Book Spotlight and Extract: ‘Wolves At Our Door’, by Soren Paul Petrek

Summary:

The Allies and the Nazis are in a deadly race to develop the ultimate weapon while supersonic V-2 rockets rain down on London.  Madeleine Toche and Berthold Hartmann, the German super assassin who taught her to kill, search for the secret factory where Werner von Braun and his Gestapos masters use slave labor to build the weapons as the bodies of the innocent pile up.  The Allied ground forces push towards Berlin while the German SS fight savagely for each inch of ground.

Finding the factory hidden beneath Mount Kohnstein, Hartmann contacts his old enemy, Winston Churchill and summons Madeleine to his side.  While she moves to bring the mountain down on her enemies, Hartmann leads a daring escape from the dreaded Dora concentration camp to continue his revenge against the monsters who ruined his beloved Germany.

Together with the Russian Nachtlexen, the Night Witches, fearsome female pilots the race tightens as the United States and the Germans successfully carry out an atomic bomb test.

Germany installs an atom bomb in a V-2 pointed towards London, while the US delivers one to a forward base in the Pacific.  The fate of the Second World War and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

Information about the Book

Title: Wolves at our Door (Madeleine Toche #2)

Author: Soren Paul Petrek

Release Date: 15th January 2019

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Éditions Encre Rouge

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43803960-cold-lonely-courage

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cold-Lonely-Courage-Novel-ENC-ROMANS-ebook/dp/B07MTML6CJ

Extract from the novel

December 7, 1941

The fighters came without warning over the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. Most carried torpedoes. They’d been launched miles out after a long journey from Japan. The planes were sent out in a surprise attack in the hopes that the United States would seek an acceptable treaty, leaving Japan alone to take over Southeast Asia.

This was not to be.

The morning was crisp and bright. Men and women woke from their beds hearing planes coming in from the sea. Medical personnel looked forward to another day in paradise. Battleships and carriers sat anchored in the tranquil turquoise waters of the island’s natural harbor.

 When the sirens sounded, people walked out of their homes and office buildings, curious. They looked up at the strange aircraft tearing overhead and dipping to a low altitude. They watched the planes release bombs.

What had seemed a vacation turned into chaos. Nurses ran from the beach in their swimsuits to attend the wounded. The few pilots stationed there scrambled to their planes to fight back. Some made it into the air. Others were killed in their cockpits on the ground, dying in fire.

President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war. It was immediately ratified.

***

Office of the President of the United States

White House Washington, DC

June 1942

Franklin Delano Roosevelt sat behind his desk in the White House. The surface was illuminated by a small lamp. The Oval Office was dark and the hour late. He expected a call from one of his generals, Leslie Graves. The matter couldn’t be more important.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had forced America’s hand; she was now at war with Germany and Japan. England had long been warning of Hitler’s rearmament, but the American public had been loath to engage in another European conflict. But now, six months after the surprise attack and with much of the US fleet heavily damaged or sunk, the country had been rocked back on its heels. A massive response was necessary. The American people looked to their president for answers. He’d led them through the Great Depression. The war would be a greater test yet.

The wheelchair in which he rarely let anyone see him in sat to his left. His body may be broken, but he was not. And with the world at war, his country needed him. Every decision he made was crucial; the next couple of years would tell all. From a desk drawer, he pulled out a single sheet of paper, the words of which he knew well by now. They chilled him to the bone.

He took a long cigarette holder from between his teeth and read the letter from the world-renowned physicist Albert Einstein, which urged an immediate response to the threat of Nazi Germany obtaining a functioning atomic weapon. It warned of the magnitude of global havoc the Nazis could wreck if they obtained one. The equation was simple: they could not develop one first, or the war could be lost overnight. Two more letters had come from Einstein, both encouraging nuclear research. Roosevelt reread them often as he contemplated not only the future of the United States but the balance of world power. If Hitler developed that bomb, he would rule the world.

 Roosevelt glanced over at an ornately carved stand to the right of his desk that supported a huge globe. He didn’t want to miss anything. Occasionally he spun it to remind himself of the scope of the battlefield in which the United States and her Allies fought. With the Imperial Japanese army invading most of Southeast Asia, pushing the Allies back at every turn, the outcome was far from certain. Australia might be next, he thought. The first United States troops had been in England for six months in a different theater of war, with the invasion of Africa and then Europe on the horizon.

 Neither the olive he fished from the martini glass on his coaster nor the remainder of the drink, which he downed in a gulp, alleviated his exhaustion. There was always more work to do. He didn’t pretend to understand the science Einstein referred to, but he was aware that his colleagues throughout the free world had encouraged him to write the letter. It left no doubt that the theories concerning nuclear reactions were no longer mere theories; a bomb with gigantic explosive force could be constructed—this was fact.

 The phone on his desk rang. All calls went through his chief of staff, who was awake whenever he was. Roosevelt took calls at this hour only when either he was already expecting them, or they came from the British prime minister, Winston Churchill. He removed his Pince-Nez glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He never answered the phone on the first ring. It was best to keep the caller waiting a short while, at least.

 “This is President Roosevelt,” he said holding the phone on his shoulder with his chin while he fixed a new cigarette to the end of his holder.

            “Leslie Groves, sir,”

 “General, I appreciate you getting back to me on such short notice. How are things progressing?”

 “It will be a massive undertaking, Mr. President. We’ll need to procure land for the various phases of the project. Manpower may be somewhat of an issue, but we can use civilian workers for a great deal of the work.”

                 “Your report spoke of locating a facility in Oak Ridge,

Tennessee. Is that still viable?”

            “Yes, Mr. President.”

            “And security?”

 “Only a few people at the top will have any idea of what they’re working on, Mr. President. Oak Ridge will be a fully functioning city. We’re estimate as many as seventy-five thousand people may be there before we reach our goal.”

 “Splendid. Have you made a selection as to the man to head the project?”

 “Yes, Mr. President. I’ve been meeting theoretical scientists all over the country. Some of them have their heads in the clouds and couldn’t get a team of dogs to chase a cat. Many of the rest of them are incredibly pompous and self-important. But there is one man. A physicist at Berkeley and Cal State.”  

 “Don’t tell me who it is at this point, General. Bring him to Washington and then you and I will meet with him together. I’m a big believer in first impressions.”

 “I will make the arrangements immediately, sir. What if he doesn’t want to come?”

 “Have the FBI make it clear to him that his president expects to meet him, forthwith.”

            “Yes, sir.”


Author Information

Soren Petrek is a practicing criminal trial attorney, admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1991.  Married with two adult children, Soren continues to live and work in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Educated in the U.S., England and France, Soren sat his O-level examinations at the Heathland School in Hounslow, London in 1981.  His undergraduate degree in Forestry is from the University of Minnesota, 1986.  His law degree is from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota (1991).

Soren’s novel, Cold Lonely Courage won Fade In Magazine’s 2009 Award for Fiction.  Fade In was voted the nation’s favorite movie magazine by the Washington Post and the L.A. Times in 2011 and 2012.

The French edition of Cold Lonely Courage (titled simply, Courage) was published January 2019, by Encre Rouge Editions, distributed by Hachette Livre in 60 countries.  Soren’s contemporary novel, Tim will be released along with the rest of the books in the Madeleine Toche series of historical thrillers.

Tuck Magazine has published several of Soren’s poems, some of which have been included in Soren’s book of poetry, A Search for Solid Ground.

Website: https://www.sorenpetrek.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SPetrek_Toche44

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/soren.petrek

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