A military adventure based on the legend that German General Erwin Rommel, “The Desert Fox” of WWII fame, visited Brice’s Crossroads and Shiloh. The genesis for this novel was a lecture at the Jackson (MS) Civil War Roundtable, by a retired army officer who claimed to have been Rommel’s guide.
PLOT: In 1937 Erwin Rommel tours Civil War battlefields and studies the tactics of Confederate cavalry general Nathan Bedford Forrest. His guide and interpreter is Lt. Max Speigner, U.S. Army, War Dept, G-2. In 1941 when Rommel’s panzers are pounding the British army in North Africa, Speigner is assigned to British military intelligence in Cairo and launches a desperate duel of wits with the Desert Fox.
PRAISE FOR ROMMEL AND THE REBEL
“Lawrence Wells, taking off from a 1937 newspaper clipping about a visit by five German military dignitaries to Mississippi and the battlefield of Brices Crossroads, improves on history by supposing that Erwin Rommel, incognito, was one of the five….Rommel’s audacity and poise, his uncanny Finger-spitzengefuhl, seemed familiar from the story of another great soldier, the Confederate cavalryman, Nathan Bedford Forrest….Rommel and the Rebel is not only highly imaginative but also deeply imagined, for its strong hold on strength itself, for its sense of ‘the other’ without which the sense of self turns mushy. And it pictures with utterly idiomatic authority a great novelist–Faulkner, who was keenly aware of Nathan Bedford Forrest.”
⎯The National Review
“Wonderful stuff…the excellence of the book as a whole signals the arrival of a major talent…one of the literary events of the season, a debut that could not have been carried off with more finesse.”
⎯Washington Times Magazine
“I spent the weekend reading Rommel and the Rebel, cursing myself for not having and admire the execution. It humanizes Rommel. Mr. Wells has a wonderful humor. He also seems master of facts. I had the sense of someone thoroughly familiar with two widely separated wars. He is also clever at creating the mood of a period by unobtrusively inserting the labels of the contemporary culture, so that I had the sense of glimpsing actual streets, neighborhood, battle scenes, and of hearing the sounds and language of the times…”
⎯William Stevenson, author of A Man Called Intrepid
“It has been a long time since I’ve come across such an utterly delightful book. Actually, Rommel and the Rebel isn’t a book; it’s an act of sorcery. Lawrence Wells has the knack of making the fantastical not only believable but inevitable, while conjuring up scene after scene that you can see, hear, touch, taste and feel. Don’t mistake this for a stunt or a one-idea book. It’s great fun, a tour de force. It’s also damned fine writing.”
⎯George Leonard, author of The Way of Akido