Author and alumnus Dr Irvine Eidelman shares a special bond with Richard Underberg, the main character of his debut e-book. Both are practising psychiatrists. But the fictional Underberg's career is curtailed by a dicky heart, resulting in a 'medical sabbatical'. He's drawn out of semi-retirement by a World War Two veteran who has disturbing flashbacks to D-Day on 6 June 1944, when the Allied assault on Hitler's 'Fortress Europe' began.
A participant in of the strategic strike on the Caen Canal and Caen River bridges in France, the former soldier is unable to recall the 'lost hours', the critical sequence of events after landing in a flimsy glider - one of three - to take the bridges.
Inexplicably drawn in by his story, Underberg turns amateur sleuth, visiting the battle sites in an attempt to piece together history and occurrences. In France, serendipity weaves its way between events and meetings and Underberg begins to uncover the truth - and troubling elements of his own past. Blending fact and fiction, Eidelman's story recreates the historical details of the war's turning point. "I tried to keep the novel as credible as I could against the historic background," he says.
He toured the beaches of Normandy as well as the vast cemeteries - and the harrowingly narrow glider landing sites targeted for the assault on the bridges to secure them for advancing Allied forces.
"I wanted to give readers an appreciation of an aspect of D-Day; its planning, scale, heroism and its traumas, as well as other traumas individuals can have and how they seek resolution - and, that resolution can take place."
Story by Helen Swingler
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