Author: Douglas W. Jacobson
Title: Night of Flames
Publisher: McBooks Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1939 the Germans invade Poland, setting off a rising storm of violence and destruction. For Anna and Jan Kopernik the loss is unimaginable. She is an assistant professor at a university in Krakow; he, an officer in the Polish cavalry. Separated by war, they must find their own way in a world where everything they ever knew is gone.
Anna’s father, a prominent intellectual, is deported to a death camp, and Anna must flee to Belgium where she joins the Resistance. Meanwhile, Jan escapes with the battered remnants of the Polish army to Britain. When British intelligence asks him to return to Poland in an undercover mission to contact the Resistance, he seizes the opportunity to search for his missing wife.
Through the long night of Nazi occupation, Anna, Jan, and ordinary people across Europe fight a covert war of sabotage and resistance against the overwhelming might of the German war machine. The struggle seems hopeless, but they are determined to take back what is theirs.
Anna’s eyes snapped open and she sat bolt upright. The shrill sound blasted into her brain, penetrating through the fog of sleep like an icy wind. She blinked and looked around the dark room, trying to focus on shadowy images as the sound wailed on and on.
She ran to the window. It was still dark but the night sky held a hint of gray. An early morning mist shrouded the street lamps casting a gloomy, almost spooky glow along the deserted sidewalk below. The grating noise of the air-raid siren raised the hair on the back of her neck and suddenly she was shivering. Anna crossed her arms over her chest and stared into the dull, charcoal sky. Then she heard another sound.
It came from the west, a deep angry drone like a swarm of giant bees, growing louder by the second. Anna tried to move but her feet didn’t respond.
Immobilized, riveted in place, she stared out the open window as the pounding vibration of a hundred propellers enveloped her. The thunderous roar of the bombers drowned out the air raid sirens and the entire building seemed to sway in rhythm with the oscillations.
Anna snapped out of the spell and instinctively reached out to pull the window closed. A flash of light blinded her and an ear-shattering blast threw her backwards amidst a shower of glass and falling plaster. She fell heavily against a small wooden night table and collapsed on the floor.
Douglas W. Jacobson is an engineer, business owner and World War Two history enthusiast. Doug has traveled extensively in Europe researching stories of the courage of common people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. His debut novel, Night of Flames: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007 by McBooks Press, and was released in paperback in 2008. Night of Flames won the 2007 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD from the Wisconsin Library Association. Doug has also published articles on Belgium’s WW2 escape organization, the Comete Line; Poland’s 1st Armored Division; and the liberation of Antwerp. Doug has just completed his second novel set in Europe at the end of WW2. You can visit his blog at www.douglaswjacobson.blogspot.com.