Today I’m joined by Anne Barwell who shares her new book with us. There’s also a special offer and a giveaway. 🙂
Pawn Takes Knight
Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Comes a Horseman, the 3rd and final book in my WWII Echoes Rising series from DSP Publications.
I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter. It’s the last day of DSP Publications’ sale for the ebooks for Shadowboxing (book 1), and Winter Duet (book 2) so check it out if you haven’t already.
Holm uses the game of chess as an analogy for his hunt for the Allied team in several scenes in this series. He’s very much a man who considers every move he makes, and strategy as a tool to try and second guess his prey, and as a chess player, that game was the first thing that came to mind. I’ve played against opponents who prefer to methodically wipe other players from the board, but I’ve always preferred a strategic game, and found it a much more satisfactory win.
In Winter Duet, book 2 of Echoes Rising, Holm makes it clear what role he thinks Liang plays in his game, but he doesn’t specify what roles of the other players are, and who he considers his opponent.
Holm chuckled. “Do you play chess?” His expression hardened when Liang nodded. “Please keep in mind that you are not the king on this board, or even a knight. You are merely a pawn, and those are easily sacrificed.”
And later on, he elaborates further on his own strategy:
“Well,” Holm said thoughtfully, “there is only one response to such a move.” He had always enjoyed a decent game of chess, especially against a player who provided rather more of a challenge. “If they have changed their strategy, so should we.” He steepled his fingers, glanced at the report on his desk, and smiled.
Up to this point all we’ve had of the game is one player’s point of view, but as their game continues, it becomes clearer who Holm considers his opponent to be. Kristopher—Kit—might seem at first to be the pawn in this game, as he carries the information both sides want in order to win the war, or is he the king who both players need to protect at all cost, or they will forfeit the game?
Kristopher is out of the depth for most of the first book, Shadowboxing, doing what he needs to stay alive. In Winter Duet, there are more glimpses of why he was chosen as part of the German atomic bomb project. As he grows as a character, he begins to finally fight back, coming up with strategies to leave information for his allies, while staying one step ahead of his enemies.
Sounds a bit like playing a game of chess, doesn’t it?
And then in Comes a Horseman, after Holm makes a move, the chess analogy switches sides, and we get another glimpse of the board, and a clue to the identity of the other player.
“It’s simple strategy, and one he often used when he played chess,” Kristopher explained. “He’s a keen chess player and often uses the game to size up potential… allies. Or opponents. We’ve… umm….” He glanced at Michel as though unsure whether to continue. Michel shook his head, but Matt guessed what Kristopher had been about to say.
Kristopher and Holm had played chess together. Probably more than once. It made sense. Holm had been in charge of the institute where Kristopher worked.
“What do you suggest we do?” Matt asked before Arlette could interrupt again.
“Chess is not just about wiping your opponent off the board. There’s more finesse to the game than that.”
So…. has he been Holm’s opponent all this time? Or only now grown into the role? And if so, what roles do the other characters play on their board?
Holm is more than ready to sacrifice his pawns, but what happens when Death enters the game with a vengeance? Often when victory seems at hand, a game can suddenly change direction, and players are forced to make moves they wouldn’t usually in order to win the game. Check doesn’t always lead to checkmate, and sometimes when there is no way out, the only option is surrender….
Echoes Rising Book 3, sequel to Winter Duet
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.
“He’s late.” Matt glanced toward the door again. Although he was trying to appear nonchalant, hiding his nervousness was growing more difficult.
Their journey to Gernsbach had gone too smoothly, and that made him edgy as hell. After one night there, he’d suggested they keep moving for a couple more hours until they reached Bischweier. He’d been to Bischweier years ago when he’d lived in Germany before the war. The local priest was an old friend of Father Joseph’s, the man who had run the orphanage where Matt had grown up in Pennsylvania after he’d lost his family in a fire.
“Not that late.” Michel shrugged. “If we’re not back by two, Ken knows not to stay in Bischweier.”
Michel and Matt had gone ahead to Rastatt to meet their contact in the back room of a local Kaffeehaus. The owner—a member of the local Resistance—had been kind enough to leave them some coffee to drink while they waited.
“They should be safe if they stay in the chapel,” Matt said. He hadn’t been surprised to learn that Father Markus was working with the Resistance. He was a good man, and Father Joseph had spoken highly of him.
“You didn’t trust our contact in Gernsbach,” Michel said. “Why?”
“Just a feeling.”
Now they were finally heading toward home, he kept expecting Holm or one of his men to turn up. Standartenführer Holm wouldn’t give up easily, and Matt doubted he would have spent all this time looking in the wrong direction. The last few weeks had gone too smoothly, reminding Matt of the way a cat played with a mouse, waiting until the right time to finally pounce.
“Holm is not going to give up until he’s captured his prey,” Michel said. “It’s better that both Kristopher and Ken stay away until we are sure it is safe here.” He offered Matt a cigarette, but Matt declined.
“Kristopher is the one Holm is after,” he said cautiously.
“Officially, yes.” Michel lit his cigarette and took a long puff of it. He wasn’t usually very forthcoming with information, and this was the first time he’d implied he knew about Ken’s history with Holm.
At least to Matt.
“What has Ken told you?” Matt asked. Until they’d met up again in Freiburg, he’d only met Michel briefly in Berlin. He still knew Kristopher better, as he was not as reticent. Matt had gotten the impression Michel didn’t have much time for social niceties. He was pleasant enough, though, and it was obvious as hell he cared a great deal for Kristopher.
“We spoke briefly in Stuttgart.” Michel shrugged. “Holm is a dangerous man, and once he has made up his mind to achieve something, he doesn’t let anyone or anything get in his way.
Do not be fooled by his manner. He’s the type who would shake your hand while putting a knife in your back.”
“I’m well aware of Holm’s less than charming nature, thanks all the same,” Matt said. His meeting with Holm was not one Matt would forget in a hurry, if ever. Nor would he forgive him for killing Elise. “He’s a cold-blooded murderer.”
“That’s a polite way of putting it.” Michel narrowed his eyes and swore under his breath.
Although Matt’s French wasn’t that good, he knew enough to appreciate the sentiment.
“I believe Ken was foolish enough to promise not to harm him,” Michel continued in German. “I take it you have no problem in doing whatever needs to be done?”
“No problem at all,” Matt said grimly.
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July 25 – MM Good Book Reviews
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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.
Website & Blog: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/
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