No Dawn for Men: A Novel of Ian Fleming, J.R.R. Tolkien and Nazi Germany. James LePore and Carlos Davis. The Story Plant. December 2013. 272 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 978161188073.
On the fields of battle during WWI, two men meet, one a wounded soldier lying under a dying horse and the other a good man stopping to help but unable to do so. Years later in 1938 in Nazi Germany the son of the wounded soldier, Ian Fleming, meets with the notable author of The Hobbit, Professor Tolkien, to seek an artifact that Adolph Hitler intends to use for his usual nefarious purposes. This cannot happen as it could mean the end of the world as we now know it. And so the thriller begins; but remember, what is a thrilling read to us is a matter of life and death to Fleming, Tolkien, Professor Shroeder and his daughter Billy and MI-6 Agent Arlen Cavanagh. Can the dead be brought back to life? Who must die to prove that reality?
Tolkien is approached by his former student, Cavanagh, who asks him to interpret a Satanic invocation for raising the dead. Within days, he has agreed to head to Berlin in the early days preceding WWII. Hitler has placed his henchmen in place before he begins his master plan of conquering Europe with a formidable military force. Hitler’s Aryan policies are beginning to be implemented, with a special hatred toward Jews and dwarfs during the telling of this story. What exactly do the SS men who are following Shroeder everywhere want from him. Shroeder knows of an amulet and parchment with a secret spell; he’s actually seen that it works but that it will kill whoever attempts to use it, so powerful is its mystical force. The Germans want it as well and have given Shroeder three days to find it and turn it over or else!
Billie, Schroeder’s daughter, seems oblivious to the looming threat. She is a straight-forward character, it seems, who says she hates the Nazis but is also actually dating a German soldier. She quite simply doesn’t realize the inherent danger of her father’s invitation to Berlin to cooperate with the German leaders. When she meets Arlen Cavanagh, it seems she is so blasé about everything that no one suspects she could be anything other than tremendous to her scholarly father, Schroeder.
A harrowing tale begins with the necessity of escaping Germany, but this journey is not going to be an easy one and there are dangers lurking in and around every corner of their meager existence. Horrific bestial moments serve as entertainment for German officers; a symbol of the terror they are to carry out in country after country across Europe! Oh yes, the reader can predict to a certain degree on the effect of this now hidden artifact and how an escape will probably occur; but the ending is so, so, so stunning that it will leave you dazed for minutes, perhaps even hours. No Dawn for Men again proves James LePore to be a superb crafter of thriller novels. The action is relentless, the characters are stereotypical but move at all the right times and places, increasing the tension to a degree with no appropriate descriptive word but most assuredly there and very, very real! Also recommended for lovers of historical fiction authors and those who perhaps could not speak of the wrongdoing behind them but certainly have decided not to let that travesty happen again! Highly, highly recommended!