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The Last of the Seven

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A spellbinding novel of World War II based on the little-known history of the “X Troop”—a team of European Jews who escaped the Continent only to join the British Army and return home to exact their revenge on Hitler’s military. A lone soldier wearing a German uniform stumbles into a British military camp in the North African desert with an incredible story to tell. He is t A spellbinding novel of World War II based on the little-known history of the “X Troop”—a team of European Jews who escaped the Continent only to join the British Army and return home to exact their revenge on Hitler’s military. A lone soldier wearing a German uniform stumbles into a British military camp in the North African desert with an incredible story to tell. He is the only survivor of an undercover operation meant to infiltrate a Nazi base, trading on the soldiers’ perfect fluency in German. For this man is not British born but instead a German Jew seeking revenge for the deaths of his family back home in Berlin. As the Allies advance into Europe, the young lieutenant is brought to recover in Sicily, where he’s recruited by a British major to join the newly formed “X Troop,” a commando unit composed of German and Austrian Jews that’s training for a top secret mission at a nearby camp in the Sicilian hills. They are all “lost boys,” driven not by patriotism but by vengeance. Drawing on meticulous research into this unique group of soldiers, The Last of the Seven is a lyrical, propulsive historical novel perfect for readers of Mark Sullivan, Robert Harris and Alan Furst.


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A spellbinding novel of World War II based on the little-known history of the “X Troop”—a team of European Jews who escaped the Continent only to join the British Army and return home to exact their revenge on Hitler’s military. A lone soldier wearing a German uniform stumbles into a British military camp in the North African desert with an incredible story to tell. He is t A spellbinding novel of World War II based on the little-known history of the “X Troop”—a team of European Jews who escaped the Continent only to join the British Army and return home to exact their revenge on Hitler’s military. A lone soldier wearing a German uniform stumbles into a British military camp in the North African desert with an incredible story to tell. He is the only survivor of an undercover operation meant to infiltrate a Nazi base, trading on the soldiers’ perfect fluency in German. For this man is not British born but instead a German Jew seeking revenge for the deaths of his family back home in Berlin. As the Allies advance into Europe, the young lieutenant is brought to recover in Sicily, where he’s recruited by a British major to join the newly formed “X Troop,” a commando unit composed of German and Austrian Jews that’s training for a top secret mission at a nearby camp in the Sicilian hills. They are all “lost boys,” driven not by patriotism but by vengeance. Drawing on meticulous research into this unique group of soldiers, The Last of the Seven is a lyrical, propulsive historical novel perfect for readers of Mark Sullivan, Robert Harris and Alan Furst.

30 review for The Last of the Seven

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    This novel is descriptive and very gruesome in places. It is, after all a war story, but then it is so beautiful in other places, as it is also a beautifully sad love story that is deeply moving. The story is heartbreaking telling another facet of WWII that I was not aware of, but triumphant at other times . It’s based on the true story of a band of German Jewish men in a secret commando troop who fight to revenge the loss of their families to the Nazis. “He sat there alone, for a long while. He This novel is descriptive and very gruesome in places. It is, after all a war story, but then it is so beautiful in other places, as it is also a beautifully sad love story that is deeply moving. The story is heartbreaking telling another facet of WWII that I was not aware of, but triumphant at other times . It’s based on the true story of a band of German Jewish men in a secret commando troop who fight to revenge the loss of their families to the Nazis. “He sat there alone, for a long while. He wept for everything, his loss and love and youth, and then he stopped it. At last, with the deeper darkness, he rose and walked and took the tram home, to find his father's dry goods store engulfed in fire. Froelich shuddered on the cot, vengeance misting his blurred vision. There was no refuge in his reminiscence. It had been that way for years now. Whenever he sought solace in a childhood scent or sweetness, a roadblock always turned him back toward retribution, another kind of thirst he'd never quench.” The existence of the real X-Troop as they were known, is well documented. This stunning novel led me to discover more information about this brave group of men. The story is always important as it tells about the Holocaust and once again reminds us to never forget. There are non fiction books which I will look for. Here are a couple of articles. Definitely recommended. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/... https://time.com/6074084/secret-unit-... I received a copy of this book from Hanover Square Press/HarperCollins through Edelweiss.

  2. 5 out of 5

    "Avonna

    Check out all my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com THE LAST OF THE SEVEN by Steven Hartov is an emotionally intense WWII historical fiction story featuring the fictional portrayal of a member of the historical “X Troop” who were a group of European Jews trained for covert operations by the British Army and sent behind enemy lines. Lieutenant Bernard Froelich stumbles upon a British military camp wounded, dehydrated and barely alive after having escaped a Nazi camp in North Africa. He h Check out all my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com THE LAST OF THE SEVEN by Steven Hartov is an emotionally intense WWII historical fiction story featuring the fictional portrayal of a member of the historical “X Troop” who were a group of European Jews trained for covert operations by the British Army and sent behind enemy lines. Lieutenant Bernard Froelich stumbles upon a British military camp wounded, dehydrated and barely alive after having escaped a Nazi camp in North Africa. He has traveled across the desert on an unbelievable journey. He is the only survivor of an undercover operation. This is the story of Froelich’s odyssey of survival, loss, love, and vengeance as a Jew of German origin during WWII. The author paints beautiful and at times stark word pictures of every location of Froelich’s journey. I felt as though I was right along with him in every location and in every harrowing scene were he could have been killed. The author’s extensive research is evident throughout the story. I felt this story is important for readers to realize that there were Jewish commandos fighting the Nazis even as they faced antisemitism from some in the British army they served bravely. I highly recommend this historical fiction based on an amazing troop of men during WWII.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    3-1/2* Second Lieutenant Bernard Froelich, is a German Jew, who escaped to Britain and joined the British Army. He and other Jews from other European countries volunteered and joined “X” Troop whereupon they were put to use infiltrating German held areas dressed as German officers where their native German language could be used to advantage. Based on true events this is a little known WWII story told in a harrowing, graphic and ruthless narrative. Their successes eventually encouraged Winston Chu 3-1/2* Second Lieutenant Bernard Froelich, is a German Jew, who escaped to Britain and joined the British Army. He and other Jews from other European countries volunteered and joined “X” Troop whereupon they were put to use infiltrating German held areas dressed as German officers where their native German language could be used to advantage. Based on true events this is a little known WWII story told in a harrowing, graphic and ruthless narrative. Their successes eventually encouraged Winston Churchill to create a Jewish Brigade within the British Army where none had been acceptable before. As WWII heroes go the men of “X” Troop are certainly among them!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elliot A

    ***Link to video*** Thank you to the publisher, Hanover Square Press and NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC of The Last Of Seven in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Gist Steven Hartov definitely knows what he is writing about. He joined the U.S. Merchant Marine Military Sealift Command in 1973 and has weaved his experiences into his novels. This story is bold, based on true events and a true male version of WWII. But it also held the hopes and heroic attempts of or ***Link to video*** Thank you to the publisher, Hanover Square Press and NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC of The Last Of Seven in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Gist Steven Hartov definitely knows what he is writing about. He joined the U.S. Merchant Marine Military Sealift Command in 1973 and has weaved his experiences into his novels. This story is bold, based on true events and a true male version of WWII. But it also held the hopes and heroic attempts of ordinary soldiers and for that I had to bow. The Details Bernhard Froehlich, a German soldier, or is he?? I don’t want to reveal too much here, but this man is part of a secret group, known as X-Troop. Their existence is well documented and the story is based on those brave men. Maybe this is why I could not really connect with them or in particular Bernhard Froehlich. Even though all was very descriptive, it still felt abstract to me. I assume this story was supposed to come across as brave and captivating, even exciting. But in fact, it felt hectic. That’s the word that came to my mind when reading it. Interesting was that the author brought in a kind of poetry, a bit of a flowery style, while he was talking about the gruesome aspects the characters experienced. If the author wanted to show that there is no beauty in any aspects of a war, just very small pockets of hope, when there is a tender moment or unexpected beauty, then he accomplished that. The “nice” moments in this book lasted one breath and it then went back to the bold cold truth. Bernhard Froehlich is part of a group of men who were German or Austrian Jews and fought the Nazi regime, not for any heroic reasons, but vengeance and vengeance alone. They want revenge for what happened to them and their families. That drives them to work with British allies to fight against Hitler and his butchers. The Verdict Overall, reading this book was exhausting. I felt like I was fighting and trying to survive, not knowing for what. I did not enjoy it. And more than once I wanted to quit, but I knew I had to write a review and as disciplined as I am sometimes, I finished it. It is well researched, but I would only recommend it, if you have a scientific interest in that subject, a strong stomach and endurance.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Slow Start Builds To Action-Packed Finish. This book is one that starts with an intriguing mystery - a man shows up at a British post in the northern Africa desert during the Africa Campaign of WWII wearing a German uniform and claiming to be British - and builds a bit slowly and at times seemingly disjointedly - random flashbacks to this soldier's memories from Jewish persecutions in Berlin - to a bit of a romance middle and then an action packed final mission reminiscent of most any WWII movie Slow Start Builds To Action-Packed Finish. This book is one that starts with an intriguing mystery - a man shows up at a British post in the northern Africa desert during the Africa Campaign of WWII wearing a German uniform and claiming to be British - and builds a bit slowly and at times seemingly disjointedly - random flashbacks to this soldier's memories from Jewish persecutions in Berlin - to a bit of a romance middle and then an action packed final mission reminiscent of most any WWII movie. Overall a solid war tale for guys, with a lot of the emotional punch of women's fiction WWII historical fiction largely removed in favor of showing people actively being blown apart or shredded by machine gun fire. Recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    Lieutenant Bernard Froelich has barely survived. While what is undertaken in this book by Steven Hartov is a fictional story, it is based on factual events. The historical “X Troop” was comprised of a group of European Jews who were trained for an undercover operation to fight the Nazis. Not only were they dressed like the Germans, they were trained to look and sound like them. Sadly, many of them lost their lives with Froelich being the last of the seven. Found by two British soldiers, he had t Lieutenant Bernard Froelich has barely survived. While what is undertaken in this book by Steven Hartov is a fictional story, it is based on factual events. The historical “X Troop” was comprised of a group of European Jews who were trained for an undercover operation to fight the Nazis. Not only were they dressed like the Germans, they were trained to look and sound like them. Sadly, many of them lost their lives with Froelich being the last of the seven. Found by two British soldiers, he had to prove that he was, in fact, not a German. Not only did he have to prove that, but he had to learn how to trust. Meanwhile, Froelich suffered a serious injury, and now had to continue to fight for his life. A difficult journey to be sure, especially when many gave up due to the strenuous circumstances. Steven Hartov demonstrated extensive research in this book in order to compose this captivating, enthralling, and unforgettable novel. War is always a very dark time, and as Froelich’s story was told, this definitely proved to be the case. For more of my thoughts on this evenly paced book laced with intrigue and mystery, please do not hesitate to watch my accompanying YouTube video - https://youtu.be/bVkfUI70tns

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book. The opening sequence, describing Bernard Froehlich’s desperate trek across an unforgiving desert hoping against hope for rescue, is brutal. I’m not super squeamish, but some of the descriptions almost put me off the book. I’m so glad they didn’t. Bernard Froehlich is found near a British outpost in the north African desert, wearing a German uniform. The Brits want to, if not shoot him on sight, at least capture him. But he convinces them he is, in fact, one of them. He tells a remarkabl This book. The opening sequence, describing Bernard Froehlich’s desperate trek across an unforgiving desert hoping against hope for rescue, is brutal. I’m not super squeamish, but some of the descriptions almost put me off the book. I’m so glad they didn’t. Bernard Froehlich is found near a British outpost in the north African desert, wearing a German uniform. The Brits want to, if not shoot him on sight, at least capture him. But he convinces them he is, in fact, one of them. He tells a remarkable story, of being the lone survivor of a group of German Jewish soldiers going undercover as Nazis. As it turns out, he is not yet done serving for Britain. I’ve never been in the military. I’ve certainly never been an undercover commando training for vital missions. But Steven Hartov writes in such a way as to make it clear how challenging such a task, such a role must be. We’ve all heard it said that war is hell, and so it is here. I’ve read a fair amount of World War II historical fiction told from the perspective of women. The Last of the Seven is not that. It’s much more descriptive in its scenes of battles and wounds, of the training Froehlich and his men endure. But while it doesn’t focus on the more emotional side of war stories as seen from a woman’s point of view, it is not without emotion. Froehlich earnestly desires vengeance on the Nazis for what they did to his family. Deaths of comrades are truly mourned. War romance is bittersweet. The story runs the gamut of emotion and does an excellent job drawing the reader into each scene. I knew nothing about the “X Troop,” the German Jews who fought for the Allies and used their heritage and native language against the Nazis. I can only imagine that imitating those who they most had cause to loathe brought an extra layer of difficulty to their service. I found The Last of the Seven to be an engrossing, well-written, well-researched work of historical fiction, and I appreciated the fact that it taught me something new about World War II history.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality As this story opens, the scene is so dramatic that the reader could be excused for thinking that the book is already teasing the ending and is going to go back to the beginning of the story to explain how that lone soldier found himself at the literal end of his pretty damn much everything except determination, trudging miles across the Sahara alone, with two bullet wounds, no supplies and what seemed to be no hope of survival. Only for that survival to appe Originally published at Reading Reality As this story opens, the scene is so dramatic that the reader could be excused for thinking that the book is already teasing the ending and is going to go back to the beginning of the story to explain how that lone soldier found himself at the literal end of his pretty damn much everything except determination, trudging miles across the Sahara alone, with two bullet wounds, no supplies and what seemed to be no hope of survival. Only for that survival to appear and very nearly turn to disaster. And that’s the point where we meet young Lieutenant Bernard Froelich, the last survivor of the seven Jewish commandos sent by the British Army to infiltrate Nazi-held Tobruk ahead of a planned British invasion. Which failed. Catastrophically. Resulting, eventually, after an astonishing tea with Rommel and a daring nighttime escape from a POW camp, in Froelich staggering into a British Army camp in the tattered remains of a stolen Nazi uniform months later. Froelich has already had more than enough wartime adventures to satisfy any book or, for that matter, any war. But this isn’t the end of either the soldier, the war, or the book. It’s only the beginning. Froelich is “the last of the seven”, the last of the seven Jewish commandos who participated in that failed assault on Tobruk. But Froelich still has plenty of payback to deliver to the Nazis who killed his family, his friends, his fellow Jews and everyone who didn’t fit their “Aryan ideals”. So the story follows Froelich’s war after his initial exploit. The one that was so final for the rest of his squad. Because he’s recruited – or perhaps that should be ordered – to take the skills he learned in that first infiltration to train a new group of Jewish commandos, orphans and lost boys just like himself, to tackle another infiltration with an even more important goal. It’s up to Froelich and the “Filthy Jewish dozen” as his rabidly anti-Semitic superior officer calls them, to drop well behind enemy lines and slip into a little German base as part of a very big operation. Their “top secret” task is to infiltrate the Nazi research center at Peenemünde and steal a scientist. Admittedly one who wants to be stolen. It’s the commandos’ job to prevent the Nazis from sticking nuclear warheads – however primitive – on the front of their V-2 rockets by getting the lead scientist for the project out of Peenemünde and safely into Allied hands. Even if they have to sacrifice themselves in the process. Escape Rating A-: Part of what makes this story so compelling is just how many wild and crazy things happened along Froelich’s way. He has some of the worst good luck, or best bad luck, that ever graced a war story. What’s even more fascinating is that nearly all of the major events in this story actually happened. They just didn’t all happen to the same person. Which is something I had to look up halfway through because that did stretch my reader’s willing suspension of disbelief a tiny bit. War is hell, luck is unfair in all directions, but that the same individual managed to be both this unlucky and this lucky at the same time stretched things a tad. But it certainly does keep the story exciting! I also kept having reading flashbacks that I’d read something very like this, at least when it comes to the events at Peenemunde, some time ago. Eventually I figured out that it must have been Moonglow by Michael Chabon, although Sons and Soldiers by Bruce Henderson also has some similar bits. This is a hint that if you liked either of those you might like this and vice versa. In spite of those quibbles, the story itself is riveting. It’s also the kind of war story that we don’t see quite as much of anymore. There is a LOT of the nitty gritty that makes war such hell, combined with the bleakness of World War II in general. The commando units are all made up of what Froelich calls “lost boys” like himself. They’ve all lost the families, their friends, the future they thought they’d have and the life they thought they knew. They all want revenge, payback against the Nazis – and it’s impossible to blame any of them for that. (The casual anti-Semitism of the British can be hard to take for contemporary readers, but it is very much a part of the period. Whatever one thinks of Arab-Israeli relations in the 21st century, at that point it was all still to come. The Jews were a minority in Palestine and were desperate for a place to call home after fleeing Nazi Germany. That the British foresaw trouble in the future for their empire was realistic even if the rhetoric behind it was pretty awful – those fears were realistic and pragmatic. That the days of empire were ending and they didn’t want to recognize the fact, is not exactly surprising either.) But the story in The Last of the Seven focuses on Froelich. It follows him through part of his war, and that war is hell. Not just the fighting, but what comes before and after it. His recovery in aid stations and hospitals is every bit as harrowing as his trek across the desert. His brief moments of happiness are snatched away by the war as well. And then there’s the training and gearing up for the mission to Peenemünde, which is, at points, even more brutal than the fight yet to come. Because war is hell and this soldier’s journey just exposes one slice of that hell all the way down to the bone.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve Wilkerson

    Although there are some entertaining action scene, this book falls short of being a good read. It's closer to two stars than three in quality, but because the action scenes are good, I will give it a three. As is the case with many novels about war, the leading character, Bernard Froelich, is too heroic and too good a leader to be believable even within the fictional universe Hartov creates for the reader. The other characters are stock characters and are pretty flat, except for the Captain/Surge Although there are some entertaining action scene, this book falls short of being a good read. It's closer to two stars than three in quality, but because the action scenes are good, I will give it a three. As is the case with many novels about war, the leading character, Bernard Froelich, is too heroic and too good a leader to be believable even within the fictional universe Hartov creates for the reader. The other characters are stock characters and are pretty flat, except for the Captain/Surgeon Leo Lefkowitz, the best character in the book, Hartov’s uncle. Hartov has pulled together the exploits of several historic individuals to make Froelich larger than life. The novel uses as background the Jewish Troop X, WWII British commandos. Although Hartov tries in his final scene to tell us something about our humanity, it’s far too little too late; it almost reads like a last thought, an add-on because there's so little of man's humanity in war in the book. In fact, it seems as a criterion for being part of this unit is an intense desire for vengeance against the Nazis. The romantic involvement doesn’t really fit into the themes of the novel, but Hartov is trying to humanize Froelich without much success. I was bothered by the rescue/escape of a German scientist named Otto Roth from the V2 facility at Peenemunde, the name is too close to the historic Ludwig Roth, who was part of Operation Paperclip at the end of the war. It's moderately entertaining, although flawed by Hartov's inability to create good metaphors. Too many of his metaphors are groaners, so bad that I almost quit reading the book in the early pages. The combat scenes are pretty good.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becky Baldridge

    The Last of the Seven is not for the faint of heart. Hartov certainly knows how to paint a picture with his words, so it's not difficult to "see" the settings as well as the action. Some of that action is pretty gruesome, as I'd expect during wartime. The book also has a harrowing tone and feeling of tension all the way through. We do get the odd moment here and there of romance and humanity, but they don't last long. I would certainly be willing to believe that the intensity represented here is The Last of the Seven is not for the faint of heart. Hartov certainly knows how to paint a picture with his words, so it's not difficult to "see" the settings as well as the action. Some of that action is pretty gruesome, as I'd expect during wartime. The book also has a harrowing tone and feeling of tension all the way through. We do get the odd moment here and there of romance and humanity, but they don't last long. I would certainly be willing to believe that the intensity represented here is accurate to time and place. The book does suffer a bit with some purple prose, but not so much as to make it completely unbelievable. So, what it all comes down to The Last of the Seven is a heart-wrenching tale from start to finish. I wouldn't call it entertaining due to the subject matter, but it's definitely the type of story that sticks with you long after the last page is turned.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leah Michaels

    This book is, in my opinion, quintessential historical fiction - actual events mixed with fictional events, historical figures interacting with fictional characters, scrupulous research for historical accuracy, all melded together into a seamless fictional narrative. Not an easy thing to create, but Mr. Hartov has done it here beautifully. This book is not an easy read. The narrative is not linear; there are flashbacks and scenes of memories and dreams. Nothing is held back in describing the brut This book is, in my opinion, quintessential historical fiction - actual events mixed with fictional events, historical figures interacting with fictional characters, scrupulous research for historical accuracy, all melded together into a seamless fictional narrative. Not an easy thing to create, but Mr. Hartov has done it here beautifully. This book is not an easy read. The narrative is not linear; there are flashbacks and scenes of memories and dreams. Nothing is held back in describing the brutality of battle, the harshness of survival, the ugliness of anti-Semitism. Some reviews have called the book hectic, but war is hectic. Bonds are formed quickly for physical or emotional survival, and just as quickly bonds are wrenched apart by circumstances or violence. Questions are left unanswered, letters are left unanswered, goodbyes don’t get to be said, time is short, no one is spared loss of some kind, and the writer makes us feel this. And it is uncomfortable. But, just as Mr. Hartov captures the ugliness and unpredictable nature of war, he also beautifully captures the pockets of hope, friendship, comradeship, kindness, love, humor, courage, and forgiveness that survive amidst the chaos and violence. Book-ended by gritty descriptions of war and survival, the middle section of the book heartbreakingly reminds us, and the main character, of just how lucky we are to be alive and just how precious a kind act, a song, a prayer, a kiss, an orange, can be. I loved this book. It is good, old-fashioned writing, not slick, sleek or clever, and certainly not meant to be impatiently read or skimmed through. The book is full of the kind of descriptive details that make you feel like you are watching the movie as you read it. The author did this with his last book too. I love that through the author’s fictional character of Froelich I learned about some events of WWII that I had never known about: the attack on the HMHS Newfoundland, Corp. John Sillito’s trek through the Sahara, George Lane’s “tea” with Rommel, X Troop, and Peenemunde. I highly recommend this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The Last of the Seven is a historical novel based on the little-known history of the “X Troop” during WWII —a team of European Jews who escaped the Continent only to join the British Army and return home to exact their revenge on Hitler’s military. I love reading both fiction and non-fiction about World War II and I enjoy learning about people and events that I know nothing about and I was fascinated by this novel. If you're a WWII history fan I recommend this! The Last of the Seven is a historical novel based on the little-known history of the “X Troop” during WWII —a team of European Jews who escaped the Continent only to join the British Army and return home to exact their revenge on Hitler’s military. I love reading both fiction and non-fiction about World War II and I enjoy learning about people and events that I know nothing about and I was fascinated by this novel. If you're a WWII history fan I recommend this!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Winfield

    This is a good story of WWll. I really liked Froelich. I liked that this story was about a little known group of soldiers that were Jewish and were originally from Germany. I liked that there was a little bit of romance. The story is a little long winded in some spots but the story is good. I received a copy of this book from Harlequin for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Bly

    unsung Heroes A compelling story of WWII. A group of German Jews flee Germany and become British soldiers and then become a secret weapon. Wearing German uniforms the infiltrate German lines and cause mayhem. A must read for readers interested in the military, Jewish soldiers, or action!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexis (hookedtobooks)

    Thank you Harlequin Trade Publishing for the copy of this book! - Read if you like: WW2 fiction, army and soldier focused. - This book follows a German Jewish man who joins the British army in order to fight against the Nazi’s. During his time in the war he joins an all Jewish fighting brigade. - I loved the premise of the book, but found myself bored and skimming some parts and some descriptions. But overall the last quarter was engaging with lots of action! - CW: war, violence, death, anti-semitism, a Thank you Harlequin Trade Publishing for the copy of this book! - Read if you like: WW2 fiction, army and soldier focused. - This book follows a German Jewish man who joins the British army in order to fight against the Nazi’s. During his time in the war he joins an all Jewish fighting brigade. - I loved the premise of the book, but found myself bored and skimming some parts and some descriptions. But overall the last quarter was engaging with lots of action! - CW: war, violence, death, anti-semitism, amputation, suicide, execution.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Raji

    Review to come

  17. 4 out of 5

    Reeca Elliott

    Froelich is the only survivor of an undercover operation. When he wanders from the desert into a British camp, he is mistaken for a German soldier. After some fast talking, he is finally believed and sent to the hospital. But his war is not over. It is just beginning! I very much enjoyed the beginning of this book. Froelich is such a tough guy and he has a big heart. His strength comes through the pages like the warrior he is! He has sustained some terrible injuries. However, through some chance Froelich is the only survivor of an undercover operation. When he wanders from the desert into a British camp, he is mistaken for a German soldier. After some fast talking, he is finally believed and sent to the hospital. But his war is not over. It is just beginning! I very much enjoyed the beginning of this book. Froelich is such a tough guy and he has a big heart. His strength comes through the pages like the warrior he is! He has sustained some terrible injuries. However, through some chance encounters, he finally receives the help he needs to put him back into the line of fire. There were parts of this book that I loved and parts I just skimmed. I usually don’t mind war books. But, I had trouble with those sections in this novel. I just could not get interested in it. But, don’t let that stop you! It was most likely me. I am very much a mood reader and I may not have been in the mood! Need a good historical war novel…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today! I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kerr

    3.5 stars. There's a lot to like about this novel. Hartov is a gifted writer and plainly a great deal of research went into this project. It begins with a mysterious man stumbling out of the Saharan desert with a tale too unlikely to be fiction. He is injured and his long convalescence takes him to Sicily where he meets the beautiful Sophia and falls in love. The pace is dreamy--much like time spent in recovery--and then finally he is well enough to put his uniform back on. His orders are to tra 3.5 stars. There's a lot to like about this novel. Hartov is a gifted writer and plainly a great deal of research went into this project. It begins with a mysterious man stumbling out of the Saharan desert with a tale too unlikely to be fiction. He is injured and his long convalescence takes him to Sicily where he meets the beautiful Sophia and falls in love. The pace is dreamy--much like time spent in recovery--and then finally he is well enough to put his uniform back on. His orders are to train up a band of commandos which is beautifully written and described. Then, in the last 60 pages of the book, all the action takes place. For me, the dreamy pace of the first 300 pages makes for compelling reading. The lurch into hyperdrive at the end was a bit disorienting. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable read, if a little oddly paced.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Harris

    A lot of the descriptions (especially the first few paragraphs) was some of the best imagery I've ever read. My problem was with the allocation of pages for specific topics. Almost the entire first half of the book focused on the main character's convalescence and included a lengthy romantic interlude. Not exciting other than his surgery. The next huge chunk focused on the training of X Troop - the best part. The final few pages dealt with an actual mission which would have been great reading, b A lot of the descriptions (especially the first few paragraphs) was some of the best imagery I've ever read. My problem was with the allocation of pages for specific topics. Almost the entire first half of the book focused on the main character's convalescence and included a lengthy romantic interlude. Not exciting other than his surgery. The next huge chunk focused on the training of X Troop - the best part. The final few pages dealt with an actual mission which would have been great reading, but it felt like a rushed denouement. The bright side is that this book peaked my interest in "X Troop" by Leah Garrett which is a nonfiction account of these soliders ... starting that tomorrow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy’s Booket List

    I have to say that I did not finish this book. While the writing was very enjoyable, and the beginning of the novel was absolutely gripping, I began to lose interest about 20% in and couldn't even muster the desire to finish by the half way mark. I think this is a beautiful story that needs to be told, but possibly with some editing to increase the pace. There are long moments when nothing much happens to anyone, but we try to get through it. Possibly by the end, the details shown in the middle w I have to say that I did not finish this book. While the writing was very enjoyable, and the beginning of the novel was absolutely gripping, I began to lose interest about 20% in and couldn't even muster the desire to finish by the half way mark. I think this is a beautiful story that needs to be told, but possibly with some editing to increase the pace. There are long moments when nothing much happens to anyone, but we try to get through it. Possibly by the end, the details shown in the middle would have paid off, but I can't say that I was willing to spend more time trying.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grommit

    Ahh...I like historical fiction. And this one presents an interesting story line. Unfortunately, it gets a little lost, in one case providing lots of pages to prep for a significant mission, with detours into love affairs; in other cases providing just a few paragraphs for a different mission. Yes, the missions are based on real events. And the training techniques make sense. But balance would be helpful. Anyway, a good read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    H.W. Bernard

    Steven Hartov is an excellent writer, and THE LAST OF THE SEVEN is a gripping tale (based on a true story). Hartov creates three-dimensional characters, snappy dialogue, and spectacular narrative descriptions. One nit: the book seemed to me to lose a bit of momentum in the middle, but it was nothing fatal. If you're into WWII historical fiction, this is a novel you won't want to miss. Steven Hartov is an excellent writer, and THE LAST OF THE SEVEN is a gripping tale (based on a true story). Hartov creates three-dimensional characters, snappy dialogue, and spectacular narrative descriptions. One nit: the book seemed to me to lose a bit of momentum in the middle, but it was nothing fatal. If you're into WWII historical fiction, this is a novel you won't want to miss.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Audiobook - 2.75 stars. Started off simple enough, a German Jew fighting for the Allies trains to infiltrate the Nazis. He is captured and escapes, then retrains again to go on another mission. I think.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bookclubbish

    Categories War & Military Fiction, Jewish Fiction, Literary Fiction

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Slow paced with little payoff, and feels like a retread of what my granddad liked to read in the 80s. One of my book groups has to stop with the WWII underwhelming selections this year.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    Survival, yes, you will wonder if these men will survive, and especially Froelich, I don’t know how he went on! Although, this is fictional story, it is based on truth. A horrible time on World History, and we walk through blazing desserts, and paratroop out of airplanes, all with the desire to stop the madness. Hate for a religion, a group of people, but this band of men give their all, a story filled with perseverance, throw in a bit of humor, and a little romance. This journey became a page-turn Survival, yes, you will wonder if these men will survive, and especially Froelich, I don’t know how he went on! Although, this is fictional story, it is based on truth. A horrible time on World History, and we walk through blazing desserts, and paratroop out of airplanes, all with the desire to stop the madness. Hate for a religion, a group of people, but this band of men give their all, a story filled with perseverance, throw in a bit of humor, and a little romance. This journey became a page-turner as we look for answers and survival, and we walk with them! A story that we need to read and not forget! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Harlequin Trade Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Schafer

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brea Berget

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Trout

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Norton

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