Join us at C. Burr Artz Library to hear Reiner Prochaska discuss his new historical fiction book, Captives. Presented in partnership with Frederick County Public Libraries.
Books will be available for purchase and signing at event. This event is free and open to the public.
Frederick County, Maryland, September 1944. Florian Schneider, a code breaker for the German Army, is interned at POW Branch Camp 6. Many of his fellow inmates, most of them seasoned Afrika Korps veterans mistrust the taciturn soldier, whose rank belies his education and his excellent command of the English language. He is assigned to work on the farm of Vivian Klein, whose daughter, Mary, has moved back home for the remainder of the war while her husband is fighting in the Pacific. An unlikely, complicated romance ensues between Mary and Schneider. Once Schneider earns the trust of his peers by saving the life of Bernd Wagner, he dares to propose to them the impossible a plan for escape: After a performance of Coriolanus by the German soldiers for their American captors on New Year’s Eve, a group of German soldiers will steal a car and head for the New Jersey coast. Schneider knows that two spies enlisted to sabotage the Manhattan Project are scheduled to be delivered via submarine to the coast off Maine around New Years Day 1945. Schneider believes in the slight chance that he and his fellow escapees may be able to radio the sub to pick them up off the East Coast. On New Years Eve, everything starts out as planned, but shortly after midnight, as the men are stealing a truck on Vivian Klein’s Farm, Mary surprises them. Unwilling to harm Mary or jeopardize the escape, Schneider tells the men to leave without him. Without Schneider’s language skills, they are captured trying to cross the Susquehanna Bridge, and Wagner is killed. Blaming Schneider for the failed escape, the men convene a Court of Honor to decide his fate.