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Book Review: Beacon of Vengeance by Patrick O’Bryon

I have been catching up on some sequels and series. There are some new authors I have been introduced to this past year that have really managed to keep me engaged and Patrick O’Bryon is one of the best.

You can read my review of his first book: “Corridor of Darkness” here.

“Beacon of Vengeance”, the new thriller inspired by his late father’s undercover life in Nazi Europe, is Volume Two in the “Corridor of Darkness” trilogy.

Book Review:

Patrick O’Bryon, a self-proclaimed Europhile who has traveled extensively, has a writer’s voice, language, and eloquent writing style perfect for Historical Fiction of this time period and location. O’Bryon’s ability to create realistic imagery and evoke human emotion with his words is incredible. “Corridor of Darkness”, his debut novel, sent chills up my spine as he described pre-war Germany in all of its splendor and chaos, and a thrilling and perilous chase across the countryside. The breath-taking book was masterfully crafted.

“Beacon of Vengeance” has Ryan Lemmon, an American professor and spy, intent on finding his friends, pursuing and being pursued across Occupied France. The pace is quick and steady throughout the book as spies and double agents appear, setting the stage for intrigue and suspense. Ryan Lemmon, as main character, was slow in getting out of the starting gate, but the author again masterfully set the stage for his next adventure. As things heated up I could not turn the pages fast enough to quell my anticipation.

The characters are people that we come to know intimately, both good and evil. Horst von Kredow, the dastardly, sadistic, Nazi villain, exercises cleverness that rivals that of Ryan Lemmon forcing Lemmon and his colleagues into dangerous and life-threatening situations. As often found in war, the lines blur between friend and foe. There are shocking revelations along the way. The author has a genuine gift in creating real presence for the reader. You feel as if you are there, participating in the story with the well-developed characters. Tension builds as you take two exciting steps forward and one horrifying step backward to finally come upon the phenomenal “show-down” conclusion. “Beacon of Vengeance” is a splendid central core for the trilogy and I eagerly await the final volume, “Fulcrum of Malice”. New characters have been introduced that have me excited for the next great adventure.

I am fascinated with the author’s skill and talent and highly recommend.

5 of 5 stars

You can visit with Patrick O’Bryon here, and read about his own personal experiences traveling abroad and his military history, as well as some delightful (and sometimes frightening) stories of his youth.

“Beacon of Vengeance” easily stands alone, but I recommend starting with the first book if you are new to the story:

A Premium Novel Worthy of Praise

Today I received a hard copy of one of the best books I have read in twenty years, autographed by the author, Patrick O’Bryon.  “Corridor of Darkness” is a book I highly recommend. I am most pleased to have this book in paperbound version. It is a historical thriller set in what becomes Nazi Germany. Patrick is an Indie author and owner of Brantome Press. His book is most professionally done.

I first read it on digital copy, and knew right away that I wanted a paper copy. It is a moving story filled with characters that you will remember forever. The writing style is phenomenal, and one I would like to study. I loved the vivid imagery of pre-war Germany, the manner in which the character personalities developed depth and evolved over the course of the passages.  The pace changes were perfect reflections of a languid aristocratic existence to one of excitement and adventure, fighting to survive in the most perilous of circumstances.

It is a comprehensive, yet intimate, book covering the life of an American reporter, Ryan Lemmon, who becomes a spy, his lusts and loves, youthful adventures as a student in Germany, his personal experiences in discovering the atrocities of the Nazi regime, the darkness and power of the regime, and the dangerous mission to bring both meaningful people and information out of the country. There are twists and turns throughout the book, that shock you with the unexpected. It is blended with colorful history, as the horror of the Holocaust begins to emerge. In the final chapters, you sit on the edge of your seat in suspense, unable to put the book down, turning quickly through the pages in a race to see what is about to happen next. This is a book that everyone should read at least once. I have already read it twice.

According to the U.S. census, 70% of all Americans can trace their roots back to Germany. Most of these people came to this country long before the Holocaust, settling in places as far south as Florida and as far west as California.  The eastern seaboard was inhabited primarily by those with German/Dutch heritage for a full century. Much of the heart of the country became home to those who settled and farmed here. Click on images to enlarge.

Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestries-by-County

1900 german nationals

My children’s great-grandparents on their father’s side were all German. Great Grandma Schultz, who lived to be 104 years, had parents who came to this country in the late 1800s. Her father built Victorian houses in Detroit. The Strodthoffs came as individuals in their early twenties on board separate boats that docked at Ellis Island. Great Grandpa Strodthoff , a painter, said he went to the docks with his Uncle and they saw the two sisters, Great Grandma and her sister, and he picked out the one that had the widest hips in hopes of having a wife who could easily bear children. They had immigrated in 1921, and kept their thick accents into their eighties.

View of Ellis Island with Liberty island in the background.
View of Ellis Island with Liberty island in the background.

Partick’s words in “Corridor of Darkness” brought back the stories that I recalled from my children’s immediate ancestors, and those relatives whom we visited with in 1985 that had remained in Germany. The relatives had shared some horrific tales and there was envy by many who resented not having been prepared or allowed to leave that country before and during WW II. Several of the old timers had unwittingly surrendered their souls to Nazi service to prevent perishing in a world that they did not fully understand. Others had Jewish friends who disappeared in the night, never to be heard from again. Many assisted those in need.

My daughter, in college, had opportunity, also, to do a study abroad that took her to visit some of these cousins again, and the younger ones all spoke fluent English and had no recollections of their Great Grandparent’s nightmares. At least, they weren’t spoken about.

I applaud Patrick O’Bryon’s literary work and look forward to his next novel, “Beacon of Vengeance”.

Thank you, Patrick! I will read it again and again, so I don’t expect it to remain in this pristine condition. It will most likely become quite dog-eared as I pass it around. I want my grown children to read it.

Read the stellar reviews and get your copy  here today!

You won’t be disappointed.

Book review: “Corridor of Darkness” by Patrick O’Bryon

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A stellar read!  Masterfully crafted and exceptionally well executed, the eloquent prose and rich descriptions easily carry the reader into a creatively imaginative world of pre-war Germany and the adventure and thrill to be discovered there.  This contemporary author has created the best example of “show” not “tell” that I have seen in twenty years. (Okay, I am telling my age here.) You “see” the emotion and “feel” the tension from the words as well as develop a sense of time and place. It is not merely what the characters are doing, but how they live and act or react in their space that becomes apparent in the words.

I don’t usually open a book review with gushing lines of praise, but this one is truly exceptional. I found this book fascinating in many ways, but the inspiration for its development is particularly interesting.  I don’t reprint book descriptions, but I want to take just a moment to tell you a little backstory. This is from the author’s own blog:

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Leonard L. O’Bryon

“In the fall of 1929 a young New York banker came to Berlin to study finance. The collapse of Wall Street convinced him to stay and pursue a doctorate in history. While Hitler rose to power the American became a favored guest of the old aristocracy, risked his life probing the most dangerous boroughs of the city, witnessed Communist street demonstrations and Nazi rallies, instigated a duel, and pursued the rescue of Jewish friends from under the eyes of the Gestapo. He went on to spy for his country.

That seeker of adventure was Leonard L. O’Bryon, my father. Inspired by his newspaper reports and private journals, Corridor of Darkness tells the story of dashing Ryan Lemmon, on assignment in Nazi Germany for the State Department. It is now 1938, and Ryan must discover his own dark side to counter the murder, treachery, and torture threatening a former girlfriend, and allow him to escape with a secret which could change the course of history.”

 

The author, Patrick O’Bryon, is a self-proclaimed Europhile who knows Germany, has lived there, studied and worked there.  Former academic in the field of Germanic Studies, Princeton Ph.D., interpreter and community liaison with the US Army in Germany.

The passion with which he writes is influenced by all of the above and I believe that is what separates “Corridor of Darkness” from the typical, pre-war German espionage novel. Already with the Awesome Indies Achiever’s gold Seal of Excellence, this book is destined to become a Best Seller!

Now, on to the review:

I loved this book so very much that I was compelled to read it twice.  The writing style had me enraptured from beginning to end. I was so taken by it that I wanted to study the techniques employed. I thoroughly enjoy a read that encourages me to think deeply on both the writing and the story.  The author has a powerful and confident writing voice. The eloquent prose serves well to set the reader into another time and place. The 20th century historical value alone makes it a worthy read, but O’Bryon gives us so much more.

Breaking away from the overdone linear style of the tired traditional spy novel, O’Bryon employs the technique of analepsis, or flashbacks, remarkably well. I loved the way the first half of the book ebbed and flowed with rich, fully fleshed out stories inside of the story. The action was well paced. As the plot and subplots unfolded, the characters, as well as their motivations, became very clear and real to me in a pre-war German world that was beautiful, exciting and dangerous.

This book offers all of the elements of a great novel, intrigue, historical value, adventure, thrill, mystery, espionage, violence, romance, lust, and love. Ryan Lemmon is dashing, clever and daring. His nemesis is despicable. Moving from pre-war Germany to the atrocities of Nazi Germany that led to imminent war, O’Bryon revs up the pace as Lemmon races across the countryside using wit, charm, weapons, and muscle in an effort to save his friends and their families and get intelligence back to America. The pace change lends a sense of urgency that was well timed.

I would give “Corridor of Darkness” a much higher score than 5 stars were it possible, and highly recommend this book. This historical thriller will leave you breathless and wanting more.  The author also sets up what is yet to come, so be sure to read the Epilogue, Afterword, and the Prologue to the much anticipated sequel, “Beacon of Vengeance”.

Visit with Patrick and read some other writing of his at his blog here: http://patrickwobryon.com/