At the end of World War II, Axel Mader and Jorn Furman -- two young officers who wear Germany's highest class of Iron Cross -- barely escape the retribution of the SS. Decades later, their fates are entangled with that of Jake Tallon, an American soldier stationed in Berlin who falls in love with Mader's daughter. Tallon, too, is a decorated war hero, though from Vietnam, not WWII. Together, the three iron men join together in Berlin just before the fall of the Wall to confront the legacy of the past . . . and defeat it.
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A washed-up American officer joins a gang of grizzled German WW II veterans seeking vengeance against the SS captain who murdered their comrades and then rose to the top of the East German secret police. Scott has taken on the Vietnam War (The Expendables, 1991, etc.) and now heats up the last days of the cold war. Battered and bruised by a scandalous divorce, his military career washed down the tubes with booze, Lt. Col. Jake Tallon gets his last assignment--a desk job in Berlin, where his superiors hope he will fade away. But Tallon doesn't fade. Sucking in his breath and limiting himself to light beers, Jake analyzes the military readiness of his new office, finds it wanting, kicks backsides, and takes names. He also meets pretty, half-German Kristina Hastings, his local State Department oppo, and becomes involved with her and her widowed dad, Axel Mader. Herr Mader, a wealthy contractor, still entertains hopes of finding Horst Volker, the Nazi officer who, in the last days of the Third Reich, executed Mader's exhausted paratroopers for their failure to hold off the advancing Russians. Volker went straight from the SS to the Stasi, the new East German secret service that he rose to control. But the East German government has begun to be shaken by the general collapse of communism, and Volker's invulnerability is no longer certain. When Jake and Axel at last go to battle with Volker, they are joined by Jake's resourceful former sergeant and two of the German officers who swore with Axel to bring Volker to justice. The toughest of the bunch is Jorn Furman, the man whose legs Volker shot off and whose life in the workers' paradise has been made hell by Volker's Stasi. Plucky old soldiers fight a good fight--in an improbable but rousing adventure. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Scott, whose previous novels ( The Expendables ; Charlie Mike ) focused on the Vietnam War, has written a readable but highly contrived thriller that spans the past 40 years in Germany. During the waning days of WW II, a band of battle-weary Luftwaffe paratroopers is tactically retreating on the outskirts of Berlin. Sadistic SS captain Horst Wolker orders his men to execute them as "traitors to the Fatherland." Paratrooper captain Alex Mader pleads with Volker, explaining that his unit is low on ammunition, and moreover, the soldiers are all "Iron Men," recipients of Germany's highest military honor, the Knight's Cross. Unmoved, Volker orders the mass execution to proceed, but Mader and two others are spared when the hum of Soviet tanks prompts the SS to flee. Decades pass; Volker, fittingly, has become the director of Stasi, the East German secret police, and the three surviving Iron Men are still bent on revenge. In 1989, Jake Tallon, a U.S. Army colonel (and former Special Forces hotshot in Vietnam), is assigned to West Berlin; he befriends Mader and assists the Iron Men in their attempt to settle an old score. Though the narrative is slow going in the interval between the wars, the novel's gung-ho characters and exciting climax redeem it from Scott's tendency to rely on coincidence.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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