Auschtwiz 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.
The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.
Print Length: 475 pages
Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (22 Sept. 2016)
I’ve read quite a few books by Andrew Gross over the years and always enjoyed his writing but The One Man marks a significant departure from his previous suspense novels. The author has boldly changed direction and written a novel that is part historical and part thriller. Andrew Gross visits the horrors of Auschwitz in this harrowing yet compelling thriller. I was stunned by the overall impact this story had on me, I spent much of this book reading through my tears. It’s a novel that’s exciting, harrowing, riveting and haunting.
I read lots and I mean lots of books and normally once I’ve finished a book I move on to the next one no problem, but I found that days later I’m still thinking about this book. I would be the first to say I’m not normally a huge fan of historical fiction but after reading The One Man I would certainly read more books in this genre if they were all of this high standard. This is a story of the human will to survive against all the odds. Nathan Blum escaped from the Polish ghetto by the skin of his teeth. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life and sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man Alfred Mendl. What follows is a heart pounding adrenaline fuelled read. It brings to life the horrors that occurred inside the concentration camps. It also shows how strong and courageous man can be when met with evil.
The One Man only contains a small band of characters, but they were so well depicted I found myself immersed in their story, hence the very emotional read. Although Auschwitz is central to the story it was never the authors intention to write the definitive book on it, as he felt the atrocities there have already been well recorded. True to his word Andrew Gross depicts terrible and heartbreakingly realistic scenes, but it never felt gratuitous within the context of the story as they are very much a backdrop to the main story. Although the scenes do make The One Man an emotional and haunting read.
I found my heart racing constantly as the plot progressed, a sign that this was a truly “thrilling” read. Masterfully told The One Man makes for a disturbing and highly emotional read, both gripping and intelligent I can’t recommend this book highly enough.