As World War II rages on, an international team of brilliant scientists is developing a top-secret bomb in the lab at Los Alamos. Among them is Dr. Hannah Weiss, a gifted Jewish physicist who fled Berlin to escape Nazi persecution. Major Jack Delaney, an intelligence agent sent to Los Alamos to catch a spy, has set his sights on Hannah: he believes her correspondence with her colleagues back home may contain vital nuclear information. Screenwriter and director Jan Eliasberg unravels Hannah's complicated story in the compelling debut novel, Hannah's War.
Eliasberg's narrative begins with Hannah, chained in an American prison transport, en route from Los Alamos to Fort Leavenworth for interrogation. After setting the scene at Los Alamos and introducing readers to Jack, Hannah and their colleagues, Eliasberg takes readers back to Hannah's girlhood. Diligent and gifted, she becomes a physicist at a prestigious institute in Berlin, but is often overlooked by her colleagues since she is female and Jewish. Her work attracts the notice of Stefan Frei, a talented but lazy physicist and the son of the institute's director. Together, Hannah and Stefan pursue a series of experiments that lead them ever closer to splitting the atom--only to have their work interrupted when Hannah must flee.
The true strength of this novel lies not only in its vivid characters and fast-paced narrative--though both of those elements are notable--but goes deeper by forcing its protagonists to reckon with complex questions of political allegiance, personal loyalty, vocation and love. Inspired by true events, Hannah's War is a stunning story of a brilliant woman fighting her own war on several fronts. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams