From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. After five novels about conflict in ancient times (Gates of War
, etc.), Pressfield effortlessly gives fresh life to wartime romance and the rigors of combat in a superior WWII thriller. Framed as the memoir of a British officer, the book is based on an actual British plot to assassinate the "Desert Fox," German field marshal Erwin Rommel, during late 1942 and early 1943 in North Africa. The author painstakingly sets the stage for later fireworks by charting the prewar career of R. Lawrence "Chap" Chapman, especially his relationship with the brilliant but doomed Zachary Stein, Chap's tutor and mentor at Oxford. Chap also falls in love with sexy Rose McCall, whose brains and brass later get her posted to naval intelligence in Egypt. As a young lieutenant, Chap joins the team assembled to go after Rommel. Pressfield expertly juxtaposes the personal with the historical, with authentic battle descriptions. Crisp writing carries readers through success, failure and a final face-to-face encounter with Rommel that's no less exciting for knowing the outcome. (Apr.)
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Moving away from the ancient world and into the 20th century seems to have served Steven Pressfield quite well. Many readers may be unfamiliar with the Long Range Desert Group (popularized in the 1960s TV series The Rat Patrol
), but this powerful, thoroughly researched novel should change that. Pressfield creates the same edge-of-your-seat drama, remarkable battle scenes, and strong characters that populate his acclaimed novels of ancient warfare. Chapman contemplates war as he learns to fight and lead amid carnage; Rommel’s spirit threatens like a dark cloud over the entire story; and the ruthless desert emerges as its own character. The reviewer at Armchair General
sums it up: “Reading Killing Rommel
is the closest thing to actually participating in one of these daring WWII raids in the trackless desert of North Africa that any of us today will ever get.”Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.