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Ascension Series, Book 1: Ascension
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Ascension Series, Book 1: Ascension

Score: 5.00 (votes: 5)

Before he fully realized the diabolical cruelties of the National Socialist German Worker's Party, Konrad Wengler had committed atrocities against his own people, the Jews, out of fear of both his faith and his heritage. But after he witnesses firsthand the concentration camps, the corruption, the inhuman malevolence of the Nazi war machine and the propaganda aimed at annihilating an entire race, he knows he must find a way to turn the tide and become the savior his people desperately need.

Being a Jew in Germany can be a dangerous thing...

Fear prompts Konrad Wengler to put his faith aside and try desperately to forget his heritage. After fighting in the Great War, he's wounded and turns instead to law enforcement in his tiny Bavarian hometown. There, he falls under the spell of the fledgling Nazi Party. He joins the Party in patriotic fervour and becomes a Lieutenant of Police and Schutzstaffel (SS). 

In the course of his duties as policeman, Konrad offends a powerful Nazi official who starts an SS investigation. War breaks out. When he joins the Police Battalions, he's sent to Poland and witnesses there firsthand the atrocities being committed upon his fellow Jews. 

Unknown to Konrad, the SS investigators have discovered his origins and follow him into Poland. Arrested and sent to Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Konrad is forced to face what it means to be a Jew and fight for survival. Will his friends on the outside, his wife and lawyer, be enough to counter the might of the Nazi machine?

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Score: 5.00 (votes: 5)
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  • Theo Cage (Amazon Customer)
    Aug 23, 2017, 05:36
    Unforgettable story ...

    This is my first Max Overton novel and I have to say I am in awe of his abilities as a storyteller. Overton draws you in from the first page and holds your attention with his finely drawn characters and knowledge of the period.
    This book is full of revelations for me - what it would feel like to be an SS officer with a conscience - how the local German townspeople reacted to the purges -and what it would feel like to live and work in a concentration camp. Make no mistake, this a chillingly realistic depiction. But told with great skill.
    Meticulously researched, powerful and immersive storytelling - Ascension is a novel you will not soon forget.
  • Dr. Robert Rich
    Aug 23, 2017, 05:34
    I’ve just read the Prologue and I’m caught.

    I’ve just read the Prologue and I’m caught. This is Writing.

    I’ve never thought I could have liking and sympathy for a Nazi, a member of the SS who was involved in rounding up and killing Jews during the Holocaust. Max Overton has managed to achieve this miracle. He has told the story of a good, decent man caught in the evil web of Nazi Germany, forced to do his work as a police officer in a thoroughly immoral way, gradually sucked into horrific crimes in the name of the State.

    This book is not for everyone: you need a strong stomach to read the unvarnished truth of the crimes of the Second World War. However, a valuable lesson is that ordinary, decent people can be subverted by the lies of those in authority, in the way this is happening right now, in our times.

    In 1971, Zimbardo published The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, based on the famous Stanford prison experiment. Like his student participant “prison guards,” Max’s hero Konrad slipped into the demands of his situation. Eventually, through suffering himself, he surmounted this and chose honesty and dignity even in the face of torture and death.

    So, the story ends with the triumph of good over evil, and this makes it worthwhile to read through the terrible parts. With the warning I’ve given, I can thoroughly recommend this wonderfully written book.
  • Moseley (Amazon customer)
    Aug 23, 2017, 05:32
    A gripping read

    For me Max Overton's Ascension was a gripping read that explored the personal struggles of the principal character Konrad, born of a Jewish mother and German father, a mischling under the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. Bullied because of his association with Jews at school, Kondrad denies his own Jewishness, and later joins the German Army and fights and is wounded in the First World War. Afterwards he manages to join the Order Police as a single officer in a rural district. As the National Socialists and Hitler come to power Konrad is swept up in local intrigues where his honesty and regard for the law are at odds with his superior. He finds himself drafted into the Police Battalion 101, a unit under the control of the SS that was involved in "resettlement actions'' in the Warthegau district, following behind the Wehrmacht as they invaded Poland. Konrad's moral code is sorely tested during these harrowing horrific events, and he is oblivious to the dark machinations of others that soon envelop him, but from which he eventually is freed. The historical details portrayed in Ascension are detailed and accurate. Max Overton's vivid writing made me feel as if I was there sharing with Konrad the horrors and pain he experienced. The novel ends in suspense, and I look forward to ''Maelstrom'' and ''Dammerung'', the remaining titles in this trilogy. I also found that this novel dovetailed quite well with Max Overton's book ''We came from Konigsberg'', an excellent and moving novel based on a true story of the flight by a mother and her five young sons from Konigsberg in Eastern Prussia to escape the atrocities and horrors of the Russian advance in the dying stages of World Ward 2 in Europe.
  • Amazon customer
    Aug 23, 2017, 05:32
    Loved this Story

    I have learned much about World War II and many of the stories are quite predictable as we all know how the war ends.........well, not this story. This is a tale of someone, who for most of their growing up, tries to hide their identity and who continues to do so under extreme circumstances. I would rather not say more so as not to give away any of the plot, however I couldn't put this book down. I have read many of Mr Overton's novels now and read each new one as it comes out as he has become one of my favourite authors. I always know that I am going to be in for a heck of a ride with no idea where it will end. His research into the place and time his stories are set is extensive which makes his stories all the more believable. As with all of Mr Overton's books, I highly recommend this one also.
  • Margaret Darley (Amazon customer)
    Aug 23, 2017, 05:31
    WWII from a different perspective

    A gripping novel about a Nazi with a conscience. The story begins when Konrad is a young boy in Germany before the First World War. His mother was Jewish but because of violent taunting by a gang of boys, Konrad rejects his faith and becomes a "good German". We follow his ascension from youth to soldier to war hero to policeman and SS officer. In the course of his duties, he discovers that his superior officer is taking advantage of his position to defraud people of their land. Konrad now has a powerful enemy who digs into his past, finds out he is Jewish and has him thrown into a concentration camp. Konrad survives but is haunted by what he witnessed while he was incarcerated. I want to know what happens next: that author finishes with Konrad saying to his beloved wife "There's something I must tell you..." and then tantalisingly: Konrad's story continues in "Book 2 - Maelstrom".

    This book made me think that our government is not much better than the Nazis when they incarcerate asylum seekers for years in remote locations without charge, trial or hope of a decent life.
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