writing the new novel. View video >


FictionBUTTON MAN by Andrew Gross
by Andrew Gross
FictionTHE SABOTEUR by Andrew Gross
by Andrew Gross
FictionONE MILE UNDER by Andrew Gross
by Andrew Gross


FictionTHE SOUL OF A THIEF by Steven Hartov
by Steven Hartov
FictionTWELVE DAYS by Alex Berenson
by Alex Berenson