Wolf by Wolf – Ryan Graudin

wolf by wolfAlternate history!  The year is 1956 and Nazi Germany and Japan rule most of the world.  To celebrate their domination, both countries select their best young men to compete in an arduous cross-country motorcycle race – The Axis Tour.  One year, a teen girl, Adele Wolfe, enters the competition and wins much to the delight of the Adolf Hitler, who has become both reclusive and surrounded by security.  Hitler celebrates the victory by asking the girl to dance.  This is the basis of a plan by the resistance to kill Adolf Hitler and topple the reign of terror.

This is Yael’s story.  She was brought to a Jewish death camp as a young child and selected for medical experiments designed to genetically change her appearance.  After her escape from the camp, she stumbles into the resistance where she is groomed to one day kill Adolf Hitler.  To do this, she must assume the identity of Adele and then win the grueling motorcycle race so she can get close enough to Hitler to kill him.

This is a really good book, really good.  I was rooting for Adele/Yael, her brother, and former victor, Luka, each in turn to win the race.  But of course there is only one winner.  The odds against the plan succeeding are immense but they must try.  Woven into the story is Yael’s past.  Her life in the death camp, the experiments, her dedication to the resistance, the lives lost, her life lost – the nuances in weaving the story from present to past and back again . . . brilliant!  The writing is extremely well crafted and succeeded in holding my attention throughout.  Never a dull moment or a misplaced word.  I want to know more about the real Adele Wolfe – why she entered the race and what really happened during that race, and also Luka’s backstory, plus the ramifications of Yael’s actions.  Wolf by Wolf is the first book of a duology, with the sequel due in Fall 2016.  This book will surely win many accolades.  Highly recommend.

eGalley review                            Publication date 10.20.15

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