Have you ever read a book that not only captured your attention but took such a hold on you that you felt physically compelled to read it? That's how I felt reading OPERATION: Montauk by Bryan Young.
Rather than attempt to try and summarize the story, I think I'll let the author himself provide the synopsis:
"Operation: Montauk" is a time-traveling science fiction novel patterned after the pulp-adventure stories of the 1920s and 1930s.
Lost in time after a failed attempt to kill Hitler before his rise to power, World War II soldier Cpl. Jack Mallory finds himself stranded, his whole team killed, nearly 100 Million years off course. Together with a group of other wayward time travelers, Mallory has to fight to survive in a hostile environment swarming with dinosaurs. Things go from bad to worse for the group when a squad of Nazis sent back in time to protect the Fuhrer find themselves caught in the same temporal anomaly."
I've read other stories by Young, such as Lost at the Con and The Whiskey Doctor and other stories about the new Great Depression, and I have enjoyed his work immensely, but I was not prepared for this.
The book grabbed me from its opening words. I was thrust so quickly into the story that I felt like Cpl. Mallory trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I didn't even realize I was holding my breath until a word appeared. A word that never fails to cause a reaction from me - dinosaur. Like Mallory, time froze for me. At that moment, I let out my breath and unlike Mallory, started to grin like an idiot. What can I say? Time travel and dinosaurs make me happy.
From then on, the rest of the story moves quickly as Mallory and the other time travelers fight to survive and find a way home. There's a little bit for everyone - action, romance, drama, comedy... Oh! And Nazis. Let's not forget about the Nazis. They make everything more difficult (as Nazis tend to do.)
I could not put this book down, only my need to sleep and work prevented me from finishing this in one sitting. The pace was lightening quick, the action was thrilling, and even the quieter and slower moments were filled with this tension that left me dying to know what was going to happen next. Unlike other books I've read, I was genuinely surprised by the twists, and because of that as well as my emotional attachment to the characters, when certain things happened I found myself exclaiming out loud and once again forgetting to breathe.
Does it sound like I'm gushing? I might be; I'm not sure, but if I am, it's only because it has been a very long time since I have been this enthusiastic about a book. I've read great stories, but none of them had me on the edge of my seat or gave me the urge to reenact scenes with my action figures quite like this. I wonder if I should be admitting that? Then again, if anyone is going to understand, it's you, [IGH] readers. I think that's part of why this story appeals to me as much as it does. It appeals to both my adult and my ten year old sides. Another reason is because I want to share OPERATION: Montauk with my nephew, and since I am an overprotective and possibly slightly snobbish aunt (when geekery is involved), that's probably the highest praise I could give. I want to read this with my nephew then recreate his favorites scenes with his dinosaurs, army men, and possibly his LEGO mini-figs.
So to sum up, is this book a must-read? Yes. Emphatically so.
Why? Aside from it being a well written, interesting, fun book that will take you on a crazy roller coaster of a ride? Okay. Four words: Time travel, dinosaurs, Nazis. 'Nuff said.
Pre-ordering for OPERATION: Montauk is now available. You can do so here.
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