Footsteps, like Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls and Wouk's The Winds of War, is a story filled with suspense, romance, and sudden violence. It is 1941, only days after the attack at Pearl Harbor plunges America into the war. Two young U.S. Army lieutenants — Jennifer Haraldsson, a beautiful nurse, and Jonathan Partude, who falls in love with her almost at first sight — receive a secret assignment from Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall to rescue a top U.S. nuclear physicist from Norway, which has been occupied by German forces.
President Roosevelt, warned that the Germans might be on the verge of developing terrible new atomic weapons, had asked the elderly Nobel Laureate, James Flannigan, to spy on a plant in Norway believed to be producing the "heavy water" needed for the manufacture of such weapons.
Haraldsson and "Dude" Partude, who are fluent in Norwegian and excellent skiers, must find Flannigan and help him escape across treacherous mountains to the seacoast, where they expect to be picked up by a waiting submarine. All three are fully aware that the ailing Flannigan must not be allowed to fall into enemy hands.
Chased by the enemy, hampered by the physicist's deteriorating health, impacted by a blossoming romance, and faced with harsh winter conditions, the two young Americans and their allies struggle to avoid disaster. An epic battle occurs at the water's edge — with results that echo throughout the novel.
The explosive action of Footsteps soon expands to use the whole war-torn world as its stage, with action scenes involving the doomed Allied raid at Dieppe, the Russian Front, the D-Day invasion of Normandy, and ferocious air battles in the Pacific.
In addition to Roosevelt and Marshall, the cast of characters features Winston Churchill as well as other real people who were among the most important leaders of that most crucial era. (Of course, the need for a desperate attempt to prevent an enemy from developing nuclear weapons is as relevant today as it was then.) Fictional characters with significant roles include an American fighter pilot, a British Special Operations officer, overworked medical personnel, and a pair of German officers -- one cruel, the other surprisingly tender-hearted.
As World War II rages to a dramatic conclusion, human emotions smolder, clouded by issues of conscience and morality. Survivors meet again — enemies as well as friends — in ways both dreamed of and quite shocking.
FOOTSTEPS TO FOREVER (Review by Historical Novel Society - 2010)
R. Samuel Baty, iUniverse, 2008, $19.95, pb, 312pp, 9780595496402
In 1941, two U.S. army lieutenants are sent to rescue an ailing physicist who had been sent to occupied Norway by President Roosevelt to spy on German atomic energy progress. Jennifer, a nurse, and Jonathan (aka Dude) travel incognito to find the physicist and bring him safely home. Their dangerous expedition takes them into harsh winter conditions where they are pursued by the enemy and changed forever by their experiences and a budding love for one another. The terrors that Jennifer and Dude face are realistic and compelling, and Baty does an excellent job describing their adventure.
Baty has taken on the whole war in this action-packed novel. He successfully incorporates the story of Jennifer and Dude into major worldly affairs and deals with the greater picture. This is not just a novel about a rescue mission—it’s a novel about how everyone was impacted by the war. Real life people, such as Roosevelt and Churchill, make cameo appearances in the novel, creating a realistic feel.
The well-developed plot allows characters to progress and change by the novel’s end, and Baty intriguingly has included both sides of the story: Allied and Axis characters shine through in a thoroughly well-rounded story. By the novel’s end, one has experienced happiness, sadness, tragedy, loss, and in the end, hope. Highly recommended. -- Rebecca Roberts
Darkness into Light: A Post World War II Sequel & Thriller
by R. Samuel Baty
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Even though the ferocious battles of World War II have concluded, the world is unfortunately not a safer place. The iron curtain has dropped in front of Eastern Europe, Josef Stalin is focused on world domination, and United States Army nurse Jennifer Haraldsson is on a mission to find her former patient and foe, German POW Otto Bruner. Once attracted to Otto until wartime secrets divided them, Jennifer must know the truth. Does she love him or not?
After Otto is transferred to a detention camp in West Germany, he remains devastated by the loss of Jennifer and witnessing the post-war destruction of his beloved Germany only makes it worse. Desperate to win Jennifer back, Otto summons his friend Ernst Peiper to help, but they soon discover they are being targeted by a group of Nazi extremists and must be transferred to another camp. But Otto is ready to risk everything for love and escapes off the transporter truck into the dark of the night.
In a last-ditch effort to rendezvous, Otto and Jennifer throw caution to the wind and cross into the other's territory, never realizing that their unsettled world is much more complicated than they ever imagined.
Darkness into Light (Review by Military Writers Society of America - 2011)
Darkness into Light is a historical thriller set in Europe immediately following World War II. This sequel to Footsteps to Forever follows U.S. Army nurse Jennifer Haraldsson as she joins America’s fledgling intelligence service. She sets out to find her former patient and enemy, German POW Otto Bruner. She has to find out if her feelings for him can replace the anger she feels at him for his role in killing her fiancé. Bruner is looking for her as well, having agreed to spy for the Russians in an effort to save his family.
Readers who enjoyed Footsteps to Forever will love this book since it follows the continuing saga of the surviving characters. Those who haven’t read the prequel won’t be left out either, since the author does a very good job of creating a fast-paced story that stands on its own as well. This story will keep you in suspense until the last page.
Forever We Serve: A Korean War Thriller & Third Novel in Series
by R. Samuel Baty
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Although World War II is over, the world is not a safer place. The Soviet Union has lowered an iron curtain in front of Eastern Europe, and Josef Stalin desires complete world domination. American nurse Jennifer Haraldsson and her former patient and German POW, Otto Bruner, have returned to their former lives with unfinished business. Although deeply in love, both realize the obstacles to spending their lives together are too overwhelming.
Haraldsson, who now serves as a nurse at Walter Reed Army Hospital, knows that Jack MacLaine, United States Army Intelligence Officer, is her best hope for romance. After she accepts his marriage proposal, she naively thinks her life will return to normal. Unfortunately, she has never been more wrong. After the North Koreans attack South Korea, MacLaine is sent overseas. It is not long before Haraldsson is enlisted by her boss, Dr. Brad Taylor, to travel to Korea to launch a mobile army hospital. As the two work tirelessly to set up their MASH unit, Haraldsson has no idea that an unexpected tragedy is about to strip away her newfound happiness.
Many twists and turns occur in this continuing historical thriller. The great political and military dramas of the times unfold as the legendary Marine First Regiment Commander Chesty Puller, General Douglas MacArthur, General Matthew Ridgway, and President Harry Truman assume their commanding roles.
In this continuing historical saga, an American nurse soon realizes that amidst the chaos of war, nothing is guaranteed—especially love.
Legends Live On: Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Berlin Wall Eras
by R. Samuel Baty
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This is the fourth and final novel in the series. Jennifer Haraldsson Sherman is now a Wife and Mother. She is also an Army Nurse serving in the Washington, DC area. With Vietnam heating up, she is uncomfortable thinking of the young Americans who will be going there to fight and die. She feels an obligation to once again serve her country, but she knows she will have to get the approval of her family first.
In Eastern Germany, Jennifer’s old flame, Otto Bruner, is working hard for German reunificarion. He has to be careful, though, as his bosses in East Germany believe Communism is the way to go. Underneath, Otto strongly disagrees. One only has to compare the standard of living between East and West Germany to know that Otto’s secret feelings are correct.
In this fascinating and hair-raising story, the author lays out the many challenges that are inherent in one of the most exciting periods in the history of the United States. As he did with previous novels in the series, the author ties the challenges faced by the leading characters with the most powerful people of the era. The novel includes U.S. Presidents from John F. Kennedy to George Herman Walker Bush. The result is a thriller with many twists and turns which brings the key surviving characters together in what can truly be considered the end of an era. This book is a must-read for all those who love a gripping story.