The Promise

They say you never truly know someone until it’s too late. Rebecca, a new wife and mother, is reported to authorities by her abusive husband, Philippe Darnand, a Frenchman and member of the French Milice—a native paramilitary group created during World War II that tortured and terrorized France’s Jews and resisters—after having discovered that her grandfather was a Jew. Rebecca and her infant daughter try to flee but are caught by the Milice and presumably taken to Drancy internment camp. Jean, Rebecca’s brother, vows to stop at nothing until Philippe is dead and Rebecca is safely back with him, but time is of the essence and nobody survives long behind the razor wire of Drancy.

“Do I look like I work for the SD? Do you think I would be here cleaning if I did? You’re stupid. Let me go. I won’t tell anyone.”

As the sixth book in the World War II Adventure Series, The Promise focuses on France’s lesser-known dirty history during World War II. Having never read any of the prior books in this series, it’s clearly a book that stands firmly on its own requiring nothing more from readers than a cozy spot and a few hours to allow The Promise to consume you. Unlike the discursive nature often found in historical fiction or World War II novels that can lead many readers to sheer boredom, author Fredrik Nath utilizes the characters through dialogue and interactions, instead of historical details, to fluidly control the pacing of the story. The Promise delivers succinct action, raw emotion, and an intriguing meander into French history.

A hidden gem for sure, Nath is a rarity of sorts, a writer that can genre hop with the greatest of ease. Nath never fails to deliver nefariously flawed yet ardently virtuous do-or-die characters set within storylines that guarantee to appeal to even the most finicky reader, demonstrating his savviness as a must-read fiction writer.