Reviews

“In 1938, the Sentinels, a group of six economics doctoral students at the University of California, Berkeley, claim to have discovered a pattern that explains and can even predict repeating cycles of the rise and fall of world powers. In particular, the Sentinels assert that German industrialists are pushing Europe into war. They propose a watchdog organization to eradicate these cancers when lower-level means can still be used effectively. Of course, it's too late for anyone to stop WWII.” ~ Publishers Weekly


“I enjoyed all of the characters and once attached to them I found myself wanting to read on and on... fun with plenty of facts and cool scenes from our World War II History, left me wanting to know what happened to the characters after the war ended.”


“Great story and characters, set back in WWII. Very enjoyable…”


“Gordon develops a character and writes as if talking with him in a conversational style, which is easy to read. There is a San Francisco bias and locals can identify with his descriptions. He paints a good picture with words and it’s easy to imagine the various locations.”


“Gordon brings years of experience and expertise to his subjects and presents them in an extremely original and compelling way.”


“Gordon cleverly uses historical context and characterization to make the once unthinkable and unimaginable come to life as real-world possibilities in the transparent and no holds barred world in which we live today. I was engrossed from start to finish and left wondering ‘What next?’”


“We have lived in the Washington DC area for almost 50 years. As a result, we believe the situations described in the Sentinels activities could certainly exist. America could certainly use a group of people such as the Sentinels in today’s world. The author has brought in some new characters in this book that make the story all the more believable for the time frame of the book. I could not put it down once I started reading it. I think that any adult can relate to the story and will thoroughly enjoy it.”


“Zuckerman authors an exciting narrative that weaves between fiction and truth. A gifted conspiracy theorist.”


Fortunes of War is one of those “what-if” books that will make the reader wish its premise really could happen. What if it were possible to identify a “power cycle” pattern that can accurately predict when a country’s political corruption is close to reaching the point where regional or world war will become inevitable? What if a new watchdog organization could recognize those responsible for this level of corruption soon enough to disrupt it all before another war breaks out?

Fortunately, six Berkley students have done just that. Unfortunately, by the time they announce their findings to the world in June 1938, it is too late to stop the group of greedy German industrialists that is making Adolph Hitler’s aggression possible. The students, however, might still have time to do the next best thing because, now that the war is going poorly for the Germans, these same amoral businessmen want desperately to move their fortunes out of Germany and into Swiss banks. Recognizing their opportunity, the Six Sentinels step in with a plan to make sure that these fortunes will never lead the world to war again.

The Sentinels are a varied group, but they have more in common than just their graduate studies at Berkley. Each of them comes from one of the world’s most powerful and influential families: Mike Stone’s father is head of a huge New York bank; Cecelia Chang is the daughter of one of Hong Kong’s most influential traders; Jacques Roth is heir to the fabulous Roth banking fortune; Claudine Demauraux is the daughter of a powerful Swiss banker; Tony Garibaldi springs from one of Italy’s major wine producing families; and Ian Meyer is the son of the founder of one of London’s major auction houses. A group like this one brings major weapons to any battle, but whether or not the six are a match for the Germans who are so determined to kill them is another question.

Like most thrillers, Fortunes of War requires the reader to cut its author a little slack. There are moments when the close calls and near misses begin to get a little predictable but, if one is willing to suspend disbelief for its duration, Fortunes of War can be great fun. Throw in a little romance (some might say, a lot of romance) along the way, and this one has something for everyone.


The Sentinels: Fortunes of War by Gordon Zuckerman begins with a flashback to a meeting of group of German industrialists who decide to back a new fellow on the scene, Hitler for financial reason. They are concerned about their own pockets, not what is best for the country. Jump forward and it appears that World War II is about to end and these same industrialists want to get their money out of the country safely without Hitler knowing. The want to be able to use their money once the Reich is no more.

Getting in their way are the Sentinels, a group of six very intelligent young people who attended grad school together and were quite a think tank. They have since stayed in touch but each has been involved in their own way changing the world. They realize that if these men get their money out of Germany they will again back someone else and it will only be a matter of time before the cycle begins again. Thus, they develop a plot to stop these men from profiting further. They have financial and business connections and develop a plan to take the industrialists’ money and use it in a more positive manner. They are a likeable group of four young men and two women. As they put their plan into effect it soon becomes clear their lives are in danger. They are hunted down, some kidnapped but they are determined to carry through with their plans despite the danger.

I could not put the book down as there are many plot twists and turns, there is political intrigue, conspiracy, and romance. As I finished reading it I realized I really didn’t want to leave the Sentinels and then I read that more books were forthcoming and I was excited. Gordon Zuckerman is in the same class as other thriller writers including Robert Ludlum and David Baldacci. He has a clear understanding of history, creates an interesting page turner and develops likable characters. I am looking forward to the next one in The Sentinel series.