Author: Anthony Kobal
Genre: MM / WWII / Historical
Length: Novel (192 pages)
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing (May 10th, 2013)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5 Hearts
Blurb: Set against the war-torn landscape of occupied Norway in 1941, a loyal German soldier is obsessed by a young Norwegian national. He must choose between duty to his country and a deep-seated passion for a young man who may well be his enemy.
Product Link: https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/459/The-Second-Ring
Review: I am utterly furious with this author. That is no way to end a book, I don’t care what absurd justifications one might have, but that was cruel. Period!
I’m still reeling from the way this book ended. Hell I’m still reeling from the entirety of the book. It was many thing, but if I must use one word to describe it, that would be “powerful.”
This book start with a near end scene, so we already have a hint that things are not going to end all that well. But being the cruel person that he is, this author does not gives us all the details, he allows hope to blossom, and that is a trap that you will fall without fail.
Axel is a young man who is caught up in the pre-WWII Germany. The desolate emotions Germans suffered at the time due to loss of the WWI color all people, and the need to rise from that bottomless pit has the people following the new Nationalist wave. The need to rise higher has Axel accepting the offer of a Baron and working for him at his mansion, his duties later on transforming into some much, much more depraved.
It is there we witness Axel suffer humiliation, being literally the lap dog of the baron. But what turns his experience into a horrific one is the addition of one more “dog” in the house and that would be none other than Bruno, his old wrestling partner whom Axel despises. In his hands and for the Barons whim Axel goes through some dubiously consensual coupling, which in my eyes were plain rape and made me wonder why for Heaven’s sake did he endure all that? It is obvious through the text that Axel hates that condition he’s put himself into, yet he stays until the very last moment when he’s no longer wanted and unceremoniously thrown out.
What made the biggest impression to me was that the above chapter of Axel’s life was told in the most clinical way – we read this entire book from Axel’s point of view – and there were no emotions through this recollection at all. It was rather dispassionate and that made it even more impressing for me.
From that, moment on the “submissive” Axel is lost and thank God, for that for it was obvious he was not of that nature. He studies and makes up the ranks, getting to be a paratrooper officer and deployed to Norway. And yes, that detached feeling slowly slips away, though not entirely, making the Nazi officer all the more real.
The text here is quite peculiar. It reminds a biography one moment and a too personal romantic tale the next. The description of the warfare is astounding. The sentiments of the people described are too raw. It’s perhaps because it’s the first time I read a book on WWII from a German officer’s point of view, but everything seems gut wrenching, especially since said officer is a man who loves men. Don’t misunderstand me, the is a distinguished lack of despair that so often colors such reads, or rather it slowly builds as Axel meets Klaus, a young Norwegian soldier, and slowly but steadily falls for him.
It is most romantic, and yet so naïve of Axel to believe in fairy tales. It is impossible what I kept reading and how Fate was such a bitch to him. The nasty triangle that formed when his ex-tormentor Bruno shows up and out of everything he is his superior, boldly claiming Klaus for his own. Good God, that was so freaking intense, one moment witnessing Axel and Klaus together, the next not knowing how and why and where Klaus is being taken. An agonizing triangle indeed that slowly reveals the guillotine hanging over each man’s head, all but snapping into place, yet the willing blindness that characterizes our protagonist nearly brought me to tears.
Such a tragedy this book was, but for all that, it indeed had me in tears, I have to admit, this was an exquisite read. It has it all, it makes feel a whole lot of emotions, and it gets you so engrossed you practically fell like you’re living inside it for the duration. If it wasn’t for that abrupt ending that leaves, you imagining what happen next with the most horrible scenes that come to mind, this would have easily be a 5 hearts review for me.