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Book Review: Pegasus Falling by William E. Thomas

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Pegasus Falling, the first volume of The Cypress Branches Trilogy by William E. Thomas , is the semi-autobiographical novel of the author who served as a British paratrooper in World War II. Mr. Thomas’ book was self published shortly before his untimely death. His grandson, Mike who is a copy-editor and proofreader, republished the book in three parts.

Pegasus Falling is part one.

Captain Stanley Adam Malcom Parker, known as Sammy (S.A.M. Parker), is a British captain in the Parachute Regiment during World War II. During Operation Market he was captured but after attacking an SS officer, was sent to spend the rest of the war in a concentration camp. The same impulsiveness which has gotten him to the camp also helped him to survive.

Naomi is a beautiful Jewess who has lost all her family to the gas chambers and is now used as a concubine of the Nazi commander. Sammy and Naomi help keep each other alive during the horrors in the camp, but are separated once they are liberated. Sammy, whose anger knows no bounds, gets introduced to the privileged diplomat Lesley Anne “Carrie” Carrington who is a beautiful, no-nonsense lady. Carrie and Sammy find their way into Palestine, serving their country while trying work their way out of the horrors they have witnessed.

Pegasus Falling is an amazing and emotional journey throughout World War II and the aftermath. The observations made by Mr. Thomas are incredibly accurate and stand the test of time: he makes intelligent, thoughtful and remarkably astute observations about the way the superpowers have divided the spoils amongst them; the orderly transition of world power from England to America; and the redrawing of the world’s borders.

No country or people come out ahead in Mr. Thomas’ eyes. Each one has its virtues and their faults. Each one is conniving out of circumstance and political philosophy while being played around by other powers. The Jewish organizations are players as much as they are being secretly manipulated, so are the Arabs and the European countries, winners and losers.

This is an intriguing story, gripping from the first page to the last and full of sorrow, happiness, kindness and heartbreak. The book shows the cruelty as humanity as they make other human beings suffer but in sharp contrast to the resilience of the race.

As any soldier knows, the war does not end on the battlefield, and Mr. Thomas, a veteran, clearly hammers that point home in his narrative. Sammy Parker, the protagonist, suffers throughout his life from events which happened to him during the war and keeps battling his inner demons and going over hurdles which never seem to stop being tossed at him.

Maybe because of my history and/or my upbringing, this book really touched me. I grew up near the area where much of the story took place (even though I was not familiar with the specific places) and my military background also evokes memories. It is obvious that writing Pegasus Falling was a labor of love for Mr. Thomas, whose experiences jump out of the page, and his family is very proud of his efforts.

The characterization is fantastic, the people in the novel feel real, warm, and flawed. This is an extraordinary vivid novel which combines love and history while not shying away from politics.

I am looking forward to reading the other parts of the trilogy.

  • 348 pages
  • Publisher: Acute Angle books (March 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956229913

Related Reads:
Auschwitz by Dr. Miklós Nyiszli
Displaced Persons by Ghita Schwarz

Gated Grief by Leila Levinson

Shadows Walking by Douglas R. Skopp

The Polski Affair by Leon H. Gildin

Buy this book in paper or electronic (Kindle) format


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