Acclaimed author Anne Blankman returns to the shadowy and dangerous world of 1930s Germany in this thrilling sequel to Prisoner of Night and Fog, perfect for fans of Code Name Verity. The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler's inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives in England, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content. But then Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen's world turns upside down. When she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she'd escaped—and return to her homeland. Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel's name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time—or will Hitler discover them first?
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2)Featured
Historical Fiction involving the late 1930s to World War II (Europe) rarely disappoint me, and CONSPIRACY OF BLOOD AND SMOKE proves to be no exception to that rule. CONSPIRACY OF BLOOD AND SMOKE would be for those who love a fictional account of what happened in Germany before World War II. My favorite part of this book would most definitely be when fiction and fact begins blending together to make up the background of this story.
The narrator, Gretchen Whitestone finds herself easily settled in England as a German immigrant. But when Daniel travels back to Germany and finds himself in some nasty troubles, Gretchen is quick to follow him. But she finds a Germany that is moving closer and closer into the grips of one Adolf Hitler. What started out as a search for her lost boyfriend (did they use the labels of boyfriend and girlfriend back then?) is now becoming a race to stop Hitler from gaining more power and becoming one of the most frightening and sociopathic dictators of all time.
Of course, we all know how this ends. And that brings us to the historical facts, the world building, and historical notes in this book. I don't know how much is accurate, because I haven't studied Germany and its pre-World War II years in depth, but the book definitely has some basis in truth while taking a huge swan dive into fictional aspects.
The plot starts off on a normal day. Everything is happy, and everyone is pretty much ignoring the rise of Adolf Hitler on the other side of the English Channel. (Wait, I think that's wrong. More like the other side of Europe...?) But as soon as Gretchen goes back to Germany, everything starts burning. For all the wrong reasons. Germany is not what it used to be, Jews are being persecuted and hunted down like dogs, and [one group of people] has irrational fear of [insert other group of people]. And dang, it is a really killing introduction to the horrible nightmare that Gretchen is living in.
The ending is right on the edge of the start of Hitler's push for more power. I mean, power outside of Germany. International power (meaning he is eyeing another nation), and I can't wait to see what Anne Blankman brings next. Another adventure of Gretchen, please!
Overall, CONSPIRACY OF BLOOD AND SMOKE is a very entertaining sequel. I most definitely can't wait for more, assuming if there will be any sequels. The journey of Gretchen and Daniel are captivating to read. This is definitely for fans who enjoy World War II historical fiction.
Rating: Four out of Five
Fans of historical fiction won’t be able to stop reading Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. Like Prisoner of Night and Fog, it continues to explore one of the darkest times in Germany’s history. The story begins a little while after the ending of Prisoner. Gretchen and her Uncle Dolf are not enemies and Daniel is wanted for a murder he did not commit.
What I liked best is Blankman’s masterful character development. Both Gretchen and Daniel are relatable and intriguing. So much so, that as a reader I forget that they are fictional characters. They leave such a lasting impression that you never want to let them go. Gretchen’s voice in the story has matured since Prisoner of Night and Fog. She is more aware and more vulnerable at the same time. She has abandoned Hitler’s rhetoric and is no longer a puppet of his words. She now sees people for they are inside, not the stereotypes or propaganda. Although historically speaking the fate of Hitler in his rise to power is well known, I found myself hoping the characters would change the course of history. I found myself putting down the book so that I could stay in the characters lives just a little bit longer.
The world building is well crafted. Some of the descriptions are beautifully poetic and wonderful to read. Ultimately it’s the mystery surrounding the historic fire and murder that creates a great tension in the book that makes it impossible to put down.
Important note: The author’s notes are a must read. It helps tie together the fiction and the nonfiction elements of the book.
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke weaves together real historical events with an intriguing mystery creating a hauntingly beautiful, romantic thrill ride. Fans of Prisoner of Night and Fog will not be disappointed. Put it on your to read list!
I loved Prisoner of Night and Fog and I wasn’t sure if a sequel could top it, but Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke managed to do just that. It was action-packed, fast-paced and the tension was high through the whole book. There were some really great new characters introduced and the re-appearance of ones from the previous book.
Gretchen grew a lot in the first book. It was her journey about seeing the Jews as people instead of what Hitler wanted her to see them as: lesser, unpure. It was her breaking free of him and his beliefs. The second book had her continuing that growth arc but in a more subtle manner. It was her seeing the way the Nazis were treating people and her horror at how she used to think. It was her remembering interactions with her father and Hitler and seeing them in a new light.
The romance was heavier in the second book and Gretchen and Daniel had to deal with what being in love meant for them. It was obvious they did care for each other but they also had their own dreams for their lives and maybe being together would mean one of them sacrificing that dream. I liked the push and pull between them in this book. They were drawn to each other, they loved each other, but maybe that wasn’t enough. We also got to learn a lot more about Daniel in this book and it was great. He was a great character in the first book but getting more of his story just made him that much better.
Again, there were so many historical facts woven into the plot. Yes, the characters are mostly fictional and some of the events were also fictionalized or tweaked to fit the plot, but there was still a lot of facts. The author’s notes had a lot of information as well and I found it really interesting. It made me wish they’d gone more in depth during school when they taught us history(instead of just learning our country’s role).
The writing in the first book was wonderful and it continued into the second. It made for a really great read that I didn’t want to put down.