The Sound of Light

Written by Sarah Sundin
Review by Valerie Adolph

Most of this novel takes place in German-occupied Denmark in 1943. For the first years of the war, the Germans have not displayed cruelty to the Danes, as with other occupied countries, but this leniency is about to end.

The main characters, an unlikely pair, are Dr. Else Jensen, a young physicist working with Dr Niels Bohr, and playboy Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt, aka shipyard worker Hemming Andersen, who becomes known as the Havmand (merman) who secretly rows across the strait to Sweden with clandestine information valuable to the Allies. Else meets Henrik at their boardinghouse in Copenhagen.

Neither knows the other is working for the Danish resistance, Else printing copies of an underground newspaper while Henrik becomes a hero in his countrymen’s eyes for his work. As they understand each other better, romance blossoms. But when the Germans suddenly turn against the Jewish people of Denmark, it becomes necessary to organize the escape of thousands to safety in Sweden. Henrik and Else are separated as they work on the logistics of this migration.

This is one of the most thoughtful, yet dramatic, novels set in WW2-occupied territory. The combination of early research into nuclear fission with the mystique of the Havmand traveling across the stormy strait is developed with sensitivity. Research into both areas is comprehensive and adds to the novel’s credibility and immediacy.

This story will appeal to both those who are familiar with Sundin’s wartime romance novels and to those who appreciate immersing themselves in an exciting, true-to-life tale. The linking of a nuclear physicist with the mythical Havmand—the strong, brave, masculine equivalent of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid—makes this a unique and engaging read.