The Advocate: A Novel of World War II

Bill Mesce, Jr., Author, Steven G. Szilagyi, Author, Steve Szilagui, Joint Author
Bill Mesce, Jr., Author, Steven G. Szilagyi, Author, Steve Szilagui, Joint Author Bantam $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-553-80118-7
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-307-48096-5
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Virtually certain to be one of the year's big hits (and a strong movie candidate), this beautifully crafted WWII thriller starts with a bang and rarely falters on its path toward gloomy enlightenment about the moral quagmires of war. An American pilot shoots down one of his own men over the Channel Islands in 1943, then seemingly deliberately blasts two civilian witnesses on the ground. Mesce (who makes his writing debut) and Szilagyi (whose novel Photographing Fairies became a British film) delineate the fine line between military strategy and murder as the investigation into the pilot's actions quickly turns into the coverup of a much larger atrocity. At the heart of this investigation is middle-aged American lawyer Maj. Harry Voss, who joined the judge advocate general's office at the urging of his much flashier and more political best friend, Col. Joe Ryan. Now Ryan puts Harry in charge of the apparently slam-dunk case against Maj. Al Markham, who admits to shooting down a frightened and disaffected junior officer in a moment of severe stress. But something about the case doesn't sit right with Voss: he and his two investigators (a hotheaded young lieutenant and a reticent captain, both instantly credible) dig deeper and uncover a tragic military strike that the entire Allied Command is intent on keeping quiet. The authors fill their story with authentic period detail, making the much-traveled landscape of wartime England leap to fresh life, and all their charactersDespecially the American and British brassDare equally interesting. Even the somewhat mysterious narrator, a one-legged Scottish journalist who remains nameless through most of the book, turns out to be the perfect person to put together all the pieces of this exciting, original and finally heartbreaking story. (Sept.)
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