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Book Review

December 9, 2021 December 2021, Regular Features No Comments

V2  Robert Harris

V2 is the latest of Robert Harris’ successful history based novels. The genesis of the novel was Harris’s reading an obituary of Eillen Younghusband which described her work as a WAAF officer tracking V2 s during the WW2. A list of sources at the end of the book illustrates his thorough researching of the subject. In a forward he says ‘ I have tried to make the history of the German rocket programmes and the work of the WAAF as accurate as they reasonably can’.

The framework is factual and the sequence of firing from the woods around Scheveningen on the Dutch coast is as described.  The British counter-operation including at its heart a team of WAAF is also factually correct, as is the work of the WAAFs at RAF Medmenham . Well known historical figures such as rocket designer Wernher von Braun and SS General Hans Kammler’s part in the operation are included in the story  

 Are however, the author reminded that this is a novel.  

Set in the last months of WW2 with Hitler’s last roll of the dice, the V2 rocket, the book tells in alternating chapters two concurrently running stories. One of the German V2 operating unit desperately trying to perfect the far from reliable rockets while also trying to speed up the risky firing procedure. On the alternate chapters the story of the RAF tracking unit equally desperately trying to pin point the launch sites so that they can be bombed. 

The book opens with first of the new rockets hitting London and the huge damage it causes. The story which follows is based on the group of young Air Force ladies secluded in a country manor where they are searching arial photos for clues of the hidden launch pads. Then of a team being established in the newly freedBelgium from where they could visually track the Holland fired rockets.

Robert Harris is an accomplished story weaver and this is right up to his standard with an interesting last page twist. This would be a perfect relaxation holiday read.

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