‘An Honorable German’ military fiction

  Every now and then I decide I need to get out of my comfort zone and try a little something new.
  I do enjoy historical fiction, but military fiction is something I rarely pick up, especially after the stomach-churning encounter I had with Jonathan Littell’s controversial “The Kindly Ones.”
  So when Charles McCain’s “An Honorable German” crossed my desk, I did have to think about spending time on another WWII book, especially one featuring a U-Boat commander as the main character.
  A U-Boat? I don’t know anything about submarines except that I don’t want to be on one. Doesn’t really sound like chick lit — and it isn’t. There isn’t anything vapid about “An Honorable German.”
  Maximilian Brekendorf is a proud naval officer who loves Germany, the sea and his fiancee, Mareth. The young officer serves his country well, surviving harrowing battles that could have left him trapped at the bottom of the ocean.
  Early in his career Max serves under a captain who ingrains in him the mores of naval service, explaining the high standards of those who serve on the sea after an English crew is taken prisoner and treated with courtesy and respect.
  “We don’t owe this to the English, sir. You know what they did to us after the First War. they meant to destroy us then and they mean to destroy us now.”
  The captain looked at Max. His smile faded at the edges. Quietly he said, “Who meant to destroy us, Maximilian? The bosun’s mate from Huntsman? The crew of Ashlea? These men are sailors, as are we. They follow their orders, as do we. They love their country, as do we. And they are honorable men, as I hope that we are, too. Do they not deserve our respect?” …
  Captain Langsdorff looked calmly at Max for a few moments. “And you are a German naval officer, Oberleutnant Brekendorf, and our country and our navy will be judged by your conduct, which is why you must always uphold the honor of our flag and our navy. Always.”

  Max takes the captain’s words to heart. But as the Nazis grow more powerful and desperate the divide between Max, who has not joined the Nazi party, and his country grows wide. Max is faced with the moral dilemma of staying true to himself or bowing to those who command him.
  “An Honorable German” captivates readers with action-packed battles painted in a way that puts a human face on the losses of war. The book is well-researched, offering readers a look into the psyche of the military men that served the Reich. But the novel isn’t only about war, it’s also about love. Max’s relationship with his fiancee is sweet and his desire to protect her romantic. The love affair adds an interesting angle to a very human portrait of the fear, bravery, friendship and loss encountered during wartime.
  Readers who enjoy historical or military fiction, naval or otherwise, will certainly be captivated by this debut novel. For readers unsure of war stories, “An Honorable German” is worth the risk of sailing outside your comfort zone.

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