In Blanchard’s debut action novel, a U.S. Naval test pilot travels to Europe and, among his father’s inheritance, uncovers evidence of a Nazi device that the Nazis still desperately want.
Lt. Cmdr. Max DuMonde learns that his father, Thomas, who Max believed was killed in action years ago in Vietnam, died just recently in 2010. Thomas left his son a wealth of items, including classic, restored aircraft, but it’s German documents that bring Nazis to Max’s door. Apparently, near the end of World War II, the Nazis had developed a machine capable of generating a “dark gate,” which reputedly could create a fourth dimension. The SS in the 21st century hopes to complete the project, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes. Blanchard’s book utilizes its historical setting to great effect; though the bulk of it takes place in 2010, it opens with Marines—led by Maj. Dean DuMonde, Max’s grandfather—battling German soldiers in 1945 and even spends some time in the Colombian jungle with Thomas in ’66, where he stumbles upon the much-desired Nazi paperwork. Blanchard reverently details the planes that Thomas restored, such as the Storch, a German WWII plane, as well as the weaponry used in action sequences. Nevertheless, scenes such as Max testing the aircraft and trekking to the French Alps to spread his father’s ashes (and where he encounters a German family, most significantly his eventual love interest, Solange) seem to put the plot on hold; it’s nearly the halfway point when Nazis finally show up, demand at least part of Max’s inheritance and kidnap Solange. But once Max and his allies, including his Navy SEAL pal Val Vittoria, track down the villains to a castle near the Swiss border, the story becomes a nonstop, exhilarating barrage of gunfights and explosions. The particulars of what the Nazi device does aren’t fully revealed until near the end, and it’s quite a surprise. Blanchard rounds out his novel by adding suspense—there’s a traitor in the States who’s helping spearhead an operation to bring Max and company back home—and a smashing ending that sets the stage for a sequel.
Takes its time getting started, but once the story’s finally underway, readers will need a deep breath before taking this exciting ride of bullet-laden action.