Book Review: Pegasus Falling by William E. Thomas

© Rglinsky | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Rglinsky | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

I initially wrote this review for ireadabookonce.com.  You can see the post on that website here.

This is an amazingly powerful book.  It is part of a trilogy, and the second part is due this spring.  The book is written by William E. Thomas, who was recruited into the Parachute Regiment in the British army during WWII.  He was a decorated soldier during his numerous drops into enemy territory.  According to the “about the author” section, Mr. Thomas began his writing career after he retired from a civilian position as a lab technician.  In 2006, Mr. Thomas was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and now resides in a care center.  His family is promoting his literature.

Here is the plot summary (from amazon.com):  “Arnhem, 1944. Captain Stanley Adam Malcolm Parker – Sammy to his friends – and his platoon have fought bravely, but it was always a losing battle. The bridge was unwinnable. After he and his men are forced into cattle trucks and transported across Germany on a three day journey without food or water, Sammy lashes out at an SS officer with brutal and devastating consequences…for him and his German opponent.

Instead of spending the rest of his war as a POW, Sammy is sent to a concentration camp.

Spared an immediate death, Sammy discovers firsthand the full horror of the final solution. Amongst the desperation and destitution of the camp, he encounters Naomi, a Jewish housewife from Dresden. Having seen her family murdered, Naomi has learned to survive by making the most unimaginable of sacrifices. She is the woman who Sammy comes to depend on to survive himself.

But when the camp is finally liberated, the couple are separated and Sammy embarks on a journey across a continent devastated by war and wracked by ongoing tensions to find out what happened to the woman he loves.”

Initially, I was confused about the characters and the timeline.  There are different chapters, but from one paragraph to another many months may have passed.  It was difficult at times to figure out the ‘when’ and ‘where’ and ‘who’ of a passage.  But as the book continues, the reader gets used to this type of formatting and begins to look for the “clues” to the time frame and character with each new paragraph.  If I would change anything about this book that would be it:  making the chapters more succinct and clarifying the characters.

Another issue was the different phrases and use of the German language throughout the book.  Perhaps being American puts me at a disadvantage here, as most Americans only speak English (and poorly at times).  But I think something is lost when the reader is unable to figure out the communication between some characters.  For example:  when Sammy is first encountering the Germans, almost a full page of German is used. Occasionally a device will be employed to convey the gist of the conversation, i.e. someone translating, but overall I found myself lost during those passages.

Additionally, British spellings and British idioms are used throughout.  The onboard dictionary loaded into my Kindle was extremely helpful, but the majority of times, the term I was searching for could not be found. I enjoy learning these new terms, but sometimes it is difficult to read through, especially when the reader can only understand every third word.  But it did lend a truly interesting tone to the entire book.

This book is a very powerful piece of literature.  It is extremely moving, emotional, and raw.  The story is engrossing, a page turner at times.  I did not expect it to be so romantic, and I am amazed that a man was able to pour that much emotion into the book.  It is at once a testament to the horrors of war, a love story, a history of the Holocaust and the subsequent founding of the nation of Israel.

The love story on many accounts is amazing.  The idea of someone surviving something as horrible as the Holocaust because of the love of another is mesmerizing.  The reader actually aches during the passages that feature separation.  It is also a commentary on different types of love.  Love between man and wife, love between fellow survivors, love between friends.

Overall, I give this book a 4.5 star rating.  I am intensely anticipating the next installment.  The entire work is collectively called The Cypress Branches, and the second part is to be released soon.  I will be one of the first in line (figuratively) for this book.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Amanda’s Favs for 2013 — Part One | The Eclectic Bookworm
  2. Trackback: Book Review: It Never Was You by William E. Thomas | The Eclectic Bookworm
  3. charliegirlteachergirl
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 12:46:15

    Thanks for the head’s up! Shoving religious views at people always annoys me, like when church people go door to door and try to “bring God into the home” just because you’re of a different religion.

    Reply

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