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“Riveting and poignant . . . The Winter Fortress metamorphoses from engrossing history into a smashing thriller . . . Mr. Bascomb’s research and, especially, his storytelling skills are first-rate.”—The Wall Street Journal “Weaving together his typically intense research and a riveting narrative, Neal Bascomb’s The Winter Fortress is a spellbinding piece of historical writing.” — Martin Dugard, author of Into Africa and co-author of the Killing series In 1942, the Nazis were racing to complete the first atomic bomb. All they needed was a single, incredibly rare ingredient: heavy water, which was produced solely at Norway’s Vemork plant. Under threat of death, Vemork’s engineers pushed production into overdrive. If the Allies could not destroy the plant, they feared the Nazis would soon be in possession of the most dangerous weapon the world had ever seen. But how would the Allied forces reach the castle fortress, set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on earth? Based on a trove of top-secret documents and never-before-seen diaries and letters of the saboteurs, The Winter Fortress is an arresting chronicle of a brilliant scientist, a band of spies on skis, perilous survival in the wild, Gestapo manhunts, and a last-minute operation that would alter the course of the war. “A taut and peerlessly told adventure story full of thrills, derring-do and heart-stopping tension.” — Seattle Times “Told with both historical and scientific accuracy . . . this book has rocketed into my pantheon of the top suspense-filled stories about [World War II], along with The 900 Days and The Colditz Story.” — Ethan Siegel, Forbes
In May 1941, the Norwegian Section of SOE received a dossier warning of the dangers of a hydroelectric fertiliser plant in Norway. Vemork produced heavy water, an essential part of making plutonium for nuclear weapons. When the Germans overran Norway the entire stock had been smuggled out of the country, but the plant was intact and soon producing heavy water again, destined for the German nuclear programme. Despite the difficulties of getting to and operating in such a remote, hostile area, SOE decided it had to destroy the plant. Six ski-borne commandos had the task of slipping past 300 heavily armed guards and passing through a ravine the Germans thought impassable. Fully illustrated with stunning new commissioned artwork, this is the thrilling story of the daring Norwegian-led SOE raid that prevented Hitler from building an atomic bomb.

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