First of all, this is an extraordinary book! The subject matter drew me in, primarily because I’d studied a lot of WWII in college and it’s an era I enjoy, but I had no idea that it would be so massively insightful and entertaining. I was thrilled about the latter part as well, since I’m into reading espionage and intrigue-based books. I think this novel deserves to be garnering a little more enthusiasm from historical readers and historians themselves who like in-depth, research based books from an era where there’s many books to choose from on the shelves, but not as much about this particular segment taking place in Central Europe.
The book is extremely long, at almost 800 pages, so it would make for a great purchase when you want a book to really study and read over a length of time. It’s one to savor, like a long-length movie marathon. It’s one of those great gifts, and not to be sexist because as a female I liked it too, that makes for a cool Father’s Day gift or a history buff’s birthday. It’s a rare gift book, where you really feel like you are giving someone an epic read that they’ll treasure. I remember being assigned books like this in college to read and discuss, so as well, this would be a great novel for students.
I like this description from Amazon, so though it’s long, I’m going to post it too. It will give you a great idea of the novel before I continue on with my review:
The Sudetenland. To Europe’s well-heeled in the Nineteenth Century, this was a place of world-renowned spa resorts nestled in the mountains ringing Western Bohemia. But bad blood and unfinished business from the First World War had taken their toll on the Sudetendeutsche – three million ethnic Germans unhappily living in the new nation of Czechoslovakia. In 1930 they were just one more ethnic complication among many in Central Europe. Eight years later, these people had found a champion in Adolph Hitler, and the smart money in Paris and London wagered the next World War would detonate in these storybook mountains and valleys.
Sudetenland© is a sweeping historical novel set against Central European intrigue during the late 1930s leading up to 1938’s Munich Conference. Having swallowed up Austria, Adolph Hitler now covets Czechoslovakian territory. Only France has the power to stand beside the government in Prague against Germany… but will she? The characters are the smart and sometimes wise-cracking men and women of this era – the foreign correspondents, intelligence officers, diplomats and career military – who are on the front lines of that decade’s most dangerous political crisis.
Sudetenland© introduces readers to Jan Burda, the Czech intelligence officer who must thwart the Nazis operating on his own soil; Ros Talmadge, the Paris-based American who is trying to make a name for herself as a foreign correspondent while staying one step ahead of her mercurial boss; Dietrich Morgen, the street brawler from Hamburg who found a home in Himmler’s SS; Ladislaw Capka, the Czechoslovak army tank commander trained in the finest French military academy who is determined to take the fight into Germany if war comes; Nathan Bulloch, the American military attaché in Prague who wanted to see the world but saw little reason in getting killed doing so; and Anton Krisch, who comes out of the Esterwegen concentration camp a much more dangerous man than when he was thrown in. With remarkable attention to historical detail, Sudetenland© also features man actual personages who played a vital role during this international crisis including Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill and Frantisek Moravec.
Hitler’s unshakeable will demands that the Sudetenland be ripped from Czechoslovakia and joined with Germany. If Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš ignores the advice of French premier Édouard Daladier and refuses to give up Bohemian territory willingly, then Hitler orders that it be taken by force. As the crisis builds over the summer of 1938, any spark, any perceived indignity could ignite the German dictator’s rage and start the war the leaders of France and Great Britain are so determined to avoid. Sudetenland© takes readers behind the scenes into the deliberations and high drama taking place within major European capitals such as Prague, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and London as the continent hurtles toward the crucible of a shooting war.
Chronis really must have challenged himself with this endeavor. His research is pain-staking and accurate, his times, places, and events are authentic, and yet, his characters are also genuine and engaging. They were smart, funny, and dynamic, with dimensional personalities and ease of connection. I really liked, being a journalist myself, how he used foreign correspondents (a dream job!) and other secretive operations people to propel the plot. He certainly must have taken his time as an author to intertwine all his research to the doings of his fictional characters as he seems to have perfectly coupled them into an thrilling historical novel.
Chronis knows his military speak and his history, having delved completely into the historical situation. He’s as precise as Tom Clancy when it comes to miitary details, but with descriptions and dialogue that are effortlessly endearing and captivating. His historical detail and research never really bogs down the novel though as some of those large military thrillers do for me. I was focused on this story and flipping the pages in anticipation.
There are many questions to ponder when reading, or after reading, this novel. It opens so many thought processes. He breathed out the narrative of this book, but never left gaps unfilled in a boring or strange manner. For the length of the book, his thriller and screen-type of writing kept the novel moving for me. I’d love to see this on the screen on a Saturday afternoon!
Chronis has completed an epic foray into WWII-era politics that is suspenseful, thrilling, and as well, endearing. It has intrigue, romance, and action enough that any historical reader will be enamored. I highly recommend this book for its amazing historical research and its engaging story. I look forward to Chronis considering to write a second book!
Sudetenland is the premiere novel by author George T. Chronis. The book delivers suspenseful and sweeping historical fiction set against Central European intrigue during the late 1930s leading up to 1938’s Munich Conference. Having swallowed up Austria, Adolph Hitler now covets Czechoslovakian territory. Only France has the power to stand beside the government in Prague against Germany… but will she? The characters are the smart and sometimes wise-cracking men and women of this era – the foreign correspondents, intelligence officers, diplomats and career military – who are on the front lines of that decade’s most dangerous political crisis. If Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš ignores the advice of French premier Édouard Daladier and refuses to give up Bohemian territory willingly, then Hitler orders that it be taken by force. The novel takes readers behind the scenes into the deliberations and high drama taking place within major European capitals such as Prague, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and London as the continent hurtles toward the crucible of a shooting war.
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Praise for Sudetenland~
“Chronis impresses with such a challenging and intriguing debut effort, well written, impeccably researched.”
— Melinda, Unshelfish
“Anyone that is looking for a thorough and rewarding read will enjoy Sudetenland.” — Diana, BookNerd
“The plot moves quickly along keeping you intrigued with well defined characters and great imagery to help immerse yourself in the story… I adored the way George managed to weave together the tragedy of war, depression and politics with romance, love and hope.” — Jennifer, pirategrl1014
Author George Chronis, Biography~
After years as a journalist and magazine editor, George T. Chronis decided to return to his lifelong passion, storytelling. A lover of both 1930s cinema and world history, Chronis is now devoted to bringing life to the mid-20th Century fictional narratives that have been in his thoughts for years.
Sudetenland© is his first novel. Taking place during turbulent times in Central Europe during the 1930s, the book took eight years to research and write. The author is already hard at work on his second novel.
Chronis is married with two daughters, and lives with his wife in a Southern California mountain community.
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