A downed airman, a family of French vintners, a company of Nazis racing south to repel a feared American invasion are driven together by a horrific storm in the opening pages of Hazards of War. Captain Hans Tiedemann may be a career SS officer, but he is also a cultured and thoughtful man. After commandeering the mansion of the Conti vineyards to secure a dry place to sleep for his men, the body of one of his junior officers is discovered in the wine cellar. Rather than summarily executing the French family, Tiedemann is determined to identify the killer. His skilled and experienced interrogation of the family members only leads him in contradictory circles, and his quest for the murderer is further complicated by the revelation that the Contis are harboring a British airman with a dubious story of how he came to be there.
Jonathan Paul Isaacs’ Hazards of War is a detective story set against the backdrop of World War II. Hazards of War, primarily told from the German point of view, reveals Mr. Isaacs’ extraordinary knowledge of his subject. The complex plot unfolds in clean and excellent prose through the voices of strong and well-developed characters, each with a personality faithful to his or her background. It is a story that builds to several false climaxes, hesitates, then peels another layer from the onion and lets the tension mount. It is a great tale with a pace that never falters.