About The Road to Freedom by Shawn Pollock
“We could go to Elbe River.” Kohler didn’t have to say the rest. After a baleful stare, the captain did it for him.
“You want to surrender to the Americans.” Kohler gulped.
In 1945, World War II is ending but not in favor of Germany. Hans Kohler is a young Mormon German who knows more about farming than being a soldier. A worn copy of the Book of Mormon is the only thing that brings him comfort.
Captain Christoph Meier seems to be the perfect German soldier. His pristine Aryan features and strong family ties to the Nazi Party should have placed him at a far better post than this unit. Instead, he’s leading broken veterans and inexperienced greenies.
When the Russians attack their unit, it leaves Meier and Kohler trapped behind enemy lines. To get past snipers, the Nazi SS, and the Russian Army, they need to use all of their skills, including believing that God wants them to survive.
The Road to Freedom is a World War II novel. It’s a really well written one by a debut author. Many of the World War II books I’ve read include a bit of romance to break up the hard things that happen in the story. This one doesn’t really. I did like the way the author had the characters do flashbacks to important times in their lives. I loved the way the reader gets a sense of what the character is like and why from these flashbacks.
The main two characters in this one are Hans Kohler and Christoph Meier. They have an interesting connection. Christoph is the captain of Hans’ army unit. He’s a man of the world. He’s been in Hitler’s Youth patrol and was very close to becoming an SS Officer. His family was not happy when he decided not to become an SS Officer. His father had known Adolf Hitler and was close to him.
Hans is almost night and day different from Christoph. His family had been contacted by Mormon missionaries before the war. They joined the LDS Church and changed their lives all around for it. I loved the way he would pray and the answers to his prayers would always come. They always came in unusual and unexpected ways, but they always came.
There are other characters in this book, but Hans and Christoph are the only two the reader comes to know well. As you can imagine, on the field of battle, there are a lot of the characters who just don’t make it. These two happen to, most likely because of Hans’ prayers in their behalf.
The Road to Freedom shows a different side of World War II than you normally see. You see the point of view of a people who thought they were fighting for the right, when they were actually in the wrong. You see young men who were forced into a war that they should never have been forced into. And you see what happened to the men who were guards over the prison camps, both mentally and what happened when they were found.
The plot of this one is full of action and danger. I liked the way it grabbed my interest from the very beginning and it didn’t let go. There was always another danger around the next corner. Anytime I thought the two main characters would be out of trouble, they just weren’t. And the ending is so well done!
If you’re looking for a great World War II novel to read, look no further than this one!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A rumbling rose in the distance; it was harsh, mechanized, and unwelcome. He watched as a truck appeared in the west, coming from the town he had just left.
Only one. He sighed with relief. He could handle one, and maybe the driver could help him. He pushed himself upright and went to the shoulder of the road and waved. The truck stopped. The driver leaned over and pushed the passenger door open.
“Dobroye utro!” he said. Then, with a shake of his head, he said, “I mean, good morning! Do you need a ride?”
Christoph backed away, suddenly panic-stricken at the sound of the driver’s voice. An instinct surged inside him–primal and violent–triggered by those words, that accent. He tried to push it down, but the anxiety ignited once again at the sound of the truck flaring again. His mind raced and his heart pounded.The driver had offered the ride in broken German, but “dobroye utro” was “good morning” in Russian.
In the late war, every German had learned to fear the Russians. He especially knew that fear. He had survived on it. And now, a Russian was here?
Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong.
About the author
Shawn Pollock grew up Cache Valley, Utah, served a mission in Japan, and graduated from Utah State University with degrees in Professional Writing and Instructional Technology. He works as an instructional designer in the software industry. His short story, “Hats,” won first place in The New Era magazine’s fiction contest. Any time not devoted to work and family goes to cooking, reading about history, and participating in the League of Utah Writers. The Road to Freedom is his first novel.
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