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The story of Arthur DeVendt, born in 1927, proves that even though war, political and economic turmoil adversely impacted his future, by maintaining his honor, dogged persistence, and ability to adjust to changing conditions he manages to succeed. Seventeen-year-old Arthur, the son of a Hungarian army officer, of French extraction finds himself orphaned in a refugee camp of postwar Germany.
Once inside, the major led Arthur upstairs to a sumptuous bedroom with paintings of respectable-looking uniformed people and big-busted ladies. He also had a bathroom with mirrors and marble floors all to himself.
“Nice place,” Arthur said. “Are there any ghosts in here?”
“I did not meet any.” The major waited until Arthur had freshened up. “Come with me, Roger,” he said.
Bronson led Arthur next door. This room was the combination of a dentist’s office and a barbershop. Two white-jacketed men were placing some instruments on a tray.
“This is where we are going to turn you into Major Roger Whitman,” Bronson declared.
“What are you going to do to me?” Arthur asked.
“Don’t worry, Roger, we are not going to hurt you too much. Fred here is going to take a plaster cast of your teeth and make cheek augmentation prosthetics for you. It will change your face radically and disguise your voice somewhat. It is not going to hurt at all. The insert will fit like dentures over your own teeth. In the evenings, you should take them out and soak them in a disinfectant overnight. Sit down and let Fred do his thing.”
Like a sacrificial lamb, Arthur took his place in the dentist’s chair, and Fred started working. It was not a pleasant experience, but within an hour, the technician had finished his work.
“By tomorrow morning, I’ll have the prosthetics ready for you, sir.”
“You’ll look like a movie star, Roger. You will have the all-American square jaw,” Bronson said. “Gary will die your hair and mustache. He will teach you how to touch it up every morning.”
“Don’t get up, sir,” Gary said. He rolled Arthur with the dentist’s chair to the mirror, where Arthur suddenly thought he was in a barbershop. Just like a master barber, Gary put the white cover over Arthur’s uniform, and like all barbers, he started chattering. “You have enough hair, sir, but if you want to improve your disguise, you must let it grow longer. I am going to dye it blond and tomorrow I will show you how to touch it up. You must do it every morning.”
He smeared some unscented liquid on Arthur’s hair, massaged his scalp, and immediately covered his head with a white cloth.
“Now we shall wait a few minutes, sir, then tint your mustache the same color. Just relax, sir, it won’t be long.”
He removed the cloth, and Arthur realized that the change of his hair color had drastically altered his appearance.
“Now, we start on your facial hair,” Gary said. Using a cotton pad, Gary smeared some liquid onto Arthur’s mustache and then with short, deliberate strokes of a cotton ball, leaving yellowish blond streaks on his dark brown mustache, he continued the operation.
“This is a hydrogen peroxide solution, sir. I will give you a couple of bottles and label them as rubbing alcohol for your injured leg.”
“What are you going to do to my leg?” Arthur asked.
Bronson joined to the conversation. “Nothing special,” he said. “We are going to tattoo an old scar on your left knee. Capitalizing on that, I’ll ask you to limp.”
“That is going to be difficult. I don’t know how to limp consistently. Besides, what happens if I forget?” Arthur asked.
“You will not, because the moment you become operational, we’ll change the heels of all your right shoes. It will be about half an inch higher than the left. Whether you like it or not, you are going to limp.”
“Now go back to your room and don’t come out no matter what happens. This is an order.”
“Respectfully, sir, what should I do if the house were on fire?”
“Wait until I come and let you out. Dismissed, Captain!”
Arthur stood up, saluted, and marched out. At the entrance to his room, he noticed two hefty MPs standing guard by the entrance. They saluted and opened the door.
Born in Hungary in 1932, a cadet at the elite military school of Nagykaroly during World War II, Gabriel Timar studied civil engineering at the Budapest University. Taking active part in the 1956 revolution, he decided to defect to the West. In the United Kingdom he worked as a structural designer. Ten months later he immigrated to Canada and worked as an engineer. After seven years, he got his first contract in Asia. For the next twenty-odd years he worked in Africa, Asia and the South Pacific as a consulting engineer, chief executive officer, United Nations environmental engineering advisor and finally as a professor.
In 1982 he married, returned to Canada with his Hungarian wife, and taught environmental engineering at Seneca College in Toronto. In 1994 he retired as the Chair of the School of Civil and Resources Engineering Technology. All his life he enjoyed writing novels, articles, and plays both in English and Hungarian. From 1997 he regularly contributed articles to Kanadai Magyarság, the largest North American Hungarian language weekly under the pseudonym Gabor Bendeguz. In 2000, his novel A Bardán kapcsolat was nominated for the Zsoldos award, recognizing the year's best Hungarian sci-fi. In 2004, his novel Hades Connection, another sci-fi was published in the USA. In 2005, Helikon Kiadó launched his historical novel, Hősök vagy bűnösök in Budapest. In 2006, Assassins' Club, a thriller was published in the USA, and Menni vagy maradni in Hungary by Kairosz Kiadó. In 2007, his latest Hungarian language novel, A fegyverek árnyékában was published by Püski Kiadó. An adventure story, Air Mogadishu, published in July 2008, and another sci-fi, Novgorod diary reached the North American market a month later. The Stop the war was published in April 2009.
He also wrote several manuals and college textbooks published by the Province of Ontario, Seneca College, United Nations and the University of Malawi. Occasionally, he accepts consulting engineering assignments.
I’ve met this multi-published author before, but Gabriel Timar’s book, Aura Of War is so flawless with its convoluted espionage details that I couldn’t put it down. The life history of Baron Arthur DeVendt’s military career is an above average read. It is so real, so believable, that I could have sworn this writer was telling his own life’s experience. Yes, it is that good. If you doubt me, read it yourself. Not only is this book a keeper, but I rate it a 5+. You’ll not find a single plot glitch, or unexpected snag within the fabric of this story. It’s the history of one man’s military accomplishments, in a war that tears his family, and homeland of Hungary asunder.
When WWII begins in Germany, Baron Arthur DeVendt is only a school boy, yet he comes from a military background, and so, is determined to find a way to serve his country. Yet, in keeping with his plans to become an International Businessman when he grows up, he also prepares himself by becoming an accomplished linguist.
While serving as a cadet in the Royal Hungarian Army, he is employed for his linguistic talents, as well as by the French Foreign Legion…then eventually as an underground leader of Saboteurs, with many men under his command.
When he finds the Lady who wins his heart, he is in no position to even tell her who he really is. Yet, he knows he wishes to marry her, no matter what. This is his straw of hope throughout his years operating as a spy, until one day his team is compromised. Then he must make his own decisions how to save his operatives, as well as himself. -- JoEllen Conger, Conger Book Reviews, 5+
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 387
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