cover image VICTORY


Barrett Tillman, . . Forge, $27.95 (768pp) ISBN 978-0-312-87462-9

This hefty, thoroughly absorbing anthology, a companion to Coonts's Combat, gathers novellas about WWII from 10 leading thriller and military fiction writers. Some are character driven, like "Blood Bond" by the late Harold Robbins, about an American Jew working undercover as an SS officer, and Ralph Peters's "Honor," about the reflections of a German officer after defeat, as he makes his way home on foot through American- and British-occupied territory. Other entries make technology the major player. Coonts's "The Sea Witch" and James Cobb's "Eyes of the Cat" romanticize the PBY Catalina, a lumbering, graceless plane that was not state of the art even back in 1942, but was versatile and rugged. An American pilot parachutes into Nazi-occupied France and makes off with a Messerschmitt jet fighter in Jim DeFelice's "Wolf Flight." David Hagberg's intricately plotted "V5" explores the German rocket program and anthrax research as it weaves together the stories of Brits and Americans working undercover in Berlin: Benjamin Steinberg, a German Jewish machinist who's spying for the allies; an American pilot working for MI6; a young woman spy who's seducing a German general; and her husband, who, unbeknownst to her, is also on a secret intelligence mission in Berlin. WWII buffs and military fiction fans will have a long and luxurious feast. (May 6)

Forecast:Coonts has seized on a previously hard-to-sell format—the novella—and turned it into something profitable. Expect this volume to follow up on the successes of Combat.