I’m excited to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for brilliant historical novel A Gathering Storm, first in a trilogy of books by Alan Jones. Thank you to Anne Cater and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this first magnificent installment of The Sturmtaucher Trilogy.
About the book:
The Gathering Storm: Book 1 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy, a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.
Kiel, Northern Germany, 1933. A naval city, the base for the German Baltic fleet, and the centre for German sailing, the venue for the upcoming Olympic regatta in 1936.
The Kästners, a prominent Military family, are part of the fabric of the city, and its social, naval and yachting circles. The Nussbaums are the second generation of their family to be in service with the Kästners as domestic staff, but the two households have a closer bond than most.
As Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party claw their way to power in 1933, life has never looked better for families like the Kästners. There is only one problem.
The Nussbaums are Jews.
The Sturmtaucher Trilogy documents the devastating effect on both families of the Nazis’ hateful ideology and the insidious erosion of the rights of Germany’s Jews.
When Germany descends ever deeper into dictatorship, General Erich Kästner tries desperately to protect his employees, and to spirit them to safety.
As the country tears itself apart, the darkness which envelops a nation threatens not only to destroy two families, but to plunge an entire continent into war.’
About the author:
Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.
He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.
He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.
His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.
He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.
He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.
Alan Jones has set himself a mammoth task with his new historical WW2 trilogy of books that begins with the magnificent The Gathering Storm. Not many authors would be brave enough to undertake a project the length and breadth of this one, but if this first book is anything to go by, all of the author’s hard work and painstaking research has most definitely been worth it. His attention to detail is exquisite as he brings to life the compelling story of two families torn apart by evil. Instantly drawing you into the lives of these characters, we join them in the run up to the start of WW2, just as Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party begin their ascent into power.
Beginning in North Germany in 1933, we are introduced to the Kastners, a prominent Military family who are high ranking members of the community. The Nussbaums, a Jewish family, are in service to the Kastners, although the two families have a much closer bond than would usually be expected. The families get on so well that even their children have played together, becoming more like friends than employer and employee. But danger is on the horizon and everything is about to change, with the tension becoming almost unbearable as Hitler continues his rise into power and Germany rapidly descends into a dictatorship.
General Erich Kastner knows he must do everything in his power to help the Nassbaums, even though the odds are sorely stacked against him. It’s heartbreaking to see the change in attitude some people, even those who were once closest to them, have towards the Nassbaums as the rights of Germany’s Jews are stripped away. As the threat of war looms ever closer, the story moves between General Kastner and Yosef and Miriam as they try to deal with the changing world around them.
The Gathering Storm is such an apt title as this is exactly how it feels as you read. You can feel an increasing sense of menace as the story continues and, even though you know what’s coming, you still cling desperately to the hope that the Nassbaums can find their way to safety before it’s too late. The horrors inflicted on the Jewish people as war moves ever closer is devastating and I can only imagine that things are going to become even more heartbreaking as the trilogy continues.
Alan Jones has written a stunning piece of historical fiction that I know will stay with me for a long time to come. He breathes life into these characters, making them feel so real that you find yourself holding your breath as the story moves forward to its heart stopping conclusion. I felt bereft as I turned the final page and can’t wait to rejoin the Kastners and the Nassbaums as their story continues in Flight of the Shearwater.
The Gathering Storm is a book of epic proportions, but please don’t let the sheer size of it put you off picking it up. It’s an outstanding read that’s filled to the brim with raw emotion and rich historical detail that draws you in from the very first page, until you become so completely immersed in it that you don’t ever want it to end. The research that must have gone into this book is extraordinary and I can honestly say that this is the best book in this genre I’ve ever read.
The Gathering Storm is a must read for anyone who loves WW2 historical fiction and is a book I would highly recommend.
The Gathering Storm is available to purchase now:
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