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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

From the best-selling author of Fatherland and Munich comes a WWII thriller about a German rocket engineer, a former actress turned British spy, and the Nazi rocket program.

The first rocket will take five minutes to hit London. You have six minutes to stop the second. 

Rudi Graf is an engineer who always dreamed of sending rockets to the moon. But instead, he finds himself working alongside Wernher von Braun, launching V2 rockets at London for the Nazis from a bleak seaside town in occupied Holland. As the SS increases its scrutiny of the project, Graf, an engineer more than a soldier, has to muster all of his willpower to toe the party line. And when rumors of a defector circulate through the German ranks, Graf becomes a prime suspect. 

Meanwhile, Kay Caton-Walsh, a young English intelligence officer, is living through the turmoil of war. After she and her lover, an RAF officer, are caught in a V2 attack, she volunteers to ship out for newly liberated Belgium. Armed with little more than a slide rule and a few equations, Kay and her colleagues hope to locate and destroy the launch sites. But at this stage in the war, it’s hard to know who, if anyone, she can trust. 

As the death toll soars, these twin stories play out against the background of the German missile campaign during the Second World War. And what the listener comes to understand is that Kay’s and Graf’s destinies are on a collision course.

©2020 Robert Harris (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Engrossing.... Harris brings the past to life through vivid characterizations and clever plotting. Fans of superior historical fiction will be rewarded." (Publishers Weekly)

"A veteran historical novelist homes in on one of Hitler’s last desperate hopes.... [An] enjoyable thriller with plenty of well-researched historical nuggets." (Kirkus Reviews)

"[An] historical-fiction master.... Crosscutting between those launching the rockets and those on the receiving end proves to be a superb narrative device.... [This] novel combines fascinating technical detail with a wartime drama that finds human ambiguity on both sides of the battlefield." (Booklist)

What listeners say about V2

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Ho-Hum

Could have been a decent book but it lacks suspense and character development. After a few chapters you don't care if they all get blown up. In spite of the marketing blurb, little new information on the V-2 is revealed beyond what can be found on Wikipedia and other web sources. The author seems undecided whether to write a historical novel or a non-fiction documentary and story falls lifeless between the two. The ending is rushed and unsatisfactory. In reality there was considerable more intrigue involved with the allies' capture of Von Braun and all the V-2 hardware and data than indicated in the book. As explained in the afterword, the novel was written in COVID-19 isolation, which apparently also applied to any meaningful interface between author and editor.

6 people found this helpful

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Not Harris's best

This is not Harris at his best. The plot is threadbare with a phony contrived ending. The facts about the V2 are interesting but the story is pure formula -- and not a very good one at that..

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Harris delivers again

Robert Harris is one of the best historical fiction writers today and he delivers again. The twin stories of the German scientist and the British WAC officer is nuanced and gripping. Though we know how this story ends, Harris never rushes and keeps the characters real. His portrayal of VonBraun is delicious.

2 people found this helpful

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Good story, great narration

David Rintoul's narration is so excellent he can make a bad story pretty good. But this is a good story that Rintoul makes into a great audio book. I just wish it were a little longer.

2 people found this helpful

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On of Harris’s best

A great “listen”. Keeps you in the car, listening, after you’ve gotten to where you’re going.

1 person found this helpful

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Intriguing and Compelling

Robert Harris' brilliant story draws you into the world of the German V2 project and the lives of two people on opposite sides of the War, whose destinies become intertwined. I finished this in one day because I could not stop listening/reading. An absolute page turner. David Rintoul's performance of this story was masterful.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting but hard to folllow

Appreciated the historical setting obviously a work that represented lot of research. Found myself lost at some points. But overall I enjoy the works of Harris.

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Rockets in WW II

This novel tells the story of the V-2 rocket in World War Two from both sides.

The British side is from the perspective of a photography viewer of Peenemunda (the German rocket development site) who becomes a mathematical predicted of launch sites of the V-2s.

The German side is one of the scientists that developed the rockets and is in charge of firing the rockets on London. The story is based more on how the V-2s affected their lives than the technical points.

It’s a good WW II story with some information about the V-2 rockets.

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Great WWII Story; well written and superbly narrated

I really enjoyed this book. The narrator made a really good book become a great audio adventure.

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A most enjoyable read

Yes, it was a most enjoyable read. I wasn't sure of what to expect but found the lives of the main characters interesting and I did learn new insights about the V2 program. Also, reading the novel did spur some additional interest in Von Braun.