Voyage of Atonement

The Tainted Treasure

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
403 Pages
Reviewed on 04/08/2016
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Author Biography

Brian D. Ratty is a retired media executive and graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography. He and his wife, Tess, live on the north Oregon Coast, where he writes and photographs that rugged and majestic region. Over the past thirty years, he has traveled the vast wilderness of the Pacific Coast in search of images and stories that reflect the spirit and splendor of those spectacular lands. Brian is an award-winning historical fiction author, and has written five novels about the Pacific Northwest.
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Brian D. Ratty’s Voyage of Atonement answers the age-old question, “Why did I live, while others died?” Three distinct men, all soldiers of World War II, take separate paths to achieve their atonement. At the close of 1944, a secret brotherhood known as Odessa is being formed. The Third Reich is faltering; the war is all but lost. This unique remnant of SS soldiers is the hope and the future of the Fatherland. Colonel Rolf Kobl becomes the leader of the Argentine Odessa. In the spring of 1945, Captain Hans Miller is ordered to take his battle weary U-boat to Germany for repairs. Upon arrival, he becomes the captain of Germany’s newest submarine, a “wonder weapon,” the U3521. The top secret maiden voyage of the U3521 is to transport a group of special guests to Japan and deliver twelve tons of gold bullion to Argentina. As a veteran and POW of WWII, Dutch Clarke escaped death many times. In 1962, Dutch has lost everything; his wife, his business, his will to live. He is left personally bankrupt in more ways than one. These three men are on an inevitable collision course with one another. “All three would have to atone for their decisions in ways that might change the course of history.”

Brian D. Ratty takes you on an unforgettable voyage of reconciliation in Voyage of Atonement. Full of nautical terms and notable seafaring descriptions, you feel the salty breeze and the power of the Pacific as the narrative plunges deep into the action of the plot. The story contains a treasure chest of beautiful descriptive lines; Ratty portrays the danger and beauty of sailing the open sea. Mastering flashback writing technique, the narrative tracks back and forth in time, maintaining a steady rhythm. Pulling the reader to and fro, the action rises and then falls with each change of location and time. Moreover, the narrative depicts a variety of cultures, from the folklore of Alaska, the arrogance of the Nazis, the liberation of the 1960s American youth, and the carefree lifestyle of the Pacific islands, while simultaneously revealing the diverse personalities and evolving nature of the three main characters. A lot transpires within the pages of this gripping tale; it is as expansive in detail as it is in the passage of time. The theme of making amends or atoning for your past is the undercurrent of the action. The pivotal climatic scene of Dutch facing the place of his imprisonment was brilliantly written. Ratty takes his hero on the voyage of his life and brings him full circle in a monumental ending. Voyage of Atonement is truly a captivating piece of historical fiction.

Gisela Dixon

Voyage of Atonement starts off during the era of World War II and continues in a more or less chronological order through that turbulent time in history. This book is essentially the life and story of Dutch Clarke who has survived and experienced the horrors of World War II: the Nazis and militant SS, brutal prison camps, and mass killings. The story also involves the people Dick knew and his friends who went through the war with him. The adventure really begins when Dick and his friend start on a sailboat on the Pacific to explore and make peace with the past. As they encounter thrilling adventures along the way, that include finding gold hidden by the Nazis on the Pacific islands, their quest takes a turn as they realize that their find has political and social ramifications and there are still groups of people out there wanting to claim the gold. This quickly escalates into an international situation and forms the plot of the novel as they navigate through plenty of action and adventure to a thrilling ending.

Voyage of Atonement: The Tainted Treasure by Brian D. Ratty is a seafaring adventure story with plenty of twists and turns, surprises, drama, intrigue, and even romance. Voyage of Atonement is a great book for sea lovers and adventure readers alike. The book contains plenty of naval lingo and sailor terms and is an exciting read, especially for people who enjoy that genre. I thought the writing style was engaging and the author obviously knows a lot about the world and the era in which the story is primarily set. The tensions between countries and nationalities is well drawn and believable. All in all, an enjoyable read.

Ica Iova

Voyage of Atonement by Brian D. Ratty is a historical novel. The 1960s was a time when the world was still struggling to heal some wounds or cover up different scars from the Second World War. Among the people laboring through life is forty-two-year-old POW, Dutch Clarke. Heartbroken over losing his uncle, his wife, and his family business, he attempts suicide. When that fails, he decides to sail solo to the South Pacific on a sailboat that his father-in-law bought for him. While preparing for his trip, he meets Doug Asbow, also a survivor of the Japanese prison camps. Both had suffered greatly, and both still had problems with lingering malaria and recurring nightmares of the war. But they also have pride and refuse to portray themselves as victims.

While sharing stories of the POW camps, they decide to start an assignment of photographing war relics for a documentary. But they get more than they’d bargained for when they come across a mysterious entombed U-boat with a cargo of Nazi gold in the remote islands of Tahiti. As the treasure is exposed, so are they, to two clashing interests — a secret group of former Nazi SS members (ODESSA) and the country of Israel — that turns Dutch and Doug’s discovery into an international tug-of-war with deadly consequences.

Navigating back and forth between the '40s and the '60s, Brian D. Ratty made Voyage of Atonement a fascinating book. Through powerful writing, a captivating plot, and vibrant characters set against a two-decades background, Ratty has delivered a great blend of love, adventure, and history. The recounting of some historical events in this book will scrape your emotions raw. I cried when Dutch arrived at Camp Ireland (or what was left of it) to pay his respects to his friend, Jack, who was beheaded by the Japanese during the war.