V2: A Novel of World War Two

V2: A Novel of World War Two – Robert Harris

Set just prior to the end of the Second World War, Robert Harris’ V2 depicts Germany’s last-ditch effort to turn the tide in its favor with the development and deployment of their V2 ballistic missile.  The story follows two main characters – Kay Connolly, an ambitious British solider, and Willi Graf, a fictional colleague of the very real Wernher von Braun, the man who invented the V2 rocket that had been used to attack London.

I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

To be honest, this one was disappointing.  I just could not get into the story to the level I expected.  I often found myself reading ahead at times before forcing myself to go back and take it in properly.  I guess I just found it hopelessly dull at points, which is a shame because the only other Harris book I’d read – Fatherland – I very much enjoyed.  You would think the story of Hitler’s final idea to swing things in his favor would be a bit more compelling.

That said, I did find the real history surrounding the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force)’s role interesting.  Their job in collecting the data from the V2 rockets as they took off in hopes of finding and destroying the launch sites was very inspiring and the methods and calculations used to determine the German’s locations captured my attention.  I’d almost rather read a non-fiction book about their story rather than one with a somewhat cumbersome fictional backdrop that failed to grab me.

Willi Graf and his reluctant association with the German forces was engaging at times as it isn’t often I get the chance to read about wary members of the Nazi regime.  But like Kay, his story felt very paint-by-numbers and probably one I won’t be able to recall in a few weeks.

This one feels like one of those popcorn thrillers that you’d expect to fly under the radar but exceed expectations.  Unfortunately, it comes across as a DVD you’d find in a bargain bin at your discount department store.  There’s nothing offensive here.  It’s short, so it has that going for it.  It was OK.

Robert Harris’ V2 is scheduled for release on November 17, 2020.

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