The Verdun Affair

The Verdun AffairThe Verdun Affair by Nick Dybek

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a huge fan of European history, especially WWI and WWII, I just had to read this book.

The story starts in 1950, Hollywood. Two old friends, Tom and Paul meet nearly thirty years after their last meeting. They agreed to get together for a dinner and reminisce about the event that brought them together in Bologna, Italy in late 1920.

Three decades prior, Tom was an ambulance driver who also gathered bones from the battlefield in a small French town – Verdun. Tom’s father passed away when Tom was a young boy, a local priest took an interest in him and helped Tom find work and place to live. Instead of returning back to Chicago, where Tom is originally from, he decides to stay in Verdun, where a few years later he meets Sarah, a young woman who is searching for her missing husband. Sarah’s beauty, personality, and a strong will draw Tom closer to her. And after their short acquaintance, the two begin a love affair. However, their romance is short lived. Sarah must continue the search for her husband, and Tom relocates to Paris and finds a new job – newspaper reporter.

However, a couple of months later, Tom and Sarah meet again, this time in a Bologna, Italy. Tom is sent there to cover a story of a “Douglas Fairbanks” – a soldier with amnesia, whom Sarah claims is her missing husband. This is where Tom meets a fellow Austrian journalist Paul, who also has a personal interest in the amnesiac.

This is a great plot idea. However, there were way too many very long stories in the book that could have been avoided and/or shortened. It was too much material and info to keep up with that didn’t really affect the main story. I appreciate the fact that an author was trying to show us a bigger picture, it just felt overdone. Less is more. Other than that – a wonderful story with an interesting ending, that left me thinking if there will be a sequel.


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