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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

From the best-selling author of Fatherland and Munich comes a WWII thriller about a German rocket engineer, a former actress turned British spy, and the Nazi rocket program.

The first rocket will take five minutes to hit London. You have six minutes to stop the second. 

Rudi Graf is an engineer who always dreamed of sending rockets to the moon. But instead, he finds himself working alongside Wernher von Braun, launching V2 rockets at London for the Nazis from a bleak seaside town in occupied Holland. As the SS increases its scrutiny of the project, Graf, an engineer more than a soldier, has to muster all of his willpower to toe the party line. And when rumors of a defector circulate through the German ranks, Graf becomes a prime suspect. 

Meanwhile, Kay Caton-Walsh, a young English intelligence officer, is living through the turmoil of war. After she and her lover, an RAF officer, are caught in a V2 attack, she volunteers to ship out for newly liberated Belgium. Armed with little more than a slide rule and a few equations, Kay and her colleagues hope to locate and destroy the launch sites. But at this stage in the war, it’s hard to know who, if anyone, she can trust. 

As the death toll soars, these twin stories play out against the background of the German missile campaign during the Second World War. And what the listener comes to understand is that Kay’s and Graf’s destinies are on a collision course.

©2020 Robert Harris (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Engrossing.... Harris brings the past to life through vivid characterizations and clever plotting. Fans of superior historical fiction will be rewarded." (Publishers Weekly)

"A veteran historical novelist homes in on one of Hitler’s last desperate hopes.... [An] enjoyable thriller with plenty of well-researched historical nuggets." (Kirkus Reviews)

"[An] historical-fiction master.... Crosscutting between those launching the rockets and those on the receiving end proves to be a superb narrative device.... [This] novel combines fascinating technical detail with a wartime drama that finds human ambiguity on both sides of the battlefield." (Booklist)

What listeners say about V2

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Ho-Hum

Could have been a decent book but it lacks suspense and character development. After a few chapters you don't care if they all get blown up. In spite of the marketing blurb, little new information on the V-2 is revealed beyond what can be found on Wikipedia and other web sources. The author seems undecided whether to write a historical novel or a non-fiction documentary and story falls lifeless between the two. The ending is rushed and unsatisfactory. In reality there was considerable more intrigue involved with the allies' capture of Von Braun and all the V-2 hardware and data than indicated in the book. As explained in the afterword, the novel was written in COVID-19 isolation, which apparently also applied to any meaningful interface between author and editor.

6 people found this helpful

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Harris delivers again

Robert Harris is one of the best historical fiction writers today and he delivers again. The twin stories of the German scientist and the British WAC officer is nuanced and gripping. Though we know how this story ends, Harris never rushes and keeps the characters real. His portrayal of VonBraun is delicious.

3 people found this helpful

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Not Harris's best

This is not Harris at his best. The plot is threadbare with a phony contrived ending. The facts about the V2 are interesting but the story is pure formula -- and not a very good one at that..

2 people found this helpful

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Good story, great narration

David Rintoul's narration is so excellent he can make a bad story pretty good. But this is a good story that Rintoul makes into a great audio book. I just wish it were a little longer.

2 people found this helpful

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On of Harris’s best

A great “listen”. Keeps you in the car, listening, after you’ve gotten to where you’re going.

1 person found this helpful

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Intriguing and Compelling

Robert Harris' brilliant story draws you into the world of the German V2 project and the lives of two people on opposite sides of the War, whose destinies become intertwined. I finished this in one day because I could not stop listening/reading. An absolute page turner. David Rintoul's performance of this story was masterful.

1 person found this helpful

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This was a dreadful book…

This dreadful book provides too much detail on the boring and unimportant backstories of its principal and even peripheral characters .

The meat of the story itself is as misery as that which made up WW2 food rations..

All of which made it a very boring book.

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This fills in an interesting piece of history

This was a very interesting book that I have been curious about for a long time. It was well narrated and was well worth the time to listen to while driving. I had an elderly friend who just recently died who worked with Von Braun in her early days after he came to the U.S. to continue his "rocket experiments." She described the same personality that this book does...that he was flamboyant and larger than life. This book nicely interweaved both sides of the struggle...Allies and German and I especially enjoyed the very ending. This is a well-done book and I will seek out other works by the author.

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Excellent book by brilliant historical novelist

V2 is an excellent book by the brilliant novelist Robert Harris. It tells the story of the V2 missile program during World War 2 both from the perspective of the German scientists developing it, and stage British forces being hit by the missiles. The story, based on fact but dramatized, is fast paced and comprehensive. In a few places characters actions aren’t explained too well, so I’m not sure they would act that way. But largely the characters helped drive the story line forward. Harris excels in storytelling centered around this era on other books, and yet again he has a created a winning novel about an important part of World War 2.

David Rintoul’s reading of the audio book was exceptional. Completely entertaining and flawlessly read.

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Good fictional read

As with all of his books, a lot of real history is within this book. But unlike his other works, the characters and their stories are entirely fictional, taking away my ability to put a face to a name or research further on Wikipedia.

Definitely worth the read. But a bit short of the bar set by Officer And A Spy, or the Cicero trilogy.