Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shadow on the Mountain

As I began Margi Preus' newest novel, Shadow of the Mountain, I was once again transported back to the 1940s and World War II in Europe. Over time this event has become more fascinating to me as I see the various cultures affected by the war.
Preus has set her novel in Norway and based it on the life of a Norwegian spy, Erling Storrusten. Espen, just fourteen in 1940 is part of the Norwegian Resistance, opposing the Nazis.  He begins by delivering illegal newspapers, but as time passes and he gets older his involvement and knowledge of the Resistance grows. 
Despite the war going on in their country and the Nazi presence, Espen still has the normal coming-of-age things to deal with. He is interested in a girl, and makes and loses friends as he matures.  Although his teen years were not the carefree ones he dreams of, Espen is still able to find some small happiness in his world.
The Norwegian setting provides a different perspective during World War II, and Preus interviewed Erling Storrusten in order to better re-create the story of a teen-age Norwegian spy.  I was absolutely fascinated by the various ways Espen was able to outwit the Nazis and the great risk he placed himself in over and over again.
Heart of a Samurai, Preus' first novel is not one I was eager to pick up simply because the time period she covers in it is not one I love reading about. Yet, Shadow on the Mountain was so well written that I may have to rethink my earlier position on the novel.  I'll be looking forward to future work by this author.

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