“Battleground” eBook was published in 2016 (paper version published in 2002) and was written by Christopher Nicole (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Nicole). Mr. Nicole published more than 200 Fiction and Non-fiction books. This is the third book of his four volume “Balkan Saga” series.
I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in 1942 Yugoslavia, with the primary character being British Captain Tony Davis.
Davis, wounded earlier in World War II, has been assigned in the Balkans as a liaison officer. When the Germans invade, he is caught behind enemy lines and joins Tito in mounting resistance to the Germans. He quickly becomes a resource to Tito and earns a position on the German’s wanted list.
When Tito’s forces must move into the mountains to survive and prepare to bring the war back to the German occupying force, Davis volunteers to stay behind to disrupt the German pursuit of Tito. While he knows this may be a suicide mission, he knows that his success is the only way Tito and the partisan army will survive.
There are women around Davis that complicate things, each in their own way. French Sandrine Fouquet is Davis’ girlfriend and second in command. Ruthless but beautiful Sasha Janitz is one of Davis’ and Fouquet’s trusted fighters and has been Davis’ lover for a while when Fouquet was thought dead. Sixteen year old Jelena Brolic has become a partisan and has become very, very close to Janitz. Angela (Blintoft) Wassermann is the wife of the German SS commander. There is a tangle of emotions between the women, with love and hate often combined for the same person.
I found this 6.5 hour read of 232 pages interesting. There was about an equal share of military action and romantic intrigue. The basic plot was interesting, though characters changing their allegiances after only a day or two of mild coercion is hard to believe. I give this novel a 3.9 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.
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