cover image The Saboteur

The Saboteur

Andrew Gross. Minotaur, $26.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-07951-0

For this average WWII thriller, bestseller Gross (The One Man) draws on the true story of the efforts of a small team of Norwegian patriots to halt the Nazi program to build an atomic bomb by sabotaging heavy water production at a remote factory in Norway. The book’s sluggish first half centers on the team’s preparation for the mission and the wait for an ideal insertion moment. The second half also contains long periods of relative inactivity, though the action picks up whenever the valiant Norwegians encounter the Germans and their supporters, the Hirden of the Nasjonal Samling party. In an author’s note, Gross reveals that his lead, Kurt Nordstrom, is based on a real participant in the raids on the Norsk Hydro factory and Mael ferry, but Nordstrom comes across as a caricature of the hardy and capable hero. Nordstrom’s primary foe, Capt. Dieter Lund of the Hird, is similarly a stock villain. Still, history buffs may appreciate the skill with which Gross combines fact and fiction. 125,000-copy announced first printing; author tour. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Aug.)