Authors Showcase: A Drumbeat Too Near by Bill Flynn
May 13, 2015
The Book: A Drumbeat Too Near
The Author: Bill Flynn
The Story: Junie, Iggy and Allie are teenagers in East Bay, on Cape Cod during WW ll in 1942. The atmosphere of war hangs over that seaside town like a winter fog.
Its men go off to join the fight and the women left behind wait for their return while trying to stay faithful. The three boys do their part by patroling the beach as volunteers. German U-boats are manacing American ships very near to Cape Cod.
One is captained by Karl Heineke who is not enthraled by the Nazi regime and is in love with a French woman … When Heineke’s U-boat launches two spies one of the boys on beach patrol is there to confront them.
About Bill Flynn:
Bill V Flynn is a retired Aerospace Engineer. Author of four books; A Deadly Class Reunion,The Feathery, A Drumbeat Too Near and The Beddington Incident.
Bill lives in New Hampshire with wife Barbara. When not writing he travels the country sharing Barbara’s passion for hiking and bird watching while she tolerates his imperfect golf play on the perfect golf courses of this planet.
Review by Michael Phelps:
A Drumbeat Too Near is one of the best Historical Fiction books I have ever read.
Mr. Flynn has created characters who spring to life in this novel based on facts that many Americans missed during World War II. He begins with his description of a German U-Boat Sub #432; Captained by Karl Heineke, an Oberleutnant in the German Navy, with Hans Topp as his First Officer as they are in waters near Halifax, Nova Scotia seeking to torpedo cargo ships headed for England and Russia.
The United States had entered the War just 13 days before. Mr. Flynn switches gears and takes his readers to East Bay; a small town on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Three young boys are in the local movie theater on a Saturday afternoon. Here Mr. Flynn begins his vivid developing of the characters of the boys. Two are 14 and one 13 who will turn 14 in April, who are “best friends.”
Allie Sheffield is the son of the town Doctor. His older brother Danny is a newly-minted Navy Fighter Pilot. His older sister Jane is a student at Boston Colege. His mother Barbara is a housewife. She had completed one year of nursing school when she became pregnant with Danny and was forced to drop out of school and marry his father. She is a mom and housewife. Iggy’s father is a commercial fisherman with his own trawler, the “Elizabeth Ann”, named after his wife, Iggy’s mother.
Iggy’s 17 years old brother Larry is in Marine Corps Boot Camp. Junie’s father is serving in the U. S. Army and has been sent to fight the Japanses on the Pacific Island of Corregidor. His mother, Lois Cohen is Dr. Sheffield’s Nurse/Office Administrator. The boys all have intentions of joining the military just as soon as age allows.
The United States, while aiding England and Russia with military equipment and supplies was ill prepared for an active role in the war – that is until Japan forced the issue with its sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Enter Commander Bill Childs of the United States Coast Guard. Childs is assigned to head up a unit to protect the coast around Massachusetts. He is a temporary house guest of the Sheffield’s until the Coast Guard could build housing for the new unit. A Drumbeat Too Near takes the reader from 1941 through to Germany’s surrender in May and VJ Day of 1945. Allie, Iggy and Junie are 17 -18 years old and their interest in joining the military has ended with the Allied victory.
I was born in September of 1943, so I have no memory of WWII. My eldest brothers were 11 and 9 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and have good memories of what it was like, being boys in a city with rationing of foods, gasoline, etc. I have memories of stories told me by my mother of what it was like during the war years. I have visited the U-505, a captured U-Boat housed at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. It is a fascinating exhibit, with a film of the actual capture by the U. S. Navy.
BILL FLYNN has written a novel, which brings so much reality to each character he has so expertly molded into a life you can visualize so clearly, you feel you know each of them personally. His depiction of the German U-Boat Commander, Karl Heineke, First Officer Hans Topp, Admiral Karl Donitz and an American born German Saboteur, Werner Haupt shows them to be human beings, not heartless Nazis. His attention to detail in describing the scenery of the town, the mood of the civilians during the war, the U-Boat itself is extraordinary.
Mr. Flynn has woven a story so real that I could not put it down. The only thing I can cook is coffee; BUT, I am going to try my hand at making Wiener Schnitzel from Barbara Sheffield’s recipe found in Appendix B of the book.
A Drumbeat Too Near should be on THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER LIST (I cannot understand why it isn’t – yet?) and is definitely Movie material.
Review by Amazon Customer:
A Drumbeat Too Near is both enjoyable and enlightening. I know little about WWII and am definitely not a history buff, yet Bill Flynn’s interesting wartime tale entertained me and gave me a bit of an education.
Learning about the war as seen through the eyes of three curious young American boys depicts the difficult times with a sense of innocence and adventure.
Then, seeing it from the perspective of a U-Boat captain who quickly rises through the ranks of the German military as his submarine sinks American ships gives a very different feeling.
This character portrays a compassionate officer who vehemently disagrees with the lack of humanitarianism of those in high command of the German military.
Flynn plays with the reader’s heartstrings as he shows families dealing with worry and loss of loved ones, describes families torn by wartime romantic infidelities, and writes about the reuniting of lovers in Paris.
Flynn’s descriptions of various foods and his unique addition of recipes help to lighten the mood in this descriptive tale of the horrific times of war. You’ll enjoy A Drumbeat Too Near whether you’re an avid WWII aficionado or like me, one who just enjoys a good story.