- File Size: 1121 KB
- Print Length: 358 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1633200329
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: S & H Publishing (November 21, 2015)
- Publication Date: November 21, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B018CRS2IE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,160,834 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The 45th Nail Kindle Edition
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Robert Svenson leads an unremarkable American life, occasionally tweaked by random cards and Etruscan coins from an Uncle reported Missing-in-Action after WWII ended. He’s incited to travel to Italy by a Christmas card from his uncle with a vague premise of discovering if his uncle is alive and, if he is, why he didn’t return home.
Except he tells his wife he’s headed to France… Hmmn. When financial disasters marred his initial days in Italy, my laughter was wry, despite the author’s comedic intent.
I also didn’t understand the subterfuge of quirky Uncle Jim via these encounters and friendly spies…until it occurred to me that Uncle Jim was a crusty and guarded old codger who reminded me of 'A Man Called Ove', an international bestseller for good reason. Perhaps Jim didn’t lie to his boring, overly-careful bland wife after all: subterfuge was a family trait.
Uncle Jim invites Bob on a leisurely excursion through Italy, providing travelogue and history that delighted this reader, and is the core of the book. What I regarded as the unnecessarily secretive ways of Uncle Jim fell away as he began to trust his wily nephew, even addressing him as ‘nephew’ to show the trust gained.
The ending was surprising but satisfying. Jim got what he sought and so did Bob. I will forever wonder what happened between Bob and his wife as they continued married life upon his return to the US. Perhaps it helped that Bob was enriched—in more ways than one—by his trip. Next book?
Michael & Ian Lahey’s novel, “The 45th Nail”, opens as a light-hearted romp, with comedy at a highpoint, as Bob is beset by thieves and con-artists from the very moment he arrives in Italy. Robbed of all his money and possessions, he is left quite destitute from the moment he plants his feet on Italian soil. Despite his naivety, the loss of everything but his passport, and his inability to speak the language very well, it is only through the kindness of strangers that our protagonist manages to get by, making for some highly humorous situations and observations on life in general.
Weeks later, a chance meeting leads to contact with his uncle, and this is where Lahey’s novel really begins as he takes Bob on a long journey through the Italian countryside and the old soldier’s tortured past. The whole flavor of Lahey’s saga shifts to a more introspective and serious tone as—together—the two men travel down roads rarely revisited and face memories seldom wanting to be claimed. It is this exploration of Italy’s war-ravaged past that leads Bob to a better understanding of the tenuousness and tenacity of life while Jim ultimately comes to terms with his demons and meets his destiny.
One doesn’t really fall in love with the characters in Lahey’s novel, for each is flawed in a way that makes them somewhat unappealing. But spending time with them, examining their motives and finding out what makes them tick, one can see how they arrived at a point in their lives where their decisions were either based on insight or instinct. Lahey keenly demonstrates that insight and instinct are oftentimes abandoned when morals and ethics are pushed aside and replaced by a strong urge to survive. But grace and mercy can always be found in the common events of everyday life where troubled souls like Jim’s can seek solace, forgiveness, and salvation.
“The 45th Nail” appeals to several genres—It is an almanac rife with facts about battles won and lost, towns destroyed and reemerged, populations decimated and reborn, and enough trivia and statistics to satisfy even the most avid fact-finder. It is a travel guide on the Italy of the past and the present, replete with details on climate, terrain, lodgings, and local events. It is a history lesson listing each of the many ancient and modern armies and generals that swept over the mountains and plains, and looted banks and robbed mansions of their treasures. And it is a personal journal, one man’s biographical account—fictional perhaps, but clearly possible … and quite likely probable—of a lifetime spent in self-exile and penance for waging war against a people he hardly knew for the sake of a people he never really came home to. Jim Savorski is a lost soul, devoid of any true joy, and hoping to somehow make amends for all the sins he has committed. Does he find salvation in the end? That is a question Bob Svenson is still trying to answer in “The 45th Nail.
#IARTG #IAN #ASMSG #HistFic #Mystery #Military #War #WWII #Italy #Etruscans #RomanEmpire #Amazon #Kindle #Goodreads #Ebooks #BookBoost #BookPromo
Historical Fiction, Mystery, War, World War II, Italy, Etruscans, Roman Empire, Amazon, Kindle, Goodreads, Ebooks,
Top international reviews
After receiving a Christmas card from the mystery man, along with an expensive Etruscan amulet, Robert decides to head for Italy in search of his uncle, although he deceives his rather dim wife by claiming it’s a Busman’s holiday to France instead.
Robert finds himself robbed of his possessions upon arrival in Rome, something which instantly earned my empathy, having suffered the same fate in the Eternal City a few years ago. But it’s merely the first of many tests of character thrown in his way by Uncle Jim, who engineered the entire stunt to see how his nephew would respond. The mystery of Jim’s dark past as an American soldier in Italy is then expertly unravelled as he takes Robert on a tour of his old haunts. You get a real sense of Italy, its people and the culture during their journey, with the knowledge and research of the co-authors, who both live in the country, shining through. The book is dedicated to their father and grandfather, a former US Marine, and you can tell this novel is a real labour of love.
There’s a lovely flow to the writing and Uncle Jim, a likeable grouch, is the beating heart of the novel. His nephew is a bit of a wet blanket in comparison to this force of nature and the countless colourful characters he meets on his unforgettable road trip.
It’s hard to pigeon-hole the 45th Nail as it’s a novel that crams so much in. The book is comedic in places, dark in others and acts as a travelogue at times. You learn a lot about Italy and its changing role in the war, a subject which I find fascinating. You sense the Italians still struggle to come to terms with the fact their nation sided with the Nazis under Mussolini and this story is essentially about one man’s bid to redeem himself for crimes committed during the war. But it’s an American who’s haunted by his past on the beach of Anzio and the climax to this book is gripping as Jim returns to the scene of his crime.
I can’t recommend the 45th Nail highly enough. I found the book hard to put down at times and when I finished it off the first thing I wanted to do was jump on a flight to Italy. Well worth checking out.
Of all the characters, I liked Uncle Jim the most. I could actually hear him talking in my mind, and though he was a dark character, found myself empathising for him, which is a tribute to the authors. The story pulled me along, though sometimes had to drag me as I wallowed in some aspect or other of the Italian way of life, from horse races to street theatre, from restaurants to vineyards. I was sad to reach its end and leave.
All in all, a great, vivid read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.