Comes a Horseman

Echoes Rising - Book 3

by Anne Barwell

Comes a Horseman - Anne Barwell
Part of the Echoes Rising series:
Editions:Paperback - First Edition: $ 14.99
ISBN: 978-1-63533-665-8
Pages: 230
ePub - First Edition: $ 6.99
ISBN: 978-1-63533-666-5
Pages: 230

France, 1944

Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history. 

Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies—Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang—as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.  

When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options as they fight to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.

 

Excerpt:

Matt nodded, his lips moving although he did not speak. He was counting, Michel realized, as they pulled away from shore, and using the rhythm of his movement to distract himself from the darkness.

The moon’s light highlighted the waves lapping around the boat—the water seemed to reach toward them before diving back again. Ken and Matt quickly settled into a unified motion, both focused on what they were doing, although Ken glanced at Matt a couple of times.

Frej signaled for Matt and Ken to change direction slightly and rest the oars. They did that for a few moments, letting the boat drift with the current. If Michel squinted, he could see the outline of the bridge in the distance and several shapes moving at either end of it. The guards on duty would hopefully stay focused on the bridge itself and not notice a small rowboat sneaking over the border. The area was well guarded, but as it had been secured for quite some time, they would not be expecting trouble.

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On the other side of the boat, Liang quickly turned and leaned over the side. As soon as he started to make a gagging noise he shoved his hand over his mouth to silence it. If his seasickness got any worse, it would be difficult to mask the noise of him vomiting over the side of the boat. He was doing his best to silence his dry heaving, but his hunched posture suggested he felt miserable and unwell.

Frej leaned toward Ken and gestured. Ken nodded, rested the oars again, and then he and Matt changed direction. Matt was still counting under his breath, and he gripped the oar tightly.

“Who’s there?” The shouted question shattered the silence.

Kristopher glanced around, an expression of panic on his face.

Michel put a hand on his arm to calm him but didn’t dare whisper the reassurance he wanted to. He turned around and strained his eyes, trying to find the source of the disruption. Matt and Ken stopped rowing, the boat drifting back the way they’d come, caught by the current.

He heard boots against wood in the distance—the unmistakable sound of men running, probably over the bridge crossing the Rhine south of their position. “No farther or I’ll shoot,” one of them yelled.

Frej got down on the floor of the boat. Michel and Kristopher followed, then Liang. Matt kept hold of his oar, trying to keep it as still as he could. He leaned down into a crouch, as did Ken.

Gunfire sounded from the bridge. A couple of shots in succession before stopping. Michel heard an engine, a vehicle approaching. A door slammed, and then everything went quiet again. Logically he knew the bridge was a good few kilometers away, but Frej was right about noise carrying on the water. If felt too close for comfort.

Frej waited a few minutes. “Row,” he whispered urgently. “While they are distracted.”

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Fiona on OptimuMM wrote:

So, when I first saw this book and read the blurb I was either not paying proper attention, or perhaps I had gone temporarily blind. For some unknown reason, at no point did I notice that this book was the third and final book of a series (yeah, quite an important part of the details to overlook hehehe). As you can imagine, when I opened the book and saw that it was a sequel I had a little bit of a panic moment. When I started reading, the panic turned to slight terror because I was completely lost and had absolutely no idea what was going on in the story. Now, I take complete responsibility for my stupidity, and although this review is going to be a somewhat unorthodox, I’m just working with what I’ve got.

At this point, I would normally describe the plot/storyline/characters of the book, but unlike me (facepalm), the chances are that if you’re planning on reading this book, then you’ve probably already read the first two and know about all of this stuff already. I mean what can I really tell you that the blurb hasn’t already? Well, after the meltdown had subsided and my heart rate had reduced to normal levels, I managed to grasp the basics of the story and characters and just went with the flow, and I have to be honest and say that what I read in this book was nothing short of magnificent.

I’m a huge WW2 history fan, and I’ll generally take an interest in any books, movies or documentaries on the subject, whether it be fact or fiction. This book was so well written, that even though I had no idea of the backstory, I was totally and utterly engrossed. After a couple of chapters, I actually forgot that I had gone into this blind. The confusion was just gone. The amount of detail in the story was phenomenal, and I really need to commend the author for that. From the places they were staying/hiding, the ranks of the German soldiers, the use of the French and German languages, and how the characters were treated by the soldiers and other civilians, it all had a real authentic feel to it, and apart from a couple of little scenes, I could easily have been reading a memoir by an actual WW2 survivor. The story was so intriguing that I just couldn’t put it down.
Although the relationships between the male characters are discussed quite a lot, this book doesn’t really go into any intimate details, and by that, I mean there are no sex scenes. This is all about the feelings and emotions that they share, and their plans for when the war ends if they survive. I think that this was absolutely right for the story and the time period. There were a few twists that I didn’t see coming at all, and they just made me enjoy the book even more than I already was.

Now that I’ve read this, I’m going to make a point of going back to read the first two books because I really want to know so much more about these characters. I want to see how the relationships started and how they got to this point. I loved this book without knowing anything that was happening, so if you have followed this series from the start, then I can guarantee you’ll not be disappointed with how it’s all tied up and finalized. It was truly a joy and pleasure to read this book.


About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.