Rose Under Fire

Eliz­a­beth Wein
  • Review
February 14, 2014

Rose Under Fire, while not a sequel to last year’s Code Name: Ver­i­ty, is a com­pan­ion book. The sto­ry again starts off in Eng­land dur­ing World War II and has an accom­plished female pilot as its pro­tag­o­nist. This time she’s an Amer­i­can named Rose. The action begins about six months after the end of the first book when, by an unfor­tu­nate turn of events, Rose is cap­tured by the Nazis and sent to the noto­ri­ous all-women’s con­cen­tra­tion camp, Ravens­bruck. Her shel­tered and some­what naïve Amer­i­can out­look quick­ly changes as she comes to rely on the incred­i­ble resource­fulness, brav­ery, and loy­al­ty of her fel­low pris­on­ers. Will that be enough to help them all sur­vive? The final part of the book takes the read­er through the post-war tri­als and the sur­vivors’ attempts to rebuild their shat­tered lives. As with the first book, the Jew­ish con­tent is not explic­it (Rose and her com­pan­ions are polit­i­cal inmates rather than Jews) although the top­ic itself is of obvi­ous inter­est to Jew­ish read­ers. Wein’s descrip­tion of this hor­rif­ic camp is pow­er­ful and emo­tion­al­ly charged, and her char­ac­ters are rich­ly drawn, particu­larly the Rab­bits” — the young women who have been used for med­ical exper­i­ments. How­ev­er, because it was pre­ced­ed by the con­stant­ly vivid, sur­pris­ing, and whol­ly orig­i­nal Code Name: Ver­i­ty, this book seems far more con­ven­tion­al in sto­ry and con­struc­tion. Still, though you might not be quite as swept away, you won’t be dis­ap­point­ed either.

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