Monday, May 9, 2011

Character Monday: Three Characters One Devil in Deal With the Devil

Happy Monday readers! We at Astaea Press hoped that you all had a fabulous Mother's Day yesterday. Today we are pleased to have J Gunna Grey author of Deal with the Devil Part 1 is here talking about the characters in her book.

Wehrmacht Major Faust has a dangerous secret: he likes England. But it’s May 1940 and his Panzers are blasting the British Army off Dunkirk’s beach, so he keeps his mouth shut even though it hurts. When the Waffen SS try to murder their English prisoners of war, Faust helps the POWs escape. Now it’s treason, with his neck on the line.

Three months later, a friend gets him drunk, straps him into a parachute, and throws him out over Oxford during a bombing run. He’s quickly caught. Because he helped type the battle plan for the invasion of England, he cannot allow himself to be broken in interrogation. Two German armies depend on it. But every time he escapes, someone rapes and murders a woman and the English are looking for someone to hang. He’s damned if he stays, risking someone else’s life if he runs, and risking execution by the Gestapo if he makes it home.

Major Stoner, Oxford don turned British intelligence officer, sees three possibilities. Faust perhaps was joyriding in that bomber, as he claims. Or he’s on a reconnaissance mission for the German invasion. Or he’s a spy. Stoner must break Faust to learn the truth, no matter how it strains his old heart. He must save England, and his granddaughter.

Their battlefield is confined to a desktop. Only one of them can win. Someone must break. Someone must make a Deal with the Devil.

In Deal with the Devil, three characters are on a collision course. Two are fighting to break each other. The third waits to one side, unable to intervene and doomed to pick up the pieces. But that doesn’t make her the weakest of the three.

It’s August 1940 and the Battle of Britain is raging. Major Hans-Joachim Faust is a modern German Army officer, educated and intelligent, but not worldly. He can drive a tank, crush enemy resistance, ride a strange horse across country, recite English sixteenth-century poetry from memory--but his understanding of the human heart, including his own, is shaky. Even as his Panzers are blasting the British Expeditionary Force off Dunkirk’s beaches, Faust loves England almost as much as he loves Germany and still he considers the English his friends.

When he’s captured and interrogated, it’s a nightmare beyond any he could imagine. The gentle people he knew before the war are fighting for survival and they’re gentle no longer. Everything is used against him--his friends, his naiveté, his honor, even his dislike of cabbage. If only he could figure out who to believe, who to trust, perhaps he’d have a chance of surviving this disaster. But before he understand his English captors and interrogator, he must first understand himself.

Major Cedric Stoner of British Military Intelligence is an old-school reserve officer. An Oxford don for forty years, he tutored and lectured in English poetry at Magdalen College, alongside C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the other Inklings. (Yes, they get a mention.) He also commanded a battalion in the First World War, was injured and captured by the Kaiser’s army, and understands in his bones how to manipulate, confuse, and break a prisoner of war.

But Stoner has spent his career building up students, not destroying them. It’s an awful conflict and it runs deep, putting a strain on his aging heart. If only he could put aside the habits of a lifetime of teaching, then perhaps the bitter taste from this dishonorable task wouldn’t seem so overwhelming. But two German armies are poised on the French beaches, waiting to invade England. Breaking Faust could make the difference between victory and crushing defeat.

His granddaughter, Jennifer Stoner, worries over the possible German invasion and grieves for her younger sister, the first victim of a brutal serial killer. There must be some way to stop the Germans, short of her beloved grandfather destroying himself trying to break that man Faust. And there must be some way to catch the animal who murdered Harriet, who kills again every time Faust escapes.

If she could get her hands on the murderer, she’d make him pay. All she needs is someone to hold him down and she’ll finish the job.

Part one of Deal with the Devil is available now. The endgame in part two is coming from Astraea Press in June.

Criminey! That does not sound like one of our usual sweets. In case anyone hasn't noticed Astraea is more than just romance and kissing. We have an eclectic mix of authors and the list just keeps growing. Check out J Gunnar's Deal with the Devil and stay tuned for Part 2.


  1. Even if you're not a student of WWII this is a must read. The suspense in incredible

  2. Always impressed by Gunnar!!!

  3. The details are so rich! Love it!! I can see Oxford's stone buildings and feel the warmth of the sunshine... wonderful.

  4. on my list next .... look forward to reading it ....