The Last Citadel
Sixty years ago around the Russian city of Kursk, history’s largest and most brutal battle was taking place. Two million soldiers and thousands of planes, tanks, and other vehicles all came together in an orgy of bloodletting that will likely, hopefully, never be seen again. This battle, more than any other in the war, was the turning point against the Nazis. This was where the Soviets turned the tide and went on the offensive. It was the beginning of the end for Germany.
This is Robbins at his best: superior character development, impeccable attention to detail, and a series of tightly woven plots that all pull together like purse strings at the end. The ability to view the individual battles through the eyes of those involved, while still maintaining the cohesion of the overall campaign, is a hallmark of this fine writer. The story rolls along at the brisk pace of the Russian T-34 tanks, while delivering the awesome punch of the German Tigers. The true gem of this novel is Robbins’ choice of central characters: not your run-of-the-mill soldiers, but a Spanish bullfighter in SS uniform, a father/son tank crew, a female pilot, and a high ranking SS colonel who just happens to be a top Soviet spy. It doesn’t get better than this.