Book Jacket

 

rank 5917
word count 24642
date submitted 06.01.2010
date updated 01.04.2010
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Historic...
classification: moderate
incomplete

Heart of the Patriot

Stuart W. Reid

SOE agent Johannes Sneijder is sent to Holland to assassinate German SS officer Albrecht Koestler. Can he conquer his demons and complete his mission?

 

Johannes Sneijder is just another victim of war. Forced to flee Nazi persecution he left his family behind and fears them dead. However Sneijder is not prepared to accept his fate; instead he joins the British Special Operations Executive, determined to fight for his beleaguered nation. But then comes an assignment that will test him to the limit. Assassinate SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Albrecht Koestler, a man responsible for turning Dutchmen to the German cause. Take another man's life in cold blood.

Sneijder is soon plunged into the shadowy world of resistance and the moral quagmire of right and wrong. Betrayal and death lie at every turn. Meanwhile Koestler is a guilt-ridden alcoholic struggling to hold it together in the face of Germany's impending defeat.

This is a story of two men on opposite sides of a war; two patriots doing their best to serve their countries as events begin to overtake them. When Sneijder falls in love with Koestler's daughter the stakes are raised even higher. As they are pitched together in a deadly duel, who will come out on top?

 
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action, adventure, alcohol abuse, betrayal, death, fiction, historical fiction, history, intelligence, literary fiction, love, murder, nazis, netherla...

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111 comments

 

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Walden Carrington wrote 1281 days ago

Stuart,
I loved reading your intricate descriptions in Heart of the Patriot. You have outlined an enthralling plot in your synopsis. Historicals have a special place in my heart as they sweep the reader away to another time and place and there is so much to be learned from them. Backed with enthusiasm.

eurodan49 wrote 1281 days ago

My kind of a read. Your pitch drew me in and I like your story.
Good, solid voice. The narration flows easy (though a little more “showing” won’t hurt.
The dialogue sounds real and moves the story forward. Some internal dialogue would help define your MC.
Good job. Hope you’ll find representation.
Backed.
Dan
PS. Could you pls check mine? Comment/backing will be appreciated.

SusieGulick wrote 1437 days ago

Dear Stewart, I love how you go behind the scenes to show how it really was during the war - the feelings & fears - I'm so happy I wasn't there - I have enough problems of my own - see my memoir that I'll name below. :) Before I began to read your book, I was prepared by your recap/pitch/prologue, which was very well done. :) Your story is good because you create interest by having short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, which makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm "backing" your book: When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved...authonomy. :) Please "back" my TWO memoir books, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" & my completed memoir unedited version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which tells at the end, my illness now & 6th abusive marriage." Thanks, Susie :)
p.s. Remember: Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs. :)

Ransom Heart wrote 1444 days ago

Dank U wel. I love the Dutch resistance element. I just spent time in The Netherlands last fall and came home wanting to know more about the Occupation. This is a welcome entry in the WWII thriller category, and the conscience-plagued main character is an archetypal figure from this era. I backed this last week and wanted to come back to post a comment. Good luck with the project, and don't overlook the possibility of a Dutch translation for publishing in The Netherlands. By the way, the people of the Dutch underground were more courageous than the French ones, I've been told by a US veteran. All the best, Marianne (Saint Paddy and the Sundial)

CraigD wrote 1446 days ago

Your cover is great; the combination of illustration and title piques the interest more than any other cover I've seen here. The conscience of individual Europeans during the Nazi era is of course one of the great unanswerable questions of our time, so your premise is great as well. The writing is strong, but I would suggest you watch the number of sentences that begin with "it." Recast those sentences and you'll end up using more active verbs and giving your narrative more dynamism. Overall this is very good, though, and I'm happy to back it for you.
CraigD
The Job

Laurie A Will wrote 1463 days ago

Stuart,

I like the Dutch perspective it's a refreshing twist. I love the premise. In war everyone thinks there side is right as long as they don't think to much and not see the other side as human beings. When they do it certainly blurs the line of morality.

Your pace is perfect and this is a pleasure to read.

Happy to shelve!

Laurie - Into The Master's Lair

Francesco wrote 1467 days ago

Backed with pleasure! Good Luck!!
A look at Sicilian Shadows would be greatly appreciated.
Frank.
If you back my work, you may also want to approach BJD (a big supporter of Sicilian Shadows) for a further read and possible backing of your book.

Beval wrote 1469 days ago

The Dutch element of this is refreshing, so much has been written about the french, it is often forgotten just how brave the dutch and their resistance movement was.
This has all the essentials for a good WW2 story. The assasination plot line is good, I like the unwillingness of Polo despite what he has been through and seen.
The cloak and dagger side is convincing as well.
The whole is highly readable.

Clive Gilson wrote 1475 days ago

First reading of early pages is both enjoyable and leads you into the story well. Will read some more and come back to you, but nicely put together so far and makes you want to find out more.

Good luck and I'll add some more comments as time allows.

Regards,

Clive
Cincinnati Dancing Pig

T.Edwards wrote 1476 days ago

An engaging story with captivating writing that draws you in. Wasnt sure if I would like it at first but couldnt put it down. Backed.

AdamDaehnke wrote 1476 days ago

I like the pace - as has already been said here, the story and thrill of telling it is not overwhelmed by the history book facts that hurt so many historical fiction pieces. Obviously, you have a keen interest in historical fiction, and have proven an ability to do it very, very well.

Quick note - towards the end of the first chapter - the line 'You know, sir, that might just work.' is a bit cliche - you do such a great job of avoiding cliche dialogue throughout the rest of the book that it was a little distracting there. My own 2 cents.

missyfleming_22 wrote 1481 days ago

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you! I love historical fiction and this was right up my alley. A historical fiction novel that doesn't get boring and weighed down with too many facts. The pace moved a long perfectly. The opening, the scene in the forest, was a great way to begin. I felt like I was right there running with him, seeing and feeling the forest around me. The characters are unique and strong, which makes me as a reader want to follow them to the end of this book. Johannes has many layers and I enjoy his character.

I'm not the best person for proofreading and finding errors, I like to read strictly as a reader. Most often it's because I get to caught up in the story! All in all, I think this is a good book! It's set someplace different and you have told it very well.

Missy
Mark of Eterntiy

Andrew Burans wrote 1481 days ago

Hi Stuart,

Writing historical fiction is a diificult task and you have handled it well. Your use of imagery, a must in this type of book, and foreshadowing are superb. The reader is easily drawn into the book. Backed with pleasure.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

Chris 1 wrote 1482 days ago

Hello Stuart, this is a great read and you set it up beautifully with the tantalising opening with our man on the run in the forest and the sounds of a dog (and handlers) in pursuit.
I really enjoy this kind of WWII story (as you'll see if you take a look at mine - 'The Partisan').
I think your knowledge of the period is astute and your imagination vivid. I like the way Johannes has already had his fair share of action and is on the edge of a breakdown, nevertheless, where duty calls etc. This tells me he's a tough character and you have lined him up against another interesting character in Koestler.
I'm backing this without hesitation as it is right up my alley. Please take a look at my book, as we're both concerned with topping Nazis! Cheers, Chris1

david brett wrote 1483 days ago

THIS BELONGS IN A WELL-DEVELOPED GENRE. In a sense, we know how these stories should be done - the degree of plausibility, the relative simplicity of the characters, the speed of the action etc. The prose has to be efficient, rather than deep. This book meets those criteria. But it has something else, the `villain' when we meet him, turns out to be a wreck of a man - as indeed,our hero is also something of a wreck. There is a great deal of alcohol swilling about. And our location in Arnhem strongly suggests a possible denouement.... There is the beginning here of something at some distance from an ordinary genre thriller. So I am backing this partly for the promise.. DB ALL THESE ARE MEMORIES OF MY VOYAGE

Robbins wrote 1485 days ago

Judging from your pitch (which I think is wonderfully written, by the way), this sounds like a very good story. The plot just seems to get thicker and thicker, down to the last paragraph when we learn there is a hint of romance to this story. I'm impressed!

Shelved,
Andrea

Paul T. wrote 1487 days ago

My impression of this story is that the history and personality of the main characters are the key elements. Developing the readers picture of the two men and bringing them into confrontation is what this book is about. To acheive that, you've put a lot of wrting into telling the reader about them. That's done quite successfully, but my concern is that it might be overdone, at the expense of the fast pace that this sort of action / adventure story needs. You might consider streamlining the character development to that end.

One small nit-pick: at the beginning of chapter 1 you use ticked and ticking in consecutive sentences. That jarred a bit for me, and broke the flow.

Having said all this, the background is authentic and the plot is intriguing. It has great potential, and I'm going to put it on my shelf.

Paul T.

M. A. McRae. wrote 1489 days ago

I was amused in Chapter 4 when messages without security codes were simply accepted, without any checks. It just seems so Exactly! what would have happened. This a professionally written story, no errors that I noticed. My only complaint is that the font is too large, making it seem like a shout at me. That's hardly a consideration if it were to be published of course. Backed. Marj.

jammer wrote 1489 days ago

Great writing here, pacey opening prologue (although I've read quite a few prologues on here with people running) but the narrative was excellent, very good at painting the scene with dynamic descriptive details - good thriller style (cloak of night perhaps a little cliched? but I liked it in context). Also loved the opening of chapter 1, great scene setting and atmosphere. Good stuff so far. Very well done.

AutismAuntie wrote 1490 days ago

This looks like an amazing read! I gladly will shelf it!
Best of luck to you on finishing it up for us!

Mandi Gordon
BROKEN

George Chittenden wrote 1490 days ago


The pitch is very appealing and shows that your plot has all the hallmarks of a great read; it reminds me a bit of a Jeffery Deaver book I read once that was very successful. Showing both sides of the coin is brilliant, people always believe what they are doing is right even in war, but of course they are often wrong. I think your prologue shows your skills as a writer and you create suspense very well. The book also has brilliant locations and is set during a very interesting part of world history. Based on what I've already read I have no objections to backing this.

George (The Touch of God)

Bocri wrote 1492 days ago

An attention grabbing pitch promising an interesting read primarily because we will see the war from both sides and be subjected to two points of view. Tension is racked up in the prologue during a chase sequence and the standard of descriptive prose bodes well for what is to follow. Backed. Bocri. The Tuzla Run

stuartwreid wrote 1493 days ago

I thought the prologue was well written and tense, but the action was a little plain. He's running, somewhere people are chasing him with dogs. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but it isn't the most memorable set up either.

There's a subtle but noticeable inconsistency to the first chapter. It' silent, but there's a noise. The curtain keeps out the light, but there's one shaft coming through. He can't sleep, but then he does. It gives the chapter a weird vibe. My feeling is you're using absolutes to try and convey some gravitas to the situation (it was the most this, the complete and utter that ) and then undermining it with the specific details you need to move the plot forward. I would suggest you take out the stuff that tells you what things are like for him in general, that will become self-evident, and stick to the relevant details and the actions he does in the moment.

He's a man in turmoil and you show this by having him sit in a darkened room feeling troubled. Or he goes to the bathroom and stares at himself in the mirror. It gets the message across, but the way you do it is a little on-the-nose. Similarly he goes to see N3 and the mission is explained in a very straightforward manner. It's a matter of taste, obviously, but I have to say I found it a little pedestrian at times. Others, of course, may find the high level of authentic detail more than holds their interest.

i found the pace of the first chapter a little slow. The details all feel very realistic and I certainly don't doubt any of the historical information, but I don't think you need all of it. An example would be when he walks down Baker Street and notices the ledge on th building must have been added after the building's contruction. What relevance has that? While I'm sure it's true, superfluous details also slow down the pace. Again, a matter of taste.

I wasn't entirely sure why he felt so guilty about killing that Nazi from his past. God knows, if you have to kill someone... However, you do make a big deal about this, and it does then make sense why he doesn't want to take on the job of assassin. However, it makes no sense to me when he's perfectly happy to arrange the guy's assassination as long as it looks like an accident. Either he won't kill in cold blood or he will. The fact other people don't know he did it makes no difference. The logic of that part completely escapes me, have I missed something? (wouldn't be the first time).

Overall it reads well and has an interesting main character, but the pace was too slow for me and I couldn't understand the MC's motivations, both in his loathing for what he'd done in the past and his willingness to repeat it in the future.

Best of luck with it.

regards
mood



The prologue is not designed to be particularly memorable, the point is to give an idea of some action to come and invite the reader to question why the MC is running away.

I don't believe there is any inconsistency; I say the room is silent EXCEPT for the ticking clock; i.e. this is the only sound, and but for this it would be totally silent. The MC is having trouble sleeping, cannot sleep properly. I never say he can't sleep at all, otherwise after three months he would surely be dead.

As regards pace, I am deliberately trying to avoid the failings of most thrillers, which is the complete absence of character building in order to maintain a quick pace. The story picks up pace as it goes, and I am unwilling to sacrifice my characters in order to satisfy the modern reader's poor attention span. I realise this may put off some people but is worth it for those who read on.

The MC is appalled by killing and at no point is perfectly happy' to arrange the assassination. He is plagued by guilt for the entire novel and only agrees when his superior agrees to help him in return. I am to be honest a little alarmed at how many people think killing somebody is no big deal. Many people have said the same thing. I would personally be horrified at taking a life, and the number of conscientious objectors during the war would indicate I am not alone.

Callaghan Grant wrote 1493 days ago

Chapter opening. You put your mc under pine trees and the ground under them would be covered with pine needles which make very little sound as one runs over them. Then you have him drugged on barbituates and alcohol and completing a report. Then you have him heading for the interrogation on a dark cloudy day and, when he arrives at the office a bright light is flooding in the windows. You need to marry the narrative to the environment to create a sense of realism that immerses the reader. Other than these sorts of issues this is a fine read and I enjoyed it.
Loving regards, Callaghan

Mooderino wrote 1493 days ago

I thought the prologue was well written and tense, but the action was a little plain. He's running, somewhere people are chasing him with dogs. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but it isn't the most memorable set up either.

There's a subtle but noticeable inconsistency to the first chapter. It' silent, but there's a noise. The curtain keeps out the light, but there's one shaft coming through. He can't sleep, but then he does. It gives the chapter a weird vibe. My feeling is you're using absolutes to try and convey some gravitas to the situation (it was the most this, the complete and utter that ) and then undermining it with the specific details you need to move the plot forward. I would suggest you take out the stuff that tells you what things are like for him in general, that will become self-evident, and stick to the relevant details and the actions he does in the moment.

He's a man in turmoil and you show this by having him sit in a darkened room feeling troubled. Or he goes to the bathroom and stares at himself in the mirror. It gets the message across, but the way you do it is a little on-the-nose. Similarly he goes to see N3 and the mission is explained in a very straightforward manner. It's a matter of taste, obviously, but I have to say I found it a little pedestrian at times. Others, of course, may find the high level of authentic detail more than holds their interest.

i found the pace of the first chapter a little slow. The details all feel very realistic and I certainly don't doubt any of the historical information, but I don't think you need all of it. An example would be when he walks down Baker Street and notices the ledge on th building must have been added after the building's contruction. What relevance has that? While I'm sure it's true, superfluous details also slow down the pace. Again, a matter of taste.

I wasn't entirely sure why he felt so guilty about killing that Nazi from his past. God knows, if you have to kill someone... However, you do make a big deal about this, and it does then make sense why he doesn't want to take on the job of assassin. However, it makes no sense to me when he's perfectly happy to arrange the guy's assassination as long as it looks like an accident. Either he won't kill in cold blood or he will. The fact other people don't know he did it makes no difference. The logic of that part completely escapes me, have I missed something? (wouldn't be the first time).

Overall it reads well and has an interesting main character, but the pace was too slow for me and I couldn't understand the MC's motivations, both in his loathing for what he'd done in the past and his willingness to repeat it in the future.

Best of luck with it.

regards
mood

Patrick Xavier wrote 1495 days ago

Crisp, compelling page turner.

Wheel42 wrote 1496 days ago

Good tight storyline. The writing is crisp and reads smoothly. Good job.

Randy
Bound By Birth
www.randallwheeler.com

Sly80 wrote 1497 days ago

'Piercing the still air like gunfire', you capture the panic of flight well in the prologue - energy, fear, exhaustion - without unnecessary elaboration. 'Ready to step back into his life', another good hook, setting the question running of why he's 'outside'. 'He had done what he had to', however justified his action, this is a vivid portrait of a man tortured by guilt and self-loathing, and he isn't doing himself any favours with his secrets and his way of life. Now they're asking him to do it again? Ah, sneaky, Wilkinson's idea sounds a great solution. Very authentic-sounding historical detail, Stuart, excellent character building with the tormented Sneijder, and a plot that promises to increase in intensity throughout ... backed.

Possible nits: 'over the forest ... over his shoulder' first 'over' could be 'into'? 'as he moved between two trees' a stronger word, 'as he leapt / sprinted / swerved'? 'barked somewhere out ... voice called out ... voice called out' omit one or more 'out'. There are a lot of sentences beginning with 'The' and feeling 'passive' at the top of chapter 1 ... I'd be tempted to trim this. 'Sneijder went downstairs', as he was asleep, did he have to dress first, or was he sleeping clothed?

Eileen Schuh wrote 1498 days ago

I encourage you, Stuart, to pursue your passion for writing. You are doing very well in the standings and have many fans. I can tell you love your characters and their stories. If your goal is to see your works published, I encourage you to become involved in the writing community. I believe your writing needs some tweaking in order for your characters and their stories to shine.

I, too, am struggling with getting my writing published. Through courses, workshops, writers' groups, reading services, readers, and now, Authonomy, I'm hopefully getting closer to my goal. If not, hey--I love what I'm doing--that has to count for something!

Eileen Schuh, Canadian Author, FIREWALLS

A Knight wrote 1500 days ago

You have managed to capture the desperation and political upheaval of the era without loisng yourself in the details. The short prologue hooks your readers in and hte next chapter delivers the promise of a truly interesting and compelling story.

Backed with pleasure.
Abi xxx
"Everyone knows the rule: Stay inside the Wall, but Tisha believes rules were made to be broken." - Relic

Strayer wrote 1500 days ago

I have nothing to add to the positive comments. I've read a lot about both WWI and WWII. You have managed to get the feel of that time throughout the book. Thank you for writing Heart of the Patriot.

Burgio wrote 1501 days ago

I like WWII stories and, luckily for me, they're very "in" now. This one has an added twist in that it's not so much about war as it about two men locked into a private battle to destroy each other. The romance on top of that is yet another plus. Sneijder is an easy man to which to relate. I like your fast pace writing style. A good read. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

CharlieChuck wrote 1502 days ago

Hello Stuart
I read the first chapter and enjoyed it. Good start, you drew me into the story quickly and effortlessly. Good pace and tension throughout. I've not read much WW2 fiction before, but I assume there's a big market for it. This should do well. Backed
Charlie

scottkenny wrote 1504 days ago

Hi Stuart, saw you on the forum. I'm so glad I didn't live through that period, it seems like a black and white film to me. You capture the place and time extremely well and your characters are believable. The only suggestion I have is to make the last sentence of chapter one more dramatic.(or leave it out)
Backed, Scott.

Bob-e wrote 1504 days ago

Really enjoyed this it was a great read

annaskitchenfr wrote 1504 days ago

Very exciting, really enjoyed this and certainly kept me turning the pages. Backed with pleasure.

Anna
Born on Friday 13th

SteveLB wrote 1504 days ago

HI Stuart,
A very enjoyable read - you have got a good pace and clarity to the writing.
I do hope it does well for you on Authonomy.
All the best,
Steve

DWL wrote 1506 days ago

Great details -- they make for a convincing setting. War/espionage is not normally my leisure reading of choice, but your pacing and clear storytelling kept me going.

Your comment about Sneijder being only24 caught me off guard -- I thought he was older! A testament to your writing, I suppose, that I assumed his age based on his mental state.

Soap wrote 1507 days ago

Nicely descriptive prose - cracking pace. Backed.

hot lips wrote 1509 days ago

This is exciting writing, and the execution very competent and believable. I love the pitch, provided the unlikely love afair can be explained in a convincing mannner, which I'm sure it will be. Backed with pleasure
BADD

klouholmes wrote 1510 days ago

Hi Stuart, Sneijder’s state-of-mind after his imprisonment brought me into this story. He’s not feeling at all heroic and it seems he’s himself even if he’s depressed. Once he gets his call, the taut writing becomes very pressing. The plans are well-depicted and his response, going into a park and knowing he’s being watched. This has a sensitive yet strong style and the premise is exciting, especially when the target is portrayed in Holland. Easily shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

yasmin esack wrote 1510 days ago

well done or should i say expertly done thriller. great opening. you have wrapped this up really well.

dave_ancon wrote 1510 days ago

I love war stories, and you don't disappoint. I'll gladly back this intriguing tale of espionage. It's on my shelf. Dave

Cait wrote 1511 days ago

Heart of the Patriot :

I like stories that bring me back in time and you do a good job drawing me into the scenes.

This reads very well and with a little tightening, it will be an even better read.

A good, entertaining, book, and I will pop it on my shelf.

All the best.

Cáit ~ Muckers ~

Invasive1 wrote 1512 days ago

The story rolls along very nicely, with just the right blend of past and present, explaining what he had to go through and what he has to go through still. The early pages remind me of "Apocalypse Now" with the small room in Saigon, and Marting Sheen getting wasted, but then it gets into the story very well and has it's own identity, of course, and an entirely different era and circumstances. Great writing!








bonalibro wrote 1512 days ago

You do well portraying the tension in this as Johannes is called in for the interview regarding his assignment to kill Albrecht by staging a fatal car accident.

Backed

Tim Chambers
Moonbeam Highway: With Apologies to Miguel de Cervantes.

Ashley Agony wrote 1513 days ago

this is such an interesting story. Your pacing is near flawless, and your plot is strong and keeps my attention. Im excited to see what happens as the story progresses. Awesome writing. Backed for sure :)

Famlavan wrote 1514 days ago

Good, not just a bit good, this is very good, storyline, dialogue, narrative everything

Famlavan – Museum of Old Beliefs

Bill Carrigan wrote 1515 days ago

Greetings Stuart,

Your pitch, prologue, and first chapter--all that I've read so far--are clear, well paced, and suspenseful. This is a thriller in the making, and I'll gladly back it when I finish this note. You might consider, though, whether you need the prologue and whether Chapter 1 is too long for an opening. Chapter 2 could start after [. . . he was out cold]. Perhaps change this slightly or add a line or two that would compel us to read on. And you'll want to fix the following grammatical errors:

--In the phrase [after everything he'd went through], change [went] to [gone].
--In [he'd done what he'd had to do], change the second [he'd] to [he].
--Change [different to what he anticipated] to [different from what he'd expected].
--In [all the alcohol he'd drank], change [drank] to [drunk]. The verb is drink, drank, drunk.
--In [floors were separated off from], delete [off].
--In [Let's hope M15 have], change [have] to [has]. Or change M15 to make it plural, like [the M15s].
--In [M15 are doing their job], change [are] to [is] and [their] to [its] Or again, make M15 plural.

All the best, Bill ("The Doctor of Summitville," "Call Home the Child," and "Annabella and Other Stories")

Raymond Nickford wrote 1515 days ago

Heart of the Patriot:

Sneijder's run through the woodland, in fear of his pursuers, is decribed with real immediacy, a very sharp use of virtually every sense to achieve the reality, as he stumbles and the tension rises.
Again, the setting in 1944 had this same quality of immediacy and the use of selective detail which is gently interwoven so that it enhances rather than distracts from the compelling storyline on which you've started out.
There is something, furtive, underworld, sinister on a large scale and you have not needed any self-conscious attempt to 'grab' the reader with immediate or juvenile gratuitous violence, so that this stands for me as a refreshing contribution towards the Thriller. Backed.
Ray
(A Child from the Wishing Well)

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