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Richard Hofing

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The First Sniper War
by Richard Hofing   

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ISBN-10:  B0064CBSS6 Type: 



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An allied sniper team hunts a killer in war-torn World War 1 France.

 Two young Canadian soldiers use their skills as snipers to confront the horrors of chemical warfare on the battlefronts of World War 1 Europe. 


Michael Sauvage, a prairie-farmer's son, and Erik Path, a young carpenter's apprentice, are among the first soldiers to join the Allied sniping program. Michael and Erik could not be more different, but their unique skills, when combined, make them the deadliest sniper team in Europe.


Now those skills will be put to the test, and the price of failure could result in the deaths of millions of allied soldiers and civilians, and defeat at the hands of the Germans.


Rumors that the Germans are close to completing a new battlefield gas; odorless, colorless, and invariably fatal, have the Allies scrambling to find a way to stop this horrifying killer for which they have no defense.


Michael and Erik are given the task of tracking down the laboratory where the gas is being manufactured and tested, deep behind enemy lines in occupied France. Their mission: destroy the lab and assassinate the scientist leading the research.

South-East Germany, spring 1915

The doctor, a small timid man, not given to physical exertion if it could be avoided, heaved himself up from the ground. Brushing the dirt and grass from the knees of his formerly immaculate trousers he shook his head in disgust. Before him lay the bodies of fifteen young enemy soldiers, mostly British, but a few French and Canadian uniforms were also present. Their deaths had not been quick, nor painless.
"Well, doctor Adler, what is your diagnosis?"
The doctor turned to face Colonel Gerhardt Luden, also a doctor, but his specialty was in ending, not saving, lives. Adler fought the urge to lash out verbally at the man who had ordered the deaths of the fifteen young men at his feet. Luden, vindictive and quick to anger, was a rapidly rising power in the German army, as well as a distant relative of the Kaiser.
Luden was everything Adler aspired to be but could never attain; tall, handsome, powerful and cultured. Woman wanted him and men wanted to be like him. Luden was also, the doctor reminded himself, a mass murderer. "A one hundred percent death rate, I'm afraid, though they did last longer than the previous group."
"It seems our research for an antidote has not yet achieved our goals."
"So it would appear colonel, but such research is time consuming. It is not a fast process."
"And what, doctor, would you suggest we do to speed our research?"
"More scientists, technicians, and a steady supply of test subjects."
Luden understood this to also mean more money, some of which found its way into the doctor's foreign bank account. "Prepare a list of the additional resources you require. In the meantime, prepare to re-locate."
"Again? This constant moving is slowing our research, colonel."
Luden ignored the whining tone from the small physician. "We have many enemies, doctor. From within and without." Luden did not feel the need to elaborate further; the doctor was a hireling, nothing more, who's usefulness, and life, were rapidly coming to a close. "We leave at dawn tomorrow. Be ready."

Professional Reviews

Captured me right away
This book really captured me right from the beginning, the action starts at the first page and pulls you right in. I learned a lot about snipers and WW1 and Canada's role. One of the things I really liked was not being overloaded with technical jargon and descriptions. This is a beautifully written novel.

I am looking forward to the next novel in the series!

An exciting read about a fascinating subject
A friend of mine in the UK suggested this book to me as he knows how much I like WW1 and WW2 books. I am glad he did because this was a great read. There are not a lot of WW1 books out there about snipers so it was nice to read something new and different. I especially liked the fact that the two snipers, Erik and Michael are Canadian, like me!

Almost great, but misses the mark
First of all what was good.
This was a well paced story from beginning to end, I never felt at any point that I was reading unnecessary filler just to get the page count up. The main characters were well written and well thought out, They could have been real folks, I felt myself caring about them and their plight.

What didn't work for me.
The capabilities of the weapons and tactics were greatly exaggerated, this may not be an issue for many folks but for me a work of historical fiction should be getting these things right. The second issue was the villains of the story. Imagine a James Bond villain set in WW1 and you've got a petty good idea of what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. Once again, it may not be a problem for some folks, but this is historical fiction, these are details that should be right, and they could have been made right. It would have made the story more believable, and much better.

End result is a story that you see the potential for greatness in, right before it sinks to mediocrity.

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