The Amber Eye
(Photo:Novel Book Cover)
The notorious Hans Frank, Governor of Nazi-occupied Krakow marches in Market Square prior to the city’s fall to the Red Army in January, 1945.
Based on an actual mission undertaken in 1944, Allen Paul’s novel is grounded in meticulous research gathered, in part, during a year in Poland as a Fulbright Scholar. The book follows
his non-fiction European bestseller, Katyń: Stalin’s Massacre and the Triumph of Truth.
The backdrop for his historical thriller is a Forgotten War in which Poles sought to win back independence from their implacable foes, the Nazis and Soviets. The conflict was barely known in the West, where Stalin was widely seen as an indispensable friend and ally.
The novel’s two main characters, Wit and Maja, are thrust unexpectedly to the forefront of the daring raid in mid-1944. Wit, a reclusive academic, escaped to London early in the war; brash Maja is a battle-tested underground radio operator. When the Germans take evidence of a mass murder ordered by Stalin to Krakow, the underground decides to seize it and exploit it to provoke a firestorm of outrage in the West against the Soviet dictator.
The Polish government-in-exile in London orders Wit, a forensic archaeologist, back to Poland to authenticate German claims. On arrival, he learns that the mission leader has been caught in a street roundup and sent to a labor camp. Wit is ordered to take his place until a new mission leader can be found. Maja opposes the decision; she sees Wit as a hopelessly unqualified amateur. Her worst fears are confirmed when he botches his role in a raid on the lab where the evidence is held. The pair escapes but a close companion and co-conspirator is killed.
With nowhere to turn, Wit and Maja return to the estate north of Krakow where the raid was staged. Jewish and other members of the intelligentsia are hiding there from the Gestapo. They ostracize the couple fearing their presence will lead to deadly reprisals. Isolated, with only each other to turn to, they fall in love. When Maja tells Wit she’s Jewish, he asks her to marry him but knows he must first explain his failure at the lab. His admission comes moments after they first make love. Feeling betrayed Maja storms off in rage.
They reconcile just as the Germans move the evidence to a famous salt mine near Krakow. In a second attempt to seize it, they confront Yegov, a Soviet agent sent to destroy all evidence of Stalin’s guilt. Wit knows the mine well, having discovered a frieze there before the war of a warrior carved by the Sarmatians, steppe nomads said to be the ancestors of the Poles. The warrior had an amber eye with a firefly inclusion reflecting the belief of many ancients that the meaning of history can be revealed by a blinking firefly. Their clash with Yegov leads to a triumph in which Wit and Maja are liberated from the bondage of Poland’s blood-soaked past.
Honey the Dixie Dingo Dog
(Photo: Honey head and shoulders shot (attached).)
Just released! Honey tells the story in a charming southern voice … the story of a swamp dog that’s rescued just before being shot. Later, a mystery killer stalks the swamp as Honey trains for a major agility championship. How Honey performs at the championship and the fate if the killer make for a thrilling read.
(Photo: Illustration of the book’s villains.)
The trapper who nearly shoots Honey thinks she’s a coyote. She’s rescued in the nick of time by a woman who knows just how rare her breed is—that it’s probably the oldest in North America, a Native American dog predating European settlement by many centuries. For years Miss Jane has been fighting to save Dixie Dingos living wild in swamps along the Savannah River from extinction.*
She names her new friend Honey and they quickly bond. Honey’s being trained for a major agility championship when a massacre at Timm’s Creek comes to light. One of the killers is Topper Guy, the very same trapper who caught Honey. When Miss Jane confronts him he dismisses Honey as worthless stray and says she has no chance at the upcoming championship.
The upshot is a high stakes wager: Miss Jane’s prize stud horse, de Sota, against Topper Guy’s guns and a pledge not to shoot another dingo.
On the first day of the championship, Honey is intimidated by Topper Guy’s taunts and runs poorly. But the next day his bullying goes too far, and Honey’s jitters give way to a steely resolve. She finishes only two seconds behind the leader. On the last day of competition, Honey’s wild, devil-may-care genes take over and she wins in record time.
Honey’s tale is based on the true story of ever-lurking danger that threatens Dixie Dingos with extinction. Her wild genes make Honey a survivor, a great competitor and a loveable companion. These special traits fuel Miss Jane’s determination and desire to save her breed.
(Button: Order from Amazon)
(Photo: Katyn book cover.)