Flame of Resistance
American pilot Tom Jaeger is shot down over France in 1944. Because he personifies the ideal Aryan, the French Resistance recruits him to pose as a Dutch-born German officer. He is assigned to regularly visit a Germans-only brothel, to retrieve intelligence needed for the upcoming Allied invasion. His contact is Brigitte Durand, who is not well-disposed towards Americans. If America had joined the war sooner, her boyfriend might not have died, and she might not have been forced by starvation into a profession that causes the townspeople to regard her with scorn. Tom experiences culture shock in occupied France, especially when his German uniform produces continuous fear among the locals. Then when another girl from the brothel throws suspicion on Tom and he is arrested, Brigitte realizes she loves him. Can she help the Resistance save Tom before he is tortured to death?
Flame uses the Biblical story of Rahab, the harlot who helped Joshua’s forces conquer Jericho, as a framework. Prostitutes and torture are uncommon themes in Christian historical fiction, but Groot handles them deftly without getting graphic. The religious element is more covert than overt, coming out subtly in scenes such as a group of food-deprived French obtaining a small wedge of real cheese, and sharing it out in a communion-like ritual. The characters are rich and well-rounded: not all Germans are evil, nor are Resistance members necessarily saintly. I had a bit of a problem keeping some characters straight, however. Resistance members naturally used multiple names, so a list of aliases would have helped.
Groot continues producing superior Christian fiction (such as Madman) that consistently avoids stock characters and clichéd situations. Fans of mainstream World War II fiction will love it, as will the inspirational market. Highly recommended.