The Heavy Water War

I love a drama that is set during times and circumstances that were pivotal in history. This past spring, while perusing the suggestions Netflix made for me based on previous programs I’d watched, I stumbled upon The Heavy Water War — a six episode miniseries produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. (It’s title in Norwegian is Kampen om tungtvannet and in the UK it was titled The Saboteurs.)

Directed by Per-Olav Sørensen, the series was filmed in Norway and the Czech Republic. The Heavy Water War tells the story of the German atomic weapons program during the Second World War. At the outset of the series we see the events unfold from two different perspectives.

On the German side we watch Werner Heisenberg struggle with his conscience as he realizes the potential devastation a weapon derived from a tiny amount of radioactive uranium could wreck on the world.

On the Allied side, we see the story focus on Norwegian Intelligence Officer, Lief Tronstad, as he oversees the planning and training for a mission by the British Army and Norwegian resistance fighters to sabotage the facility in Norway that produces heavy water (deuterium oxide – D2O, a necessary component in the production of a nuclear reaction).

The series begins with the invasion of Norway by Germany and Tronstad escaping to Britain to warn the Allies of his suspicions that the Germans are attempting to build an atomic bomb. As the Germans take over the country, production is doubled at the heavy water facility, Rjukan.

When Tronstad establishes contact with the War Ministry, a plan to destroy the Hydro facilities is drawn up. In Rjukan, new managing director Erik Henriksen is tasked with rooting out suspected saboteurs from the heavy water facility, after the first attempt, Operation Grouse, is a disastrous failure.

Even though the production facility is nearly impenetrable to bombs, the American Allies press the British and Norwegians for a bombing raid. Nevertheless,Tronstad persuades the Allies to send in a team of Norwegians instead. In Germany, Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg promises a breakthrough in the development of a Nazi atomic bomb. He is not entirely trusted by the German government and is under constant scrutiny.

Without revealing any spoilers, this story was as exciting and nerve wracking as any spy thriller a fiction writer could invent in the pages of a novel. I highly recommend this series not just to history buffs, but to anyone who enjoys an edge-of-your-seat adventure!



Book review:  Echo: Approaching Shatter Volume I

I recently read this debut novel by Kent Wayne, a member of our bogging community.  I thought I’d share the review I gave on Amazon (also the link to buy!) and elaborate a little bit.  There are some facets of the book that writers will appreciate.

Here’s my review:

Five stars:  Left wanting more!

First of all- mother of all cliff hangers! I’m so glad I know a sequel is forthcoming! The author portrays a future where humankind has moved out into the galaxy to colonize another planet, Echo. And this future is brutal, with dissident factions fighting the elitist government. Though our hero, Atriya, is a soldier for that government, he finds himself in a precarious position, too valuable to be discarded but too dangerous to be ignored. The story ends with Atriya facing enemies without and within.  Kent Wayne, you’re killing me!

Now, to elaborate.  This is a dark, brutal story, full of violence and ugliness.  But hey, life is never pretty in a dystopian future world.  And yet, Atriya, our hero is not just a mindless killer.  He is a deep well, one we have yet to plumb the depths.   I suspect the sequel will explore more of the mind of the man, if he survives the oncoming storm, that is. Like I said, mother of all cliff hangers!

The author describes the fight scenes in a detailed, almost slow motion way. It’s some great writing, painful because you feel it! He also does a great job “world building” with the soldiers’ equipment and gear. I am hopeful that revelations about the series of events that led to humankind ending up out in the galaxy are forthcoming!

So who would like this book?  Fans of Mad Max, The Terminator, Planet of the Apes, A Clockwork Orange, even Farenheit 451, perhaps.  If you read this review and think you’d like the book, the first few chapters are available on Kent’s blog:  Dirty Sci Fi Buddha.  Go say hello!