Tom Lewis,
Pea Island Gold #2: Hitler's Judas
(VP Publishing, 2007)

Hitler's Judas is the second novel in the Pea Island Gold trilogy by author Tom Lewis. Whereas the first novel, Sunday's Child, follows the childhood and early adulthood of North Carolina native Sunday Everette and ends shortly after World War II, the second novel works through the same time frame, but through the eyes of two Germans.

The first German is Martin Bormann, Hitler's right-hand man. Bormann was trusted by Hitler and it has been speculated that he might have escaped Germany toward the end of the war with a fortune in Nazi gold. Lewis's novel creates a scenario in which Bormann does not actually run to South America (as speculated) in a German U-boat, but instead escapes to the outer banks of North Carolina -- a relatively low population area at the time and a place his enemies would least expect.

The second German, Horst Von Hellenbach, is one of Germany's most successful U-boat captains. In the novel, he demonstrates his combat skills time and again destroying Allied shipping. He gets drawn into Bormann's plans of escape and, at the end of the first novel, is saved from certain death by Everette. In this novel, the reader revisits this scene, but through Bormann's and Hellenbach's perspectives.

As much as I enjoyed Sunday's Child, I think I liked Hitler's Judas even more. Lewis's writing skills are excellent. He has a good mix of action sequences as well as character development. He makes it easy to care about some characters while despising others. At one point I was surprised to be rooting for Hellenbach as he has a narrow escape from the Allies. And I'm not pro-Nazi! On the other hand, Bormann is such an evil man, he makes you glad you never crossed paths with him. (If you did, you probably wouldn't be alive).

Tom Lewis spent 38 years as a symphony orchestra conductor. He has five other novels beyond the Pea Island Gold trilogy. The first two books in the series are very well done and I highly recommend them if you like a good war tale. I am eagerly awaiting the final novel, Sons of Their Fathers, to see what happens now that Sunday and Hellenbach have started a family of their own.

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

26 January 2008

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