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HFC Editorial Review of "On the Edge of Twilight" by Aaron T. Knight




NEWS BULLETIN: NORMANDY INVASION FAILS

The author was ten years old when America entered WWII and I remember the Home Front very well. The Nazis could have won the war if the Normandy invasion had failed because it would have provided the time to use the futuristic weapons in existence and ready to be used in 1944. If the Normandy invasion had failed the Nazis would have been able to launch a futuristic, "push button" kind of war. The allies would have been virtually without defenses to counter weapons this advanced and years ahead of the allies weapons development.


Review

“General Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allies, sat alone in his office. He opened the center drawer of his desk and withdrew two sheets of paper. Each contained an official announcement for release to the press. One release announced the successful invasion of France. The other was a letter announcing that the invasion of France had failed and he alone was responsible. With the greatest of effort he tore up the release proclaiming victory, then stood up from his desk and took the other one to the outer office for release to the world. The announcement... reverberated around the world.”

Failure.

This book begins as a play by play, hour by hour, of the allied invasion of Normandy through the eyes of Major Mike Canyon, an American officer who is suffering from a life-threatening wound from his time serving in Africa. Immediately, you are drawn into the story which the author relays as factual, at least you think is factual, of the D-Day invasion in the midst of a terrible storm. Mike attempts to salvage a disastrous military exercise in Portsmouth England while the allied forces hope for a speedy end to the conflict against the Nazis. But it is not to be. Between the storm and the incredible skill and ingenuity of Hitler’s army, the entire strategy of the Normandy invasion fails. (Can you imagine?)

London is inundated with buzz bombs and the air raids become a normal part of life. The city is nearly flattened and millions flee. The failure of D-Day results in two things: lowering the morale of the allied forces, and the major boost of the Wehrmacht – especially as they pump out new weaponry at a startling rate... even using the millions of prisoners from the camps as shields in the fight against their enemies. (Again, can you imagine?)

These new weapons, missiles of stealth and long range, start to reach the Eastern seaboard of the United States. Roosevelt and Eisenhower are helpless as hundreds of bombs rain down on Washington and New York City. Field combat has taken a back seat as Hitler pushes forward this new initiative.

As the conflict grows and the Third Reich’s victory is in sight, Mike struggles with his own personal demons. His marriage is a failure, discovering his wife is cheating, and he files for an annulment to avoid scandal and to put a bullet in what once was a loving relationship. The struggle for survival in the chaos in London brings two women into his life – Barbara, a “donut” girl (nurse) who he protects during one of the air raid attacks, and Rachel, a headstrong young woman who is out to get what she wants, which is a lot of money obtained by use of her “womanly skills”. While very attracted to Barbara, Mike falls hard for Rachel, a woman he knows he should not love and who strings him along with vacant promises and wild passionate nights. The amazing way the author weaves the story of the war with the war Mike has with his feelings is done with great skill. Plus, delivering this ‘what-if’ story in a way that, honestly, I had to go back and do a little research to make sure if some of the things didn’t actually happen. Mr Knight’s attention to detail to make the story believable is incredible.

On another front in Mike’s life is the treachery and greed of the black market, plus the behind-the-scenes political wrangling due to the failure of bringing the war to a quick close.

This book is definitely a dramatic read, a alternate version of WWII with all the shock and awe to thrill a reader; and to entertain and illuminate how very close the world came to Nazi domination. You are presented with political intrigues, personal vendettas teetering on a very “Godfather” feel, fleshed out characters, and a love interest which threads through the entire story.

While enjoyable and immersive in the details of the war, and well developed in Mike’s own story, from time to time I came across editing issues which, overall, did not detract from the main storyline. My only concern came as the end approached as the Nazi victory took a back seat to Mike and Barbara’s life, their survival... so I was left wondering if the author was going to develop the war front more. The conclusion with that aspect left me a little confused... I mean, I sort of know what was going to happen but not, which was interesting since Mr Knight took such care with the incredible detail of this alternate war during the first part of the book. The finality of the storyline for Mike felt completely developed, so that was a plus.

All in all, Mr Knight welds the facts of WWII seamlessly into the fiction of the story, plus adding the “alternate” flavor which presents as if you are reading actual history taking place. Thankfully, we are not reading actual history but his skill at storytelling is evident. This is action-packed and well worth a read.


“On the Edge of Twilight” receives 4.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company (rounded up to 5 for the incredible detail of the “alternate war”)



*****


Author Bio:

Being an American of Scandinavian descent probably explains why I spent the first seventeen years of my life in North Dakota. To survive seventeen winters in the Dakotas I acquired a sense of humor. Only one way was open to me to escape. Enlisting in the military at seventeen. Three years of my four year enlistment were spent in New York City which was a godsend. Discharged I stayed in New York and attended NYU. My sense of humor was honed to a fine edge from living very close to my fellow New Yorkers every day.

Writing fiction allows me to be humorous. Many of my novels are based on a fantasy premise as a background for satirical humor. My first self published novel was Fred a robot with a screw loose having been sabotaged by the resentful inventor of its intelligence. At large in Manhattan Fred takes his pursuers on a merry chase around the city. Being my first effort I was encouraged when a Barnes and Noble Small Publishing buyer liked the book. They helped set me up with Ingram so they could buy books. Many signings and no money to promote my book didn't produce much revenue. Publishers and literary agents I contacted weren't as enthusiastic as BN.

POD came along and I have 14 novels available on Amazon.




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