J. M. Taylor's third novel Snow Sticks reunites the characters from his earlier exciting novels (Missing Sticks and One Stick and a Waco). Interwoven with the fabric of the Battle of the Bulge, the lovable and interesting characters once again face long odds in various combat situations climaxing in a battle that brings them all together (or nearly so) once more. But will they survive?
I specifically enjoyed how well the author highlights the camaraderie that transcends rank within the story. Bonded together by their combat experience, the characters interact as only combat veterans can, with a dry sense of humor and an ultimate selflessness necessary to survive the horrors to which they all are subject. Also interesting is the non-speaking but very important character Max the German shepherd, who occasionally lends his thoughts to the general chaos around him, and serves to emphasize that not all combatants are people.
Fans of historical fiction, those interested in the Battle of the Bulge, or those who enjoy WWII combat fiction will find this an enjoyable and memorable read!
Review by Rob Ballister, MWSA Awards Director
The men of the 101st Airborne Division fought their way across France and assaulted the Germans in Holland, securing the highway all the way up to "The Island." Finally, the Screaming Eagles are given a break - R&R in France, a time to slip off to see loved ones or simply get drunk and have a good time, as airborne troopers are wont to do.
Slowly, the wounded from Normandy and Holland trickle back to duty at Mourmelon, the rest center in France.
Meanwhile, Alex Pfister continues his operations behind the German lines as a member of the OSS, grief stricken when he thinks he has lost his love to a V-2 in London.
Dawson and his war dog, Max, return from an unauthorized visit to his pregnant war-bride across the Channel. Even Staff Sergeant Harry Rule, the ex-smoke jumper from Montana, slips away from the hospital in England and returns to the Screaming Eagles.
Since SNOW STICKS is a novel based on facts, both in time, place and military organization, we all know what happens next. The Germans attack, the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. Among others, soldiers of the 110th Regimental Combat Team, 28th Division, scattered Engineer units, men who think they are on R&R for the weekend, all find themselves in the midst of battle as the Germans surge into Belgium in their thrust toward Antwerp. The Nazi's have at least two goals: stop the Allied flow of supplies and capturing what they could to restock their depleted logistics, and delay the Allied advance long enough to bring the Nazi Vengeance Weapons, the rockets, the jet and rocket planes, all the super weapons envisioned by Hitler, to bear.
The Screaming Eagles and their fellow soldiers have two objectives: stop the German advance...and survive.
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 271