“This one poses a fascinating question — could World War II have been avoided?  The answer is going to shock you. Sins of the Fathers is a masterful blend of fact and fiction and will have you thinking about it long after the last page is read.”  

— Steve Berry, NYT Bestselling Author

“An explosive ending as gut-wrenching as it is shocking. If this were a boxing match, it’s the punch you didn’t see coming.”

— Stephen H. Foreman, Novelist and Screenwriter

Even in modern times, high treason isn’t something to be taken lightly, but what if it could have saved millions of lives? What if, by assassinating Adolf Hitler, utter devastation on a global scale could be prevented? How different would things have been if the Führer had succumbed before he had Germany brainwashed into thinking war was the only way to regain national pride? These are the questions that are explored in Sins of the Fathers (Skyhorse) by Herbert J. Stern and Alan A. Winter, the exciting sequel to Wolf.


When Sins of the Fathers was offered to me to read and review, I jumped at the chance, because the book revolved around a specific event I don’t recall ever having heard about — the assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler in 1938 by a group of courageous Germans in the “inner-circle.” I am aware of the Munich Pact with Hitler, which Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed, which basically sold-out Czechoslovakia to Germany. I recall the quote from a letter Winston Churchill wrote to Lloyd George just before the Munich Conference, stating: “I think we shall have to choose in the next few weeks between war and shame, and I have very little doubt what the decision will be.” But somehow, I don’t remember this particular underground movement and its attempts at a coup or how Chamberlain threw a wrench in the works. 

In other words, this was an exciting novel I simply couldn’t put down! From the action-packed opening chapter, set in Munich in 1936, readers are in for a nail-biting journey where history and fiction blend almost seamlessly. 

We follow a character named Friedrich Richardson, an unidentified amnesiac who was given the name of a dead soldier. In this psychiatric hospital, Friedrich befriends Adolf Hitler, who is being treated for hysterical blindness. Consequently, he becomes an SS general and trusted friend of the Führer. However, when Friedrich realizes the ultimate goal of the Nazi regime and how the Jews are being mistreated, he becomes disillusioned with the movement and sets out, along with other conspirators, to put an end to Hitler’s life. The question is: will they succeed?


As an avid history reader since childhood, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, I have long since learned which periods truly fascinate me. The Wars of the Roses, for example, is intricate enough to keep me entertained for long periods of time. The same goes for anything about the Celtic Queen, Boudica, the Anglo-Scottish wars and the Anglo-Boer wars. That being said, nothing comes close to my obsession with the lead-up to and covering of WWII. With all the players involved, the psychology behind those who perpetuated true horrors against their fellow man, the sometimes illogical reasonings as to why it even went that far, WWII remains an interesting exploration of the human condition.

Although Sins of the Fathers is a historical fiction novel for the most part, there are a lot of factual points the tale draws inspiration from. Interestingly enough, though, it’s how the authors (whether intentionally or not) subtly captured the essence of Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s psychology theory, Logotherapy, where the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. Friedrich is an already complex character with the mystery surrounding his identity and his natural understanding of moral integrity but this quest for “meaning in life” adds an extra layer to the characterization that I truly admire.

Sins of the Fathers is a tour de force in its masterful research and exceptional writing. Passion drips from the pages as, I like to think, the authors hoped this book would somehow rewrite history. Of course, however hard we wish, writers don’t wield such magic … yet.

Related Posts:

Journalist Recruited to Stop Hitler’s A-Bomb in “The Armageddon Secret”

It’s Negotiator vs. Nazis in this International Thriller

Warner’s World War II Drama Is an Epic, White-Knuckle Ride

Buy this book!

About Herbert J. Stern:

Herbert J. Stern, formerly US attorney for the District of New Jersey, who prosecuted the mayors of Newark, Jersey City and Atlantic City, and served as judge of the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, is a trial lawyer. He also served as judge of the United States Court for Berlin where he presided over a hijacking trial in the occupied American Sector of West Berlin. His book about the case, Judgment in Berlin, won the 1974 Freedom Foundation Award and became a film starring Martin Sheen and Sean Penn. He also wrote Diary of a DA: The True Story of the Prosecutor Who Took on the Mob, Fought Corruption, and Won, as well as the multi-volume legal work Trying Cases to Win.

Alan A. Winter is the author of four novels, including Island Bluffs, Snowflakes in the Sahara, Someone Else’s Son, and Savior’s Day, which Kirkus selected as a Best Book of 2013. Winter graduated from Rutgers with a degree in history and has professional degrees from both New York University and Columbia, where he was an associate professor for many years. He edited an award-winning journal and has published more than twenty professional articles. Alan studied creative writing at Columbia’s Graduate School of General Studies. His screenplay, Polly, received honorable mention in the Austin Film Festival, and became the basis for Island Bluffs.