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The Great Hour Struck

The Great Hour Struck

5.0 16
by Gary Varner

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As the inferno of World War II engulfs 101st Airborne Division paratrooper Lieutenant Sam Henry, the scholar-turned-soldier is thrust on a collision course with the embodiment of beauty-and the horrors of combat.

Training and awaiting D-Day in England, Sam's can-do Yank confidence suffers the harsh realities of a war-weary nation under siege as well as a tyrannical


As the inferno of World War II engulfs 101st Airborne Division paratrooper Lieutenant Sam Henry, the scholar-turned-soldier is thrust on a collision course with the embodiment of beauty-and the horrors of combat.

Training and awaiting D-Day in England, Sam's can-do Yank confidence suffers the harsh realities of a war-weary nation under siege as well as a tyrannical platoon leader. His fascination with the beautiful British schoolteacher, Maggie Elliott, sustains his hopes and softens the bite of military life but cannot erase the dread of Sam's upcoming mission.

When that fateful day arrives, June 6, 1944, Sam embarks on one of the most dangerous missions of the war. But the massive parachute night drop behind Hitler's Atlantic Wall disintegrates into pockets of fractured units and individuals locked in kill-or-be-killed close combat chaos, testing Sam's optimistic intellectualism to the breaking point. His personal mission becomes nothing more than getting his beloved men out-alive.

Yet, with the D-Day airborne objectives nearly secured, an unforeseen clash against a Russian Front hardened storm trooper, Helmut Behr, threatens to destroy Sam's sanity-and his life.

"Evocative and haunting. Varner's action scenes are fantastic he really brought me into D-Day." -Jefferson Scott, author of the Operation Firebrand series

Product Details

iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
Rising Star Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.08(d)

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The Great Hour Struck 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
PopsHansel More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of WWII history since I was a child. I have had the privilege of visiting Normandy and a number of the battlefields for an up close and personal account. In this book Varner has captured my imagination and made me feel a part of the fray. The description and depth of scope helped me visualize the action. His character development captivated me to read through this novel in record time. I enjoyed the romance and philosophical depth as well. This would be an excellent book for group discussions. I am strapping on my helmet and ready to jump out of a C47 with Henry and Springwater for part two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a veteran so I have always been curious what it was like to go to war and be in the armed services. When I first picked up this book I thought I would just read a couple of pages to see what it was like and I could not put it down. Reading this book put me right there. I appreciated the reality and details of the book as well as the characters. This book was very real to me. I even bought a copy for my uncle who was a WWII veteran. The book was so good I am going to read it again. I cannot wait for the next one. Mr. Varner keep it coming!
KGandillon More than 1 year ago
Varner had me locked in from the first chapter! I couldn't put the book down except for one brief period when I allowed myself about 4 hours sleep before picking it up again! The extremely accurate details and terminology show how much care Varner put into the historical accuracy of the people, places and things woven throughout this incredible novel. With the subplot of the love story, my wife enjoyed the book as much as I did though she did take a bit more time to savor the book while I plowed straight through it because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next! This one is a real page turner! Can't wait for the "rest of the story" to be published! In my opinion, The Great Hour Struck also has screenplay written all over it if the right people get to read it. Would make an excellent movie. We read it over the Thanksgiving holiday and ended up buying 18 copies to give as Christmas gifts to friends and family this year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
561st More than 1 year ago
Having read this book a few months ago, my thoughts circle back to the characters and events of this novel at the mere mention of anything WWII related. The Great Hour maintains a tempo like a Shostakovich symphony...it builds and builds then bursts into gut-wrenching emotion. So it is with the horror of WWII. Varner drops his readers behind enemy lines and lets us wrestle with heroism, cowardice, philosophy, and even romance. Be prepared for the unpredictable!
janetroark More than 1 year ago
Varner's book is military genre. Varner's book is a romance. Varner's book is a philosophical mental discussion of absolutes. This author had the ability to allow the reader the ability to read on the level of their choosing...masterful. For me, I was not able to water ski through this book. I needed to scuba dive and inspect every word crafted by the author and why. Varner obviously choose each word and made each scene come alive with details that popped in some scenes making it impossible to put the book down in some places (where thinking was not necessary and running or hiding with Sam and the guys was a must.)
ArthurDouglas More than 1 year ago
A must read for the person interested in American History, WWII, romance with class, death and destruction of war, without the exaggeration and indulgence of graphic details. A realistic presentation of the mental anguish and anxiety of WAR. A very insightful examination of Truth, Honor, Respect and the challenges of what is "right or wrong" not just in WAR but also in life, pre-war and post-war. Caused me to question the basis for "Absolute" truth. Is Right and Wrong relative to your circumstances or can there be "absolute" truth in all circumstances. I found myself fighting the urge to cheer the "good guys" to do things that were later revealed to be wrong......this was very convicting. A Great love story (without the unnecessary details) excellent, realistic descriptions of the preparation and execution of "War Plans".....how some plans worked and some did not and the resiliency of our young military staff and their too, young leaders. Wow, I hope and cannot wait for a sequel.. Thanks Gary Varner. Excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Great Hour Struck is written with the same passion and attention to detail that put Shaara's Killer Angels, and Higgin's The Eagle Has Landed into the Best Seller lists. The mood of the political environment at the time is skillfully crafted into the background like an exquisitely written movie soundtrack. Varner develops his characters with such eloquence that the reader develops a genuine concern for their welfare. The dialogue is enriched by a wealth of military detail and jargon that was pervasive during the war. As a Vietnam Era veteran I appreciate the attention to detail about military life and the challenges war presents. RWE, 2 Battalion 13th Infantry, Coleman Barracks, Mannheim Germany
Geronimo More than 1 year ago
Being a son of a Lt. of the 501st that jumped into Normandy, Holland and fought the Battle of the Bulge, I am a student of the 101st history and was very skeptical in buying and reading a book on this subject that is labeled fiction. Highly praised by another hard-core purists and the son of a Sergeant in the same company of Geronimo's as my father I thought to give it a try and if anything that struck me wrong about it I could toss it with compunction. To my satisfaction ,could not put this book down, staying up late and rising early to read what was going to happen next. Labeled as fiction ,the author Mr. Varner did his home work and foot work by having to actually walk the places and battle areas , towns in which this story took its origins. Towns , places , times and events were dead-nuts accurate,the names and personal stories being different. Being told the stories by my father with an undivided attention, I learned this history early and Mr. Varner's telling fits the ticket. The story revolves around a Lt. in A co. 501 regiment of the 101st screaming Eagle Division, his platoon, his commanders, friends and his hearts desire. Different from any war era love story film or book you may have read, the soldier being a different study than the normal blood n guts type portrayed by the film industry. Mishap meeting , English girls. Rolling English countryside , the rubble of London , teaching young adolescents works of Jane Austen. Life at the time seems good but in his mind he knows the reason he and all other Americans are in England as well as she knows . Enter the enemy , you will love to hate. Incompetent commanders, bad paratroopers , an enemy that is skilled in death and a girl that only wants him to live he finds himself in a slim situation. The savvy Lt. has good men. This book will make you cry, laugh, think about God and make you wish you were there. You can smell the vomit crusted, blood spilled plane as you try to keep your feet under you waiting on the green to come on. Feel the harness snap your groin like mush, taste the harsh cigarette smoking breath of the enemy as he peers thru his binoculars and whispers commands in your ear on how to kill the enemy. The Battle scenes are highly detailed and will satisfy the non-combat readers in their quest for the true life sense of battle. Leaving out nothing. If you think you know how it ends , you will be wrong. This book offers much more than BoB or SPR as it also deals with the love of a once in a lifetime romance. Is highly more believable than SPR as setting and scenarios are real life. A book worthy of passing to my combat veteran father , who actually fought through this very brutal time, the night before D-Day. I have given more details than I should , Male and female readers alike will be very pleased with this book, and like me will have you looking for more from Mr. Varner and his research. Son of a Geronimo
rknight More than 1 year ago
I literally lost sleep over this novel! The pages just kept turning. Unbelievably written and plotted. This novel is one of those books that when you put it down you yearn for more. I believe that Varner's novel says "screenplay" all over it! I would love to see this up on the big screen. It is action packed, with heart wrenching scenes that depict characters you can identify with and grow to love. The historical aspects of the novel are undeniable; however, Varner has a way of writing that is honest, yet kind and compassionate not dwelling too much on the gruesomeness of war while still providing the tragic facts. The imagery is vivid and the characters unforgettable. The storyline is compelling - weeks after finishing the book I find myself still thinking about the characters. I am anxiously awaiting the next series!
J.K.WILLIAMS More than 1 year ago
Through this unforgettable novel Varner took me back to 1944, England and Normandy. and I'm still there! A full two weeks after finishing The Great Hour Struck, I still find myself daydreaming about the characters and their adventures. Varner's ability to paint word pictures made me feel like I was standing right alongside the character - virtually eavesdropping. So real! So vivid!
I laughed. I cried. And I often found myself even holding my breath in anticipation of what was coming on the next page. The characters and settings came to life so much that now I want to return to England and Normany and explore all the fascinating places Varner took me in the amazing and emotionally gripping novel.
JeannieWatson More than 1 year ago
Posted 01/08/09: What a story! I couldn't put it down! Varner drew me in from the get-go!I felt he painted a true picture of the lives and times of the "greatest generation". As a woman, battle scenes are not usually my favorite parts but Varner's imagry and dialogue kept me plugged in. In the midst of all the ugliness of war, Varner managed to weave an incredibly beautiful and tender love story. I found myself thinking about his characters even when I wasn't reading the book, and being drawn back to his action packed world.
This is a must read for any reader who enjoys stepping back into another place and time. Varner's writing style and vivid characters make me look forward to Part II.
JJMeela More than 1 year ago
The Great Hour Struck: On Eagles' Wings is a must read for anyone who loves literature. Powerfully written, the story holds your attention and immerses you in the lives of the characters. It is a great read for anyone interested in or has served in the U.S. military. While the book is historically accurate, it is fast paced and exciting even if you are unfamiliar with the U.S. Army and World War II. In addition to the exciting action sequences there is also a beautiful love story. As a female reading this book, I thought I might lose interest due to all the war jargon, but I loved it. I would recommend this book to my friends.