Saturday, June 28, 2014

Phantom Panthers by David Shultz--Historical Eeriness! Beware!

As they approached Wewelsburg, the Castle eclipsed the setting sun forming a black silhouette against the twilight sky.  The sun created shimmering lines of light around the edges of the Castle's silhouette, deep red and magenta clouds blended into gold across the evening sky. It was ias if Mother Nature herself were giving them royal treatment.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Hans said from his seat next to Otto...Otto had no reply. Seeing Wewelsburg Castle for the first time hadn't done anything to assuage Otto's unease
"Once you enter  these doors, you will not be able to leave until the
ceremony is complete. Any man without the courage to continue
had best leave now..."
Finally, they reached what had to be the top of the tower. The
stairs led them directly into an enormous circular chamber with a
massive roundtable at the center. The scene of fresh baked
bread filled the air, and Otto saw why. The table was set with
several loaves of break and just as many stoneware carafes.

Phantom Panthers

By David Shultz

"I hope you will forgive for preparing
such a modest meal, the pudgy man who
called himself Himmler said, "but I
thought it fit given the circumstances.
A 'last supper' of sorts..."

This was getting a little bit too strange for Otto and he didn't think that wine would do anything to help his nerves. So, he politely refused when Himmler went to fill his chalice. "Do you have water? I'm too tired for wine." Otto stated, trying to be polite but too exhausted to care if he failed.
Himmler smiled, which only made his double chin more noticeable. "Ah, I think you will find this particular wine more,,, Rejuvenating... Than most, gently. " he urged gently. "Plus, a little inebriation will help you to relax."
...Now that you've eaten your fill, the ritual can begin!

"I Otto Mader..."  Otto repeated.
"A trueborn warrior of the Reich..."


Otto Mader
This is the first novel where I've met German soldier characters, who are not bad guys,,, We'll always hate Hitler, Himmler and others who were obsessed in their goals for Germany, but at the same time, we all must recognize that not all Germans were fighting on behalf of Hitler--rather, on behalf of their country, which is what all soldiers do... Otto and Hans seemed to be serving together during their time in the service and became close friends. Readers get to know their families...and empathize when suddenly their families died just as many families were split by war. Otto had discovered his youngest daughter Petra was alive and found by a nearby family. They had taken her in, and when Otto came back to find his home totally destroyed, he was grateful that they agreed to keep her until he could come again...\

During the first half of the book, a very detailed accounting of the operations, such as Operation Bagration in 1944 are explored and the primary target for Germany in this action was Russia.
If you are interested in the details about the tanks used, you will greatly enjoy this early part! What I found most intriguing took place at the Wewelsburg Castle when the best of the
panzertruppen were pull together to form a new and special unit and were initiated into 
an  elite group that were to have special powers, including a new type of tank...
They each received the ring that bore the Luciferian Crown, the Spear of Longinus and the Teutonic Cross...

And, of course, the various new tanks that were especially equipped to allow connections between the man and the tank...

Interestingly, because of the superior numbers of the Russian forces, on the first meeting of the new tanks, all of them were destroyed except for those driven by Otto and Hans...

But many years later, when both men were out of the service, Petra, Otto's daughter was grown and working, they heard on the news... Where the tanks driven by Otto and Hans had been found... Both men immediately contacted each other, even though they had not been in contact for years! They knew what was going to happen!!!

I gather in putting my review together that there are many of what is included in this book that are, even today, of a dubious nature. None of that was included in this book. The two soldiers had assumed they had been drugged and never knew what had taken place at the castle, but they had not received any long- term changers. They were still loyal to their country, but had no super powers that had been implied by Himmler...just brave, strong men willing to fight for what they believed had to occur to save their homeland...

Also, another point that I need to mention... DON'T take the first 20 pages or so as the overall quality of the book. My guess is that the author got very involved in setting up his story and was not as conscientious about his writing skills...and it shows, for instance, in his handling of dialogue and telling rather than showing... But this overall story is quite fascinating and I decided to start over and continue reading the entire book. Soon I was captured with the science fiction and action that Shultz had created. What happened at the Castle was kinda spooky and mysterious; what happens in the last part of the book is edge-of-your seat stuff that results in an ending that could only have occurred in this situation.

There is a little romance when Petra has found and is living with her father and, after the news announcement, is requested by her father to go talk to the man who had announced what was happening on television... She was quite happy to since she had noticed he was attractive while he was on TV... Fortunately, he had the same reaction when he met her! That relationship does made the final ending one to be appreciated and enjoyed!

War buffs--this is a must-read, I think...  If you like action/adventure with a side of, do check this one! I'm certainly glad I gave the book a second chance after my first start! Do try again if you have the same'll be very glad you did!

He could tell from Hans' face that he felt the same thing he did; the pull was stronger now. He felt both alive and afraid at the same time, as if his very soul were humming in tune with some unheard melody. Which is why Otto had to do a double-take when he got out of the personnel truck and actually heard a melody, though faint, come from the clearing ahead. It was a tune that was somehow familiar, but altogether unsettling...


Meet the Author
Dave "The Tankman" Shultz is a Vietnam veteran that is a Machinist by trade, a Manufacturing Engineer by profession and a wanna be entrepreneur. His latest project, he has developed radio controlled Panther tanks to give this SyFy action adventure story the potential to be adapted into an exciting film commodity.

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