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Martin Bora Books In Order

Publication Order of Martin Bora Books

Lumen (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Liar Moon (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Dark Song of Blood (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Tin Sky (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Road to Ithaca (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Martin Bora is a series of historical fiction thriller novels by Ben Pastor, the Italian author currently living in the United States. The first novel in the series was the 1999 published “Lumen” that was published to rave reviews. Ben Pastor went on to publish several more titles featuring the lead character Martin Bora, that were just as popular with the fans over the years. Bora the lead protagonist is a German Wehrmacht officer, a catholic and German aristocrat with the reputation of being an honorable and model soldier that fights for causes he believes in. Pastor crafts sharp prose that are a combination of existential mediation and psychological thrillers, that are more than just entertainment. The mix of reflection and detection in the different mysteries in the novels are also an explication of theology and catholic belief, as juxtaposed against Nazi regime realities and inner light. The Martin Bora novels provide highly detailed historical details of the World War II Nazi machine, including the infighting, organization, and army life in some of the most thrilling of narratives. They are not your typical war memoirs, but rather military explications that focus on the life and times of a single wartime protagonist and his friend a Jesuit priest. Some recurring themes in the novels include the exploration of human condition in periods of war and classical antiquity, coupled with themes of post-modernism. The novels also combine aspects of the psychological, historical, and mystery novel for great historical fiction reads.

The lead character in the series is Martin-Heinz Douglas von Bora. Bora was born to a German aristocrat in 1913 Leipzig. His father died when he was still a child and his mother got married to a popular army general a few years later. He went to Dresden Infantry School and Hanover Calvary School, before he proceeded to enroll in the German Wehrmacht in 1936. Inspired by Count van Stauffenberg who was a colonel in the army; Bora rose fast through the ranks and by the time World War II broke out, he was an intelligence captain. Over the course of the novels, he works in Poland, Italy, Russia, and Ukraine between 1939 and 1944. He is a handsome cultured man with green eyes, fair complexion, dark hair, and a love for philosophy and diplomacy that stands him in good stead when it comes to building relationships in the army. He starts out cold towards the Catholic faith before he becomes a staunch practitioner after meeting his Jesuit friend Father Malecki. His interest in religion, ethics, and philosophy coupled with the moral and spiritual pain of the war lead him towards working for good in a world full of evil. Over the course of the novels, he interacts with a range of characters the most important of which is the 56-year-old Father Malecki, a Jesuit priest that hails from Chicago who assists in many of their investigations into murder mysteries. He also creates friendships with other characters including Sandro Guidi a Fascist party mandarin and police inspector. These characters play an important role in assisting Bora to fulfill his mission or in investigating crime and murder in the novels.

The Martin Bora series of novels may be read as standalone novels though the story arc is a character study of the lead protagonist Bora. The career military intelligence officer is a German patriot though he never joins the Nazi party nor is he ever one of the sympathizers of its atrocities. Over the course of the series, he is increasingly bothered by his conscience and is torn between being an honorable man and a Christian, and serving his country as an intelligence officer. He is something of a romantic hero and speaks Italian and English fluently, plays the piano, and has a PhD in philosophy. Even though he feels deeply, his aristocratic upbringing and military discipline prevents him from being too radical and hence he suffers in silence even as he tries to remain in control of his emotions. The novels are unrelenting narratives of imminent collapse interspersed with shocking and unexpected horror. Ben Pastor makes intriguing novels by exploring routine murders, before she spins it into highly descriptive narratives that are full of highly engaging characters. These narratives spread their tentacles from the Polish border to Germany, right back to the battlefields of Italy in the war years.

“Lumen” is a part religious mystery, psychological thriller, detective story, and wartime political intrigue story following a Chicago priest and German army captain on their quest for justice in Nazi occupied Poland. Captain Martin Bora had discovered the body of Mother Kazimierza, the abbess of a nunnery shot dead in 1939, an event that has a profound impact on the young soldier. The nun had made a reputation for herself as a prophet and had attracted a devoted following that followed her for her gift, dedication to her religion, and mission embodied by her motto “Lumen Christi Adiuva Nos.” The pope invites Father Malecki into Cracow the nun’s town, to investigate who could be responsible for her murder. Together with Bora, the two men set out to investigate the murder and are soon fast friends. However, Bora is the one most influenced by the friendship as he finds he is now stunned by the ideology of his fellow military men and the violence required of his occupation. His Prussian sense of duty is tested to the maximum and things are not made better when Ewa Kowalska a seductive and beautiful actress comes into his orbit.

“Liar Moon” is the riveting second novel in the Martin Bora series of novels by Ben Pastor. The novel is a character study of a set of characters, and a faithful production of the actions and thoughts of a Nazi soldier in wartime Europe. The novel is set in 1943 Italy, where the Italian government has abandoned its German allies and declared war on them. However, Northern Italy is still under the rule of German supported fascist rulers. The south is fighting for control of the country, and supported by the Allies are fighting their way up the Italian boot. Baron Martin Bora is among a crack team of elite soldiers from the Russian front sent to Verona by the Nazis. His orders are to investigate the killing of a vocal fascist leader whose unexplained death has left the Nazis and their fascist puppets with egg on their faces. Clara the leader’s twenty eight year old widow is the chief suspect in the murder. Carrying a record of opposing brutal tactics of the SS while fighting on the Russian front, Bora needs to exercise utmost caution if he is to survive his new assignment. In the midst of ideological and political clashes, followed by the great Holocaust, Bora embarks on the chase of his life.

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