From Publishers Weekly
The 1937 Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst, N.J., has been the subject of numerous books, several feature films and countless rumors. The mystery of the horrific zeppelin fire that claimed 35 lives is resurrected in this dark and brooding story about a survivor obsessed with finding out the cause of the catastrophe. Boetius, a popular German author, is also the son of one of the survivors of the Hindenburg and was raised on his father's stories of the event. The powerful tale he crafts here tells of a man who rises from the Hindenburg's ashes, equipped with a new face, a new identity and a new purpose in life. Birger Lund is a passenger on the Hindenburg's last flight across the Atlantic in May 1937. He miraculously survives the crash and fire, assumes the identity of a dead passenger and spends 10 years doggedly searching for answers to the questions of how and why. His search ends in 1947 when he finally locates one of the surviving airship officers Nazi enthusiast Edmund Boysen, the man at the zeppelin's controls when the crash occurred by tracking him to a sinister, isolated island in the North Sea. Boetius tells this story through both men, cleverly exploring the theories of what caused the disaster: natural lightning activity, crew or passenger carelessness and the more ominous one of sabotage. Anti-Nazis, the Gestapo, secret agents and some other unusual travelers on the passenger list add great drama and suspense. Boetius has created an original plot peopled with intensely realized characters, set against a vivid backdrop of prewar politics and the romance of zeppelin flight. (Dec. 26)Forecast: Boetius's personal tie to the Hindenburg debacle should spark curiosity, and the powerful, understated jacket design will help the book stand out on display tables.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In this new novel from German author Bo?tius, the Hindenburg disaster is viewed through the lives of two men. Edmund Boysen, a sailor and airship helmsman, is piloting the Zeppelin when it crashes at Lakehurst, NJ, in May 1937 but miraculously escapes unharmed. Birger Lund, a journalist working on a biography of Queen Christina of Sweden, also survives but is presumed dead. Later horribly burned in a car accident, he assumes a new identity after reconstructive surgery and ten years later tracks down Boysen in order to confirm his theory of what actually brought the Hindenburg down. None of the five explanations proposed by the investigative commission at the time turns out to be right; the truth involves Nazi politics. Technical details ranging from burn treatment to the principles of lighter-than-air flight are nicely integrated into this intelligent narrative, which also contains the love story of Boysen and his wife-to-be, Irene. Boetius, whose father was at the controls of the Hindenburg that night and was the last surviving member of the crew, has written a compelling story of one of the great disasters of the 20th century, making the novel eerily relevant today. Recommended for all public libraries.
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- Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.