AN ARMY OF ONE
By Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher’s third entry in his John Rossett alternative history series pulls his main character out of London, where the Nazis have consolidated their victory and returned society to a semblance of normalcy, and drops him in Manchester where the scars of the war are fresh and Nazi control is tenuous.
Rossett wants to put the war behind him and return to his police work, but it’s not an easy adjustment, especially when he has to kill a corrupt fellow copper in self-defense. While he doesn’t jump at the request by Kriminalpolizei (Criminal Police—Kripo for short) General Major Neumann to accompany him to pick up a German sniper who killed the American attaché in Manchester, Rossett has to admit to himself that it might be best to get out of London for a while.
What he finds in Manchester is a world where the SS, the local police, and Resistance fighters have a fluid relationship where their natural enmity can be overcome by need and greed. The American attaché was negotiating the transfer out of the country of a truck full of gold, part of the Bank of England’s reserves. It could have been a mutually beneficial transaction, until the sniper killed the attaché and hid the gold.
But this is no ordinary sniper. Karl Bauer is known as The Bear, a swift and cunning operative who worked solo against the enemies of the Reich. He sees in Rossett, who’s been promoted in the press as The British Lion, a worthy adversary. The rubble of Manchester becomes the field of combat for the two men, even as the other players on the field try to eliminate both of them. The gold is the prize for whoever manages to survive—if anyone does.
“An Army of One” is a non-stop roller coaster ride from its opening scene to the final sentence, filled with sharp turns and drops that take your breath away. Schumacher does an excellent job creating an alternative reality that feels and tastes and smells completely real.