Books by James D. Shipman
BEFORE THE STORM
Inspired by the real-life husband and wife Nazi hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, this thrilling, high-stakes Cold War novel from the bestselling author of Irena’s War follows one couple’s relentless pursuit of a fugitive Nazi scientist in the aftermath of WWII. A must-read for fans of Kate Quinn, Joseph Kanon, Alan Furst, Lara Prescott, and Anika Scott.
BEYOND THE WIRE
October 1944: In the long, narrow undressing rooms in Auschwitz-Birkenau, prisoner Jakub Bak toils under the scrutiny of SS guards. Like other members of the Sonderkommando, Jakub was selected on arrival for an unthinkable job: sorting through the clothes of the dead and moving their bodies from the gas chambers to the crematoriums. In this hell within a hell, Jakub clings to the promise he made to his murdered father—to live, at any cost—and to the moments he is able to spend in the company of Anna, imprisoned in the women’s camp.
Every morning, Anna marches miles to the union munitions factory where she works alongside other prisoners. Even Jakub doesn’t know that she and a few other women have been taking the ultimate risk, smuggling trace amounts of gunpowder back in their clothing. A bold plan is brewing to revolt against the SS and liberate the camp. Jakub, pressured to join the resistance, knows that any uprising faces impossible odds. Added to this already stark choice is another desperate reality—the risk from informers who see their only chance of survival in betraying their fellow Jews.
Powerfully moving and unflinching in its authenticity, Beyond the Wire tells of the women and men who, though outnumbered and outgunned, fought to free themselves, sparking a brilliant flash of light and hope amidst the darkest evil that humans can conceive.
September 1939: The conquering Nazis swarm through Warsaw as social worker Irena Sendler watches in dread from her apartment window. Already, the city’s poor go hungry. Irena wonders how she will continue to deliver food and supplies to those who need it most, including the forbidden Jews. The answer comes unexpectedly.
Dragged from her home in the night, Irena is brought before a Gestapo agent, Klaus Rein, who offers her a position running the city’s soup kitchens, all to maintain the illusion of order. Though loath to be working under the Germans, Irena learns there are ways to defy her new employer—including forging documents so that Jewish families receive food intended for Aryans. As Irena grows bolder, her interactions with Klaus become more fraught and perilous.
Klaus is unable to prove his suspicions against Irena—yet. But once Warsaw’s half-million Jews are confined to the ghetto, awaiting slow starvation or the death camps, Irena realizes that providing food is no longer enough. Recruited by the underground Polish resistance organization Zegota, she carries out an audacious scheme to rescue Jewish children. One by one, they are smuggled out in baskets and garbage carts, or led through dank sewers to safety—every success raising Klaus’s ire. Determined to quell the uprising, he draws Irena into a cat-and-mouse game that will test her in every way—and where the slightest misstep could mean not just her own death, but the slaughter of those innocents she is so desperate to save.
TASK FORCE BAUM
March, 1945. Allied forces are battle-worn but wearily optimistic. Russia’s Red Army is advancing hard on Germany from the east, bolstering Allied troops moving in from the west and north. Soon, surely, Axis forces must accept defeat. Yet for Captain Jim Curtis, each day is a reminder of how uncertain warfare can be. Captured during the Battle of the Bulge, Curtis is imprisoned at a POW camp in Hammelburg, Bavaria. But whispers say General Patton’s troops, and liberation, are on the way.
Indeed, fifty miles away, a task force of three hundred men is preparing to cross into Germany. What makes Hammelburg so special they don’t know, but orders are orders. Yet hope quickly evaporates as the raid unravels with shattering losses. For inmates, the liberation becomes a struggle for survival marked by a stark choice: stay, or risk escaping into danger—while leaving some behind.
For Curtis, the decision is an even more personal test of loyalty, friendship, and the values for which one will die or kill. It will be another twenty years before the unsanctioned mission’s secret motivation becomes public knowledge, creating a controversy that will forever color Patton’s legacy and linger on in the lives of those who made it home at last—and the loved ones of those who did not.
A BITTER RAIN
East Prussia, Nazi Germany, 1939. History professor Erik Mueller is a model citizen and a family man. He's also a decorated sergeant in the Gestapo. Proving his courage on the battlefields of Poland and the Soviet Union, and proud of the German army's victories across Europe, he embraces what he thinks is the righteousness of the Third Reich's cause.
But his loyalties are soon tested when he crosses paths with his old university friend Trude Bensheim. Forced into unemployment for being Jewish, Trude and her husband start a secret organization to help Jews escape Germany. But when they are betrayed by someone they thought they could trust, their lives hang in the balance.
Erik feels responsible for Trude's capture, and he knows he's in a position to help them. But when everything he holds dear is at stake, will he save his friends...or himself?
IT IS WELL
IT IS WELL is a World War II novel set in Snohomish, Washington with additional scenes on Wake Island in the Pacific and with the 10th Armored Division in France and Belgium.
IT IS WELL is a modern retelling of Job, and focuses on the trials of faith of Jonathan Beecher, a middle aged widower and his three children. The war brings tremendous change and tragedy to Jonathan's life, and he must battle these events and seek his way through them to survive.
Brought to the New World from Ireland, young Joseph Forsyth is soon betrayed by his alcoholic father and separated from his beloved family. As he grows older, he finds his kind nature exploited by others—including an alluring young woman named Lucy—until he gets swept away by the conflict that divides a nation.
After the bloody siege of Petersburg, Joseph floats in and out of consciousness at a Union army hospital. Keeping vigil at his side is Rebecca Walker, a nurse and widow all too familiar with the horrors of war. As Joseph fights for his life and Rebecca struggles to follow her heart, both face a devastating choice: whether to hang on to the wounds of the past or move on to an uncertain future.
For over a thousand years, the medieval city of Constantinople has been the jewel on the crown of the Roman Empire. Now, the once-mighty metropolis is broken down, with its defensive walls in shambles. Long have the neighboring Turks wanted to claim the city, and Mehmet—the impetuous new Turkish sultan—thinks he and his legions might finally have their chance. In defiance of his late father’s advisors, Mehmet vows to be the first leader in a millennium to wrench Constantinople from the Christians. He is determined to take the city from the weakened but beloved Emperor Constantine—even if he loses his throne and his life in the process.
An epic historical military adventure, Constantinopolis plots out the future of civilization as shaped by a number of fascinating characters, including one leader desperate to save his people from destruction and another determined to lead his nation to glory.