The Commissar by Sven Hassel

I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover but come on this one consists of a Nazi fighting a very big angry eagle on top of a mountain with another coming in for a bit more action. If that doesn’t get you interested in a book i just don’t know what will.

The book involves a rag tag group of German prison/soldiers who are deluded about the war and just don’t really care anymore when they come across one of the biggest secrets of the Russian war. The Commissar had hidden 30 million dollars of soviet gold behind Russian lines. They are willing to do anything to get their hands on it including going behind enemy lines, to kill, to cheat, to lie but mainly steal. They broker a deal with the Commissar that they will help him get the gold out for a sizeable share and free passage for the Russian and his men.

I knew nothing about Sven Hassel so checked out a few websites. This is what it said on Amazon:

Born in 1917 in Fredensborg, Denmark, Sven Hassel joined the merchant navy at the age of 14. He did his compulsory year’s military service in the Danish forces in 1936 and then, facing unemployment, joined the German army. He served throughout World War II on all fronts except North Africa. Wounded eight times, he ended the war in a Russian prison camp. He wrote Legion of the Damned while being transferred between American, British and Danish prisons before making a new life for himself in Spain.

But i suggest you take a look at his Wikipedia also as it seems there is quite a bit of critisicsm for Sven and his books: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sven_Hassel

That aside i had to say i enjoyed this book imensely as it reminded me of old western and wwII movies especially your Kellly’s Heroes and the like. if you don’t take it for more than it is which is fun tale based around the absurditys and desperation of war. My only real gripe about the book was that the eagles in the book arn’t massively giant like on the front cover but seem to be normal size.

6.5/10

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