CATALOG :: Never on These Shores


Never on These Shores
by Stephen R. Pastore

An epic novel of the Nazi and Japanese invasion of the United States of America

F r o m   t h e   N o v e l :
The rising sun cast long beams of golden light through the clouds over the bay. A heavy mist rose above the water penetrated by the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. Waves lapped at the iron abutments and seagulls tipped their wings into the light morning breeze. They scattered quickly as the drone of airplanes echoed across the bay and the sun glinted off the polished aluminum of Japanese Zeros, the dreaded phalanx of the invasion of the United States by the Empire of Japan.

Within moments, the cloud enveloping the bridge’s roadway at its highest point between the two towers was broken by the chrome grill of a green Packard convertible. The highly polished metal of the Packard glistened, reflecting the morning sun, low above the Oakland hills. Only after staring intently could one see the round head of the Japanese general sitting triumphantly in the car. Behind the convertible, several thousand troops in drab brown uniforms flanked tanks and troop carriers. They goose-stepped with iron-edged precision. The army of the Empire of Japan revealed itself over the crest of the Golden Gate as a huge python might slither over a boulder to bask in the noon light and patiently wait to devour any living thing that crossed its path. As the entourage neared, all American eyes were on General Tamiko Yashita’s face. The Mayor stopped clearing his throat and noticed that his tongue had turned to cotton. It was the right thing to do, he hoped fervently, to surrender this city he loved so much. Peaceful surrender had to be preferable to destruction and carnage.

Review from Los Angeles Times online:

Nazis in the Heartland
by Jill Abrams, AP

I was never much of a fan of “what if” novels although there have been quite a few over the years that were intriguing such as Robert Harris’s, Fatherland. Stephen Pastore’s book, Never on These Shores, has gone a long way toward changing my mind, however.  The premise is that in 1942, Hitler has decided not to invade the Soviet Union and to focus entirely on Great Britain.  Clearly, historians have long agreed that if Hitler had made any mistakes, this was the fatal one, at least for the Nazis.

Pastore has German forces landing in Mexico and invading the U.S. through Texas, along with the Japanese coming in through Canada to conquer the West Coast and the Italians through Cuba into Florida. Now, if all this seems a bit far-fetched, it might be.  But Pastore has you convinced within 20 pages or so that not only could it have happened, it would have happened just the way he says. I found myself unable to stop reading this book not because it is my job to read books, but because I simply could not help myself. There are a lot of characters and the action slingshots from city to city, state to state like a helicopter with a missing blade, bouncing all over the place and taking you with it.  But somehow he never leaves the reader behind and it is Mr. Pastore’s gift of being a good, perhaps a great, storyteller that keeps you hooked and most importantly caring about his characters. More important than this, he leaves you caring about the good ole USA, something in short supply these days. While it is true that the underdogs of American society, the elderly, women, blacks and gay folk are the heroes, Pastore has no agenda. He pleads no cause other than it is good to be an American and it might even be worth dying for it.  I can’t remember a recent book that made me care so much about my country.

The book leaves you wanting more and I have it on some authority that there is more in the offing.  This writer’s talents seem abundantly evident and there is some speculation, I imagine, that will come out of this novel that Pastore is headed to fill the shoes of such writers as Herman Wouk and James Michener. I do not make such claims lightly. I state them more like a “what if” this is the next great novelist on the scene. Aren’t I lucky that I read him when no one knew who he was. It is a rare treat, indeed, these days to be excited about a book. I have been so treated.

Stephen R. Pastore.  Never on These Shores.  New York: Cohort Press (2007). Cloth, $24.95

Review from Boston Journal News online

A new maga-thriller is on the scene this summer and it promises to be a block-buster. Stephen Pastore's Never on These Shores is as good a summer book as anyone could want unless they want one longer and it seems this is only the beginning of an epic series of books by this relative newcomer. We searched internet records for the author and it turns out he is a bibliographer so, after some thoughtful analysis, it seems no wonder that the details of the world he creates in this book are so authentic. It is the best "what if" book I've ever read and I've read a bunch. The premise (an Axis invasion of the American homeland in 1942) is so compelling, we are at a loss to tell you why someone has not done it before. This book is one of those page-turners one should not take to the restroom unless you're planning on staying in there all day. And don't read before going to bed, because you'll be up all night. It is THAT good. Admittedly, there are a great many characters and sometimes I felt like I needed a scorecard to keep them all straight, but this book whizbangs all over the place and takes you for the ride of your life. I rarely pass a book on to other reviewers who ordinaily have their hands full, but this one is making the office rounds. It is not great literature, although sometimes you think Pastore verges on greatness, but it is a great read. More, please, Mr. Pastore. More!

Jerry VanZandt, Senior Reviewer