For those who enjoyed the book or film of Band of Brothers, this book is a fascinating story set around the time of those events but
told this time from the German side behind the front line. The Rommel Mission follows Major Helder,
a member of the German army who is involved in troop movements during the first
days of the Normandy landings. He soon finds himself discovering information about Rommel's plans for the future if the war continues to be lost, as well as rumors of the fate of the Jews in the East. Major Helder finds himself being sounded out by Rommel and others in high command to see if he is willing to be a go-between to discuss surrender of the Western troops to the
Allies. However, events are moving faster than perhaps they are prepared for, and Helder's task is considerably harder than he had thought.
The Rommel Mission is very well-written with period detail, descriptions and characters well-drawn. It's interesting to read of the war from the point of view of someone 'back at base' who is directing actions rather than a soldier on the front line. We are given vignettes into the minds and thoughts of various soldiers, many of whom know that their deaths are almost inevitable. We see the bravery of many of these men as well as the destruction and savagery of war.
Unfortunately, a number of typographical/editing errors mar the book. 'Casualties' was twice rendered 'causalities', 'Goering' was 'Georing', 'Goebbels' variously 'Geobbels' and 'Geobbles,' 'Leipzig' as 'Liepzig', and throughout the novel, German words
are typed without accents - 'Fuhrer' for 'Führer', 'Hande hoch' for 'Hände hoch,' etc.
- which makes it strange to read for a German speaker. Sometimes German words are also spelled in a partly Anglicized form
- 'jawohl' appears as either 'yawohl' or 'yahwohl' in the story, although to truly
Anglicize the word, it should have been 'yavohl.' These are disappointing errors in an otherwise well-researched book.
This is an excellent story that doesn't drag despite most of the action being
in people's thoughts and plans rather than actual fighting. Sometimes it isn't easy to visualize the events and the locations
or keep track of who was there, but it is always an enjoyable read and a real change to
see a World War II novel written from the German point of view.