WORLD WAR II. ATOMIC BOMBS. NAZIS IN NORWAY. SPIES ON SKIS.
I understand your befuddlement; what reason could you possibly find to be interested in this story? Well, consider this: at the heart of The Winter Fortress is a team of commandos hounded by the enemy, surviving in the wild only through their keen ability to hunt.
A little context about The Winter Fortress. It’s 1942, and German scientists are racing to build an atomic bomb. They have the physicists. They have the will. What they don’t have is enough deuterium oxide, “heavy water”, an essential ingredient in their plans to obtain a weapon that would decide the war. In a remote, mountainous valley in Norway stands the lone plant in all the world that makes this rare substance: Vemork. For two years, the Nazis have occupied Norway, and they have threatened the plant’s engineers with death if they do not push production into overdrive.
For the Allies, Vemork must be destroyed. But how would they reach the castle fortress, set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on earth? Enter Leif Tronstad, a brilliant Norwegian scientist who narrowly escapes his country to bring word to the Allies of the plant’s importance and how to infiltrate it. Together with the British Special Operations Executive (“the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”), Tronstad recruits a disparate band of patriots and begins to plan a mission that many believe impossible.
These patriots are Norwegians, who know what it is to endure on their own wits with the most rudimentary equipment (self-designed sleeping bags, rabbit-skin underwear, home-built toboggans). They build snow caves; they navigate through blizzards; they forage for their own food; they climb ice-bound cliff-sides. They are expert cross-country skiers and hunters, and without both of these skills, they never would have had a chance to hit Vemork and escape with their lives.
Attached, you’ll find an excerpt from the book of the first successful hunt for reindeer by one of the team’s leaders. His men are on the verge of starving, and if he does not bring home a kill, they might well die soon. I hope you enjoy the read.
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Thank you for your time and attention. With kind regards,
(You can check out more about me and some of my award-winning, New York Times best-selling books at nealbascomb.com