Night of Flames: A Novel of World War II

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Overview

Night of Flames paints a vivid and terrifying picture of war-torn Europe during WWII. It’s the tale of a Krakow university professor Anna and her husband Jan, a Polish cavalryman. Separated and forced to flee occupied Poland, Anna soon finds herself caught up in the Belgian Resistance, while Jan becomes embedded in British Intelligence efforts to contact the Resistance in Poland. He seizes this opportunity to search for his lost wife Anna.

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Night of Flames: A Novel of World War II

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Overview

Night of Flames paints a vivid and terrifying picture of war-torn Europe during WWII. It’s the tale of a Krakow university professor Anna and her husband Jan, a Polish cavalryman. Separated and forced to flee occupied Poland, Anna soon finds herself caught up in the Belgian Resistance, while Jan becomes embedded in British Intelligence efforts to contact the Resistance in Poland. He seizes this opportunity to search for his lost wife Anna.

Outstanding Achievement recognition for a 2007 publication by a Wisconsin author. (Wisconsin Library Association)

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Jacobson's debut is a wide-ranging historical tale that starts and ends with the fate of a married couple. Jan Kopernik, a major in the Polish cavalry, and his wife, Anna, a university professor in Krakow, end up on separate paths when the Germans invade Poland in 1939. After the Polish cavalry launches a disastrous charge against German tanks, Jan takes refuge in a Hungarian refugee camp. Soon after, in what is the first of many terrifying adventures, he returns to Poland, working for the Polish Free Forces in the disguise of a Gestapo agent. Anna, for her part, flees to Belgium, where she works for the "White Brigade" resistance, ferrying rescued British and American aviators along the "Comet Line" to freedom. Surrounding these central characters are a host of partisans, saboteurs, soldiers, SS officers, and others caught up in the war, each with an intriguing story. Jan and Anna themselves will be severely tested in their search to find each other. Inspired by his Belgian relatives' own World War II experiences, Jacobson has written a novel that is suspenseful, rich in convincingly detailed incidents, and impeccably researched. Recommended for public libraries and all collections of historical fiction.
—Ron Terpening

From the Publisher
Outstanding Achievement recognition for a 2007 publication by the Wisconsin Library Association Literary Awards Committee

"Suspenseful, rich in convincingly detailed incidents, and impeccably researched."  —Library Journal

"A vast, flowing, unstoppable tale of World War II . . . It is historical fiction at its best."  —Homer Hickam, author, Rocket Boys

"Well researched and skillfully executed . . . a highly readable work which is both informative and imaginative."  —The Historical Novels Review

"A taut and twisting thriller with memorable flesh and blood characters . . . Jacobson's clockwork plot draws the reader onto its roller coaster ride [and] clicks along at breakneck speed."  —James Conroyd Martin, award-winning author, Push Not the River and Against a Crimson Sky

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590131664
  • Publisher: McBooks Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 708,202
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas W. Jacobson is an engineer and business owner. He lives in Elm Grove, Wisconsin.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Major Jan Kopernik of the Polish Cavalry Brigade, the 29th Uhlan

    Major Jan Kopernik of the Polish Cavalry Brigade, the 29th Uhlans, says it best: “The German blitzkrieg was not just a military strategy – it was an all-out campaign of terror intent on the total destruction of his homeland.”

    Night of Flames is a well-detailed fictionalized account of the Nazi campaign in Poland, and the eventual resistance. Anna Kopernik, an associate university history professor in Krakow, her husband Jan, a major in the army, and Anna’s father, Thaddeus Piekarski, give their first-hand account of life during this terrible time. From being front and center when Warsaw is bombed, to watching the Luftwaffe bomb farmers on the roads and rural villages, to the occupation of Krakow, to joining the resistance, each of them deal with the tragedy.

    Thaddeus decides to be patient at home, believing the Allies will rescue the city soon. Jan leads his brigade into battle trying to defend a poorly prepared country that still depended on civilian telephone lines and beasts of burden to move equipment on their poor roads; Anna and her Jewish friends return to Krakow from a visit to Warsaw where the Nazi occupation edicts put them all in danger.

    Anna and Jan do the best they can to live long enough, fighting for their homeland, to find each other again. Anna gets involved in the resistance when she escapes to friends in Belgium just before Jan comes to Krakow on business for the exiled government because of his ability to speak German.

    Jacobson’s attention to detail shows his respect for the era, for the events, equipment, geography and technology of the time, even weather patterns and clothing and food. While perhaps circumstances seem aligned in perfect favor for the characters, the account is fiction, and fiction asks for the ability to take a leap of faith upon occasion.

    Realistic to the point that I occasionally buzzed through detailed battle accounts, Jacobson’s Night of Flames will offer readers who enjoy well-documented World War II history a great few hours back in time.

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Bravery and heroism against overwhelming odds - a riveting read!

    Synopsis:
    Night of Flames begins in September 1939, as Germany invades Poland. Through the characters of Anna and Jan Kopernik, Douglas Jacobson takes us through the days of Poland's occupation, the bravery of vastly outnumbered Polish troops, the overwhelming force of the German military, and the heroism of the underground resistance.

    Jan Kopernik, an officer in the famous Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade, a.k.a. the Polish cavalry, is a career officer sees firsthand the gaps in their intelligence sources. After barely surviving disastrous battles with German troops, Jan escapes to Britain to assist British intelligence. He is sent back to occupied territories on several undercover missions. While back in Poland, Jan searches for his missing wife, Anna.

    Anna Kopernik was with her Jewish friend Irene and Irene's son Justyn when the Germans began the blitzkreig. Narrowly surviving the nighttime bombings of Warsaw, Anna leads Irene and Justyn from Warsaw back to Krakow. The granddaughter of a Polish nobleman, daughter of a law professor and a professor in her own right, Anna might have been safe in Krakow, even after the "open city" succumbed to German control. But when the Germans rounded up the intellectuals, Anna's father was dragged to a concentration camp and Anna's position becomes precarious. Her friends Irene and Justyn are ordered to wear armbands with yellow stars identifying their Jewish heritage. Offered travel visas out of Poland, Anna, Irene and Justin attempt the dangerous journey.

    Years later, Justyn comes across an American aviator in the fields of the village Warempage, Belgium while checking out "drop sites" for the Allied Forces. Anna helps bring the young American to the safe house operated by the Comet Line. So begins Anna's involvement in the Comet Line and the White Brigade.

    Review:
    Suspenseful, engrossing, and skillfully executed, Night of Flames brings us a close look into Polish resistance movement during World War II. Douglas W. Jacobson artfully combines a complex plot with deep and sympathetic characters. The bravery and heroism of ordinary citizens in the face of grave personal danger and overwhelming odds will stay with you long after you've finished the book.

    Publisher: McBooks Press; illustrated edition edition (October 1, 2008), 384 pages.
    Review copy provided by Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

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  • Posted April 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    WWII Fiction

    I've always been a big fan of WWII fiction I just don't read it as much as I used to. This one did not disappoint. I appeciate that it was written from the perspective of Polish protagonists instead of the English and American protagonists I normally encounter in this genre. The story was very adventuresome and suspenseful and did not have too many "coincidences". It also did not incorporate too many well known historical characters focusing mainly on the boots on the ground type people with much of the story occurring in the resistance and/or underground. I highly recommend it for those of you who enjoy WWII fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2007

    Beautiful, gripping tale!

    I was gripped by this tale from the first page! It is beautifully written and impeccably researched, weaving a heart-stopping and sensitive tale of the experiences and heroics of common people during WWII. The focus on Poland and Belgium lends this WWII story a unique flavor, and the strong main characters take you right along with them across war-torn Europe and into the depths of the tenatious resistance movements. Fascinating story, talented story-telling. Can't wait for the sequel! Highly recommended - not only for historical fiction enthusiasts, but anyone who wants a good read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2007

    A reviewer

    NIGHT OF FLAMES plays out as a taut and twisting thriller with memorable flesh and blood characters. In war-torn Poland lovers Jan and Anna find themselves separated, each destined to struggle alone against the odds as the Nazi net tightens over all of Europe. No matter the risk, their will to survive, their desire for reunion, and their love of country are emblematic of millions of Europeans who refused to go gently into the night. Douglas¿ clockwork plot draws the reader onto its rollercoaster ride, clicks along at breakneck speed through tunnels with atmosphere and suspense, occasional jolts and sudden drops, reaching at last, ultimate satisfaction. James Conroyd Martin, Award-winning author of PUSH NOT THE RIVER AND AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2007

    Highly Recommended

    In 1939 the Germans invade Poland setting off WW2. For Anna, a college professor in Krakow, and her husband, Jan, a Polish cavalry officer, it is the beginning of a struggle that seems hopeless. Fighting a covert war against overwhelming odds, they are determined to preserve their humanity and take back what is theirs. Described by THE LIBRARY JOURNAL as 'suspensful,rich in detail and impeccably researched' and by HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW as 'well researched and skillfully executed', NIGHT OF FLAMES is highly recommended.

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    Posted March 20, 2011

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    Posted August 16, 2009

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    Posted December 21, 2010

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