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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.