1918: The Great War, as it was already known, had reached an inflection point. The course of the war and the future of European civilization now rested on one decision: Would Germany, having prevailed in the East against a Russia crumbling into revolution and chaos, now attempt to crush her British and French foes in one last desperate offensive before the emergent American Army arrives in its overwhelming force?
Or could a small band of patriotic Germans led by a Crown Prince and a General use high position and influence to persuade their unyielding leadership to simply declare victory and withdraw homeward, leaving their opponents to justify a continuing and increasingly senseless slaughter?
Who Desires Peace…, the first book in The Great War Won trilogy, chronicled the schemes and adventures of the conspirators laying the foundations of their peace offensive. In this Book Two, …Should Prepare for War, their story begins with the historic peace negotiations with Leon Trotsky and the new government of Bolshevik Russia, followed by the unleashing of Germany’s armies as those talks fail. An unexpected plea for help propels a German team into the heart of Saint Petersburg in search of an imprisoned American notable, then several calls for a peaceful resolution to the war prove inconclusive, including an intrepid mission to meet face-to-face with the American General Black Jack Pershing.
Finally, the tenuous state of inaction along the Western Front is shattered by first, an unexpected Allied offensive, then a fierce German counterattack stopped only by the extraordinary courage and vigor of the new American Expeditionary Force at Chateau Thierry and Belleau Wood, setting the stage for the final showdown between Germany and America in Book Three, A Power of Recognized Superiority.
A thoroughly engaging look at WW1, book 2 of the series continues the exploits of the fictional General von Treptow and his attempts to bring the war to an end. As in the first book, I was taken in by the number of events that take place, the plots and subplots that drive the narrative…but what good are those story lines without interesting characters to make those events happen…what good are those interesting characters without believable dialogue? Well my peeps and fellow travelers, you need not fret over those aspects of the story. The characters are lifelike, some even larger than life…the dialogue is full of the sharp repartee, the clever retort, the belligerent espousing of opinion…an example – a meeting of David Lloyd George, Churchill, and Teddy Roosevelt (and others):
“thoroughly pissed Prime Minister rose to depart. “Well, then, perhaps not the King today. Arthur, Henry, we shall take our leave. Thank you, Lord Elsmere, for your hospitality. Winston, I should very much like to see you at Number Ten. Four this afternoon. Arthur, please see to your Dutch colleague. Good day, Colonel Roosevelt.” As the Englishmen trooped out, Balfour gave a shrug with his backward glance. Roosevelt turned to Churchill, “Winston, was it something I said?”
An excellent sequel that will keep you turning the pages (or swiping your Kindle). Intrigue, adventure, danger, and even love await you amidst the turmoil of a cataclysmic world changing event. 5 stars