Wolf by Wolf

Ryan Graudin
  • Review
By – March 24, 2017

What if Hitler had not died and the Nazis had con­tin­ued to expand? Such is the premise of this alter­na­tive history/​spy nov­el. Due to the exper­i­men­ta­tions done on her dur­ing deten­tion as a young child in a con­cen­tra­tion camp, Yael is able to skin-shift. She can con­tort her whole body to look like any­one else. Through flash­backs we are shown that the orig­i­nal exper­i­ments were tor­tur­ous and meant to enable peo­ple to become Aryan look­ing. As Yael was the beta exper­i­ment, nobody real­ly knew that the full out­come would be.

Graudin presents Yael’s new life after hav­ing escaped her con­cen­tra­tion camp. She is liv­ing with some rebels and being trained for a mis­sion. The per­fect mis­sion presents itself in the form of a motor­cy­cle race across Europe and Asia end­ing in the Axis coun­ty of Japan. The prize is a meet­ing with Hitler who has oth­er­wise become a recluse. The mis­sion: to win the race and kill Hitler. This is an intense race, only this year ful­ly opened to females. Yael skin shifts to become Adele who had won the race the year before, in 1955, by enter­ing the race as her twin broth­er. The sto­ry then becomes one of Yael try­ing to main­tain her cov­er as Adele while par­tic­i­pat­ing in a race she must win against sea­soned teen motor­cy­cle racers.

The char­ac­ters are well devel­oped incor­po­rat­ing many his­tor­i­cal­ly accu­rate details for the time peri­od, tech­ni­cal motor­cy­cle specs and cul­tur­al ref­er­ences. There is an unex­pect­ed twist at the end that only adds to all the twists and turns through­out the sto­ry. It may be a dif­fi­cult read for some sen­si­tive to the Holo­caust and the sur­vivors as it brings up many unwant­ed and fright­en­ing possibilities.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 14 – 19.

Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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