Footsteps to Forever, Darkness into Light,
Forever We Serve and Legends Live On
A World War Two Thriller and Beyond   R. Samuel Baty   www.sambatybooks.com
Reviews and Interviews

The following listings are reviews for "Footsteps to Forever." The novel is available from the publisher (iUniverse), Amazon (hardback, paperback, and Kindle), and other outlets.

FOOTSTEPS TO FOREVER (Review by Rebecca Roberts for the Historical Novel Society) 

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


FOOTSTEPS TO FOREVER (Review by Andrea Connell for the Queen's Quill)
R. Samuel Baty, iUniverse, 2008, $19.95, pb, 312pp, 9780595496402

 

"In the first of a projected four-novel series, two American officers (Jennifer, a nurse, and Jonathan, an Army lieutenant) are sent to Norway to rescue an American physicist trapped behind enemy lines . . . and thus begins an adventure that takes them throughout the world theatre of the Second World War. The story follows not only the two brave lieutenants, but a few other main characters, as well, whose fates are interwoven with those of the Americans. To say any more about the plot would be to give it away, so I’ll let that suffice.

 

This WW2 thriller has all the makings of a transfixing movie; all of the elements are there: a gripping and unpredictable plot, stomach-churning twists and turns, romance and loss, and intimate views from historically important battles (such as the failed raid at Dieppe, the Russian Front, the Normandy D-Day invasion, and the Pacific theater). The author isn’t afraid to kill off major characters, either, lending to the atmosphere of suspense.

 

It is obvious that the plot was a carefully thought out and filled with creative ideas; the author also has a knack for creating suspense in action. However, two elements made this book rough going for me: characterization and dialogue.

 

To a reader who is not familiar with military curtness, the dialogue will appear stiff and the prose, straightforward and down-to-earth, perhaps overly so. Compared to flowery literary writing, it is. But one must consider the target audience before making grand pronouncements—after reading Footsteps to Forever, I believe the major audience the book is aimed at is the military (and those interested in things military)—people who appreciate bluntness and action over emotion- and characterization-focused plots and complex word play, the elements that seem to me to be lacking. The author breathes just enough life into his characters for the reader to sympathize and want to follow their adventures, but hardly enough to satisfy hardcore historical fiction fans, who have come to expect intense character development and an emotional pull along with their historical background. Personally, I would have enjoyed more details about these intriguing characters and more illustration of how their actions defined who they were—instead of being told that they did—as well as tension building in the romantic relationships.

 

Military thrillers are not the usual genre that I choose to read, but I am glad this book opened up my adventurous reading side—and the technical details regarding, for example, “heavy water” and the P-38 planes that were flown during WW2, also expanded my education. Dr. Samuel Baty has a twenty-two year career in the Air Force under his belt, as well as advanced education in engineering, and this knowledge base shines in Footsteps to Forever. Occasionally, the technical details overrode the story, but overall, they were kept in check.

 

The novel was cleanly edited—only a few typos—professionally typeset, and the cover was descriptive of the contents, if a little masculine for my personal taste. Then again, think “audience.”

 

If you want an engaging action-driven plot and can live with the lack of strong character development, you will enjoy this adventure. If, however, you are seeking a lush, character-driven period piece, this will not be your cup of tea. I enjoyed this book for exactly what it was—a thrilling WW2 adventure.

 

Footsteps to Forever by R. Samuel Baty, iUniverse, 2008, $19.95, paperback, ISBN 978-0-595-49640-2

 

Disclaimer: I have worked with this author in my official position at the HNS."


"This is a tough, suspenseful story set in the behind-the-scenes arena of covert operations as the U.S. prepares to enter WW2. Full of thrills and tight situations, Baty writes with skill and expert knowledge about two young American officers, a man and woman, who are sent to rescue an ailing physicist trapped in occupied Norway, where heavy water, an essential ingredient for the atomic bomb, is being secretly prepared. The two fall in love, and their hair-raising exploits keep the final outcome in doubt to the end. Baty brings in real characters, such as Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, and George Marshall, adding further authenticity to the tale. A must-read for WW2 buffs and all those who love a gripping story."
--Francis Roe, MD
author of Doctors and Doctors' Wives and other novels
"If you are interested in tragedy, love, and personal bravery, spread across historically accurate events of World War II, this is your book. The author has woven the lives of victors and vanquished into a complex story of conflicted emotions, duty, and reconciliation. The breadth and depth of Sam Baty's Air Force career make him a well qualified and capable story teller. His plot involves Presidents, Prime Ministers, Nobel Prize physicists, back room handshakes, and unparalleled bravery in carrying out those agreements. From the 1941 raid on a German heavy water plant in Norway to the final battles in the Pacific, this story rings with human truth and individual struggles. FOOTSTEPS TO FOREVER is a compelling tale and a wonderful reading experience for students of history and human relationships."
--Donn Byrnes 
author of BLACKBIRD RISING — Birth of an Aviation Legend
IR SUPERIORITY BLUE — The F-15 Story
In "Footsteps," Sam Baty has meticulously crafted a taut and suspenseful
thriller. Amid the churning maelstrom of global conflict, his finely-honed
characters struggle through war, love and betrayal to ultimately find salvation
and heroism."
--Robert Woltman
poet, non-fiction writer and critic
"Baty's thriller is as expansive as the global war that it takes as its subject. It reminds us that the Second World War was an immense political and personal drama. Footsteps to Forever is a story of courage and loss. The author's attention to detail and passion for the era comes through on every page."
--Scott C. Zeman
Associate Professor of History at New Mexico Tech
"Through varied military assignments, Baty's intriguing characters in the romantic adventure Footsteps to Forever cleverly intertwine the European and Pacific theaters of World War II. His American heroine, through courage and intelligence, successfully obtains vital information behind enemy lines. The dangerous undertakings in the novel will trigger nostalgia in those who lived during this period, or excite curiosity in those who were born later."
--Nancy R. Bartlit
author of Silent Voices of WWII
"Exciting World War II reading that addresses Norway and its strategic role to full effect."
--Martha Otte
Festival Director, Tromso International Film Festival

Of his first novel, former University of New Mexico President Richard E. Peck says in a review that Baty has a "knack of personalizing a major historical event, World War II. We watch the impact of the war on both combatants and civilians, both Allies and Axis, people we can understand because their reactions to major events are similar to our own. A good book, fun to read."

 


The following listings are reviews for "Darkness into Light." The novel is available from the publisher (iUniverse), Amazon (hardback, paperback, and Kindle), and other outlets.

"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.

      Praise by notable people in the front of "Darkness into Light"

"Darkness into Light is the story on a cosmic level of a world trying to find its bearings after the turmoil of World War II, but on a more personal and poignant level it is the story of a man and a woman trying to find each other in war-ravaged Europe. Their harrowing journeys will keep the reader eagerly turning pages all the way to the surprising ending."
--Paula Paul
author of Crazy Quilt and Inherited Sins
"Richard Baty's spell-binding new novel, Darkness into Light, the eagerly anticipated sequel to his World War II thriller Footsteps to Forever, is set against the dramatic era of post-war Europe. Newly defeated Germany is now divided among American, British, French and Soviet sectors, all vying for influence. Within this boiling maelstrom of menace and intrigue, there is no respite for Footsteps' key players. Driven by desperate personal quests and official imperatives, they are swept up in shifting winds of European power struggles that are as fraught with dangers as the war itself. As is usually the case in a Baty novel, the story does not end quite as one might expect. Throughout his cleverly realized and densely plotted tale, Baty interweaves a fascinating cast of supporting characters, moving against a richly detailed historical background. Darkness into Light is a must-read for World War II buffs and for anyone who loves a thrilling adventure tale." 
Martin Fleck
Playwright
"Darkness into Light moves forward in perfect synchronization with respect to the original. Those many readers who became attached to Jennifer and Otto in Footsteps to Forever will find out what happens to them in the stunning aftermath of World War II."
--Paul Reed
Writer
"Darkness into Light, a riveting sequel to Sam Baty's Footsteps to Forever, is packed with action as the loves, hopes, fears and struggles of both ordinary people and giants of history play out in a panoramic drama."
--Robert Woltman
Albuquerque writer and critic
"Darkness into Light, sequel to Footsteps to Forever, is a fine tale set at the end of WW2, when the victors and the vanquished finally meet. Baty brings the contestants to life, their humanity or lack thereof, their responsibilities and how they deal with them. Historical characters such as George Patton and other luminaries show up with verve and realism, and even romance appears, against all odds. Both military and civilians will enjoy this well-written and engrossing novel."
--Francis Roe, MD
author of Doctors and Doctors' Wives and other novels

 


The following reviews are for "Forever We Serve," which is now live and available through the Publisher (iUniverse), Amazon (hardback, paperback, and Kindle), and other outlets.
           

The Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) mwsadispatches.com

 

This is a combination love-story and war-story set from the early days of the Korean War through its conclusion.  As this is the third in a series, the author provides some background information on the characters, who are continuing their lives following World War II and the start of the Cold War.

 

As a novel, the book maintained an ebb and flow that was pleasing.  There were three different stories going on, all related, and each chapter was in and of itself part of the story. We learn about the egotistical and arrogant Douglas MacArthur, how he lost the peace and was eventually relieved of command by President Truman; we learn about the heroic Chesty Puller, USMC and the intelligence men who worked for him, and how one of them falls in love; and we learn about the nurse who loses her fiancé in the war and the war-torn romances that follow for her and her assistant as nurses in a MASH unit.

 

The story’s focus is part war, part politics, and part love.  It is a mix of history, romance and destiny, which ties doing the right thing, for one’s country, for one’s friends, and for the future into the story line.  It is an easy read, is historically correct, and one with a pleasant ending.      

 

  • Reviewed by: Darlene Iskra (2012)
  • Readers at Amazon www.amazon.com
  • Others
  • Praise by notable people in the front of "Forever We Serve"
"Within the panoramic backdrop of historically accurate figures and events of the Korean War, Nurse Jennifer Haraldsson experiences love, loss and renewal. The remarkable contributions and innovations of nursing in caring for wounded warriors is nothing short of inspirational!"
Nancy Ridenour PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN
Dean and Professor
University of New Mexico College of Nursing
"Forever We Serve begins five years after the wrenching ordeals of World War II, so vividly recounted in R.S. Baty’s acclaimed military thrillers Footsteps to Forever and Darkness into Light. Haunted by memories of love lost in the violence of that war, army nurse Jennifer Haraldsson hopes to find happiness with Colonel Jack MacLaine, even as the Korean conflict draws them inexorably into its bloody web. Baty deftly interweaves their imperiled romance with riveting depictions of battlefield action between the numerically superior North Korean army and woefully untested UN forces under the magisterial command of General Douglas MacArthur. With an historian’s keen eye for dramatic detail, Baty meticulously revisits the bold decisions, legendary personalities and seminal engagements of that brutal conflict, ultimately rewarding his captivated readers with an unpredictable but most satisfying conclusion."
Marty Fleck
Playwright
“Sam Baty brings readers another non-stop adventure in Forever We Serve. Jennifer Haraldsson and Jack MacLaine return along with a cast of characters that includes Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill and Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. With his knowledge of military history and the intricacies of military life, Baty skillfully guides the story, keeping the reader guessing until the end, wondering how Jennifer will make the decision that will impact her life forever. Forever We Serve is an unforgettable read.”
--Paula Paul
author of Sins Of The Empress
“An exciting blend of fact and fiction — Forever We Serve is an easy read that provides an excellent history lesson about the events leading up to and through the Korean War. Through the characters, the reader experiences the emotions and thought processes of not just the military characters, but those of their wives and lovers. Realistic and enjoyable.”
-- Circe Olson Woessner, Executive Director, Museum of the American Military Family
“Sam Baty has done it again. In his Korean War thriller, Forever We Serve, Baty has crafted a novel which will have the reader eagerly turning pages. Whether you are someone who has read the first two novels in the series and want to be reunited with old friends, whether you are steeped in history, or whether you are a true patriot at heart, you will not be disappointed. There is something in Forever We Serve for everyone.”
Sam Smith
Retired AT&T Engineer and U.S. Navy Veteran
“A forgotten war, a "proxy" war--the Korean War impacted a generation of men (and a few women) from 1950 to 1953. Mr. Baty's story, Forever We Serve, shows us soldiers and nurses from World War II developing their personal lives as they are compelled to bravery in the stress of wartime. The best of the book is the fictional study of MacArthur's aggressive and egotistical behavior and President Truman's insistence that he must not use atomic weapons or pursue the enemy with American Troops beyond the 38th Parallel. Truman's decision to relieve MacArthur, the hero of another time, is a turning point. This war between the forces of democracy and those of communism is little known today, but very important in our time. To revive it in fiction is a service.”
--"Publisher of works by Peggy Pond Church--Accidental Magic, and Shoes for the Santo Nino"
"For those of you who were entranced by Sam Baty’s WWII account, Footsteps to Forever, starting with the attack at Pearl Harbor in the fall of 1941, December 7, to his continuing novel, Darkness into Light of postwar-Cold War Berlin, you will want to continue Nurse Jennifer’s fantastic novel of novels action ride. This she gives us in her living account of the dynamic and dramatic action in the US Police Action in Korea along with MacArthur, Truman, and Eisenhower in Baty’s latest page turner novel, Forever We Serve!"
Dr. Ray Bruce
Fulbright Senior Specialist,
Adjunct Professor
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the
Universiy of Electrical Science and Techonogy China, Chengdu, China

Forever We Serve is one of those tales you hate to see end. But perhaps it doesn't, as Sam Baty has brought people out of his earlier Footsteps to Forever World War II thriller to weave their lives into the Korean War and all the intrigue associated with it with a promise of more to come. Baty's books show a very human side to military conflicts, to include Presidents, Prime Ministers, generals, and a beloved Army nurse. An enjoyable and informative read.”
Allen Dale Olson, Editor, the QUARTERLY of the American Overseas Schools Historical Archives

 

The following listings are reviews for "Legends Live On." The novel is available from the publisher (iUniverse), Amazon (hardback, paperback, and Kindle), and other outlets.

  • From the Military Writers Society of America MilitaryWriters.com
  • From readers at Amazon Amazon.com
  • Others
  • Praise by notable people in the front of "Legends Live On"

“If you fell in love with Army nurse Jennifer Haraldsson in Footsteps to Forever, you will love her still more as a retired Major General turned Senator and proud grandmother in Sam Baty’s newest, fourth, and final thriller about her life through WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, the Middle East, and two political campaigns. Happily married after losing two fiancés to combat, Legends Live On takes you into the inner sanctums of the Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Ford-Carter-Reagan-and Bush White Houses and to the intrigues behind the reunification of Germany. I shall miss Jennifer.”

Allen Dale Olson

Museum of the American Military Family

Legends Live On, the fourth and final installment of R. S. Baty’s acclaimed series of historical novels, continues the series’ ambitious epochal sweep across three decades of war. The year is 1962. Jennifer Haraldsson Sherman, now happily married, is head nurse at Walter Reed Hospital. The wrenching personal ordeals she suffered in the European and Korean conflicts are years behind her. Still, Vietnam looms ominously on the horizon, portending more tumult in the life of this dedicated army nurse and officer. As in his earlier novels, R. S. Baty skillfully integrates his characters into the era’s background of war and political brinkmanship. He grants us intimate witness to the pivotal events that defined the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Reagan presidencies – events that inexorably shape the lives of the novel’s characters. It’s pleasurable to be reintroduced to these engaging characters in whom we have invested so much emotionally over the course of the novels. As usual, Baty’s knack for the unpredictable takes Jennifer, her old flame Ottto Bruner and others down unexpected paths to outcomes that are surprising, satisfying and, even, triumphant!”

Marty Fleck

Playwright

“The latest and last novel in R. S. Baty's series, Legends Live On, begins with Jennifer facing a decision to once again employ her nursing skills in the service of her country in Vietnam, or to remain home with family and her minor children. She chooses to serve. This time the road doesn't end with Vietnam and the White House Administrations of JFK, LBJ and Richard Nixon, but includes a run for the Senate and another return to active duty. Throughout all of this, and beyond, family and friends are ever present as the drama ebbs and flows. Once again Mr. Baty has skillfully combined historical and fictional characters to entertain us and keep us turning pages into the night.”

Sam Smith

Retired AT&T Engineer and U.S. Navy Veteran

“The adventure continues! Baty not only educates, but invites readers to become a part of history, reuniting them with old friends and introducing them to new ones. By interweaving realistic, likable characters into actual events, to include inter sanctum conversations from Kennedy to Bush and the intrigues associated with the reunification of Germany, readers follow Nurse Jennifer into her life as a senator, a grandmother and retired major general. A satisfying summer read. “

Circe Olson Woessner

Editor, American Overseas Schools Historical Society Quarterly

"In Legends Live On, the final volume of R.S. Baty’s sweeping series about nurse Jennifer Haraldsson, he gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the country’s leaders as they try to guide the U.S. through a series of crises and war. Set against this backdrop is Jennifer’s evolving life as she faces her own personal conflicts with her family and her career, with her past loves and her husband. It is a story of America in its greatest and worst moments and of an American woman who loves deeply, sometimes wins, and often loses. But it is also the story of resilience and how a nation and a woman must find their way in the midst of turmoil. A fascinating read.”

Paula Paul

author of Sins Of The Empress

"'Legends live on’ is the fourth and final sequel to Mr. R. S. Baty’s exciting novel series. Once again Mr. Baty has magically combined the flow of main historic events and the skillfully chosen fictional characters that we have learned to love in the previous sequels. Characters like Otto Bruner truly become legends within their own and very interesting lives proving that it is courageous people that make a difference in this world.

The novel continues with extraordinary friendships and lets the reader be part of the deeply emotional lives, events and thoughts of the characters. It is filled with suspense and a thrilling flow of events.

It is this fascinating and extremely interesting group of characters with their extraordinary friendships and the historical connection that makes this novel and the characters in it so much more realistic.

I thank Mr. R. S. Baty for sharing this wonderfully written novel series with us.”

Dirk Janssen

Aviation Consultant & Major (ret.), Luftwaffe

“We have followed Jennifer on her journey from a novice nurse to a seasoned expert with Senatorial aspirations.  Jennifer’s personal life and aspirations are played out within a complex and well-developed historical backdrop encompassing major world wars, the conflict in Viet Nam and the fall of the Berlin wall.  True to her innovative nature and pioneer spirit, Jennifer takes on advanced practice nursing by completing a nurse practitioner program and becoming a strong nursing leader.”

Nancy Ridenour, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN

“In his latest novel, Legends Live On, Sam Baty strategically interweaves the drama of historical fact with the continuum of everyday family life in this remarkable social history. Baty’s talented writing carries the reader through contemporary periods of war and patriotism, the personal sacrifices exacted and accepted by his courageous characters, the meaningful relationships they build and the rewarding lives they ultimately create following their harrowing escapades. Whether you lived through this particular era of the Vietnam war or Desert Storm, or are reading it as a student of history, Legends Live On offers an insightful and appreciable walk-through of contemporary U.S. and world history that provides a pertinent reminder of past atrocities as well as a realistic back seat view of the Washington political scene in action. With a bird’s eye view of life’s demands and opportunities that arise in these characters’ lives, this novel inspires what individuals can accomplish through pure honor and integrity, coupled with the love and support of family and friends.”

Diane I. Bessette-Shore,

Editor, Lobo Nurse News at the Univ. of NM/College of Nursing

 

Subnitted by Jim Greenwald of the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) on 11/25/2013

A fascinating look at the challenges of war, duty and parental responsibilities through the eyes of a nurse who lived it and the gut wrenching decisions that must be made by the countries leadership.

 

MWSA Review

LEGENDS LIVE ON is the fourth and final novel in the R. Samuel Baty series tracing the fifty year period from World War II through the Korean and Vietnam Wars to the reunification of Germany.Our tour guide for this historical trek is Jennifer Haraldsson, a nurse who provides the reader a realistic walk down memory lane for those who have lived through this turbulent period and an important tutorial for those who haven't.

In LEGENDS LIVE ON, the year is now 1962 and we pick up the life of Haraldsson who has moved on from her earlier assignment in field units in WWII and Korea and is now the chief nurse at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  A down to earth, real life character, Haraldsson has many of the problems we all do. She is a wife, mother of two, as well as working full time as a nurse with all of the frustrations that brings.

Over the course of this book, Haraldsson is promoted to general officer and even is encouraged to make a run for the United States Senate.

Baty touches on all the important events of this time period: the Kennedy assassination, the challenges the war in Vietnam posed to President Johnson, the traumas of the Iranian Hostage situation for President Carter, and the attempted assassination of President Reagan.  He successfully threads his characters into the events of the time period in a way I found believable and interesting.

Through this entire trauma, Haraldsson keeps her calm and helps the reader view these events through her own eyes.

I suggest you join Jennifer Haraldsson as she provides the eyes and ears for us in a way that is not to be missed.

 

Reviewed by: Don Helin (2014)