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Book Review: Operation Archangel

Operation Archangel (The Scouts of St. Michael)Dan Morales. San Antonio, Texas: Elm Grove Publishing, May 22, 2018, Hardcover and Trade Paperback, 339 pages.

Reviewed by Roger Prosise.

Operation Archangel is a compelling and intriguing young adult novel. Set in England during World War II, it is the story of how six Boy Scouts prepared for and engaged in combat during the Second World War.

The plot is intriguing, the characters are well developed, and the scenes are authentic.  The six boys from St. Michael’s Boys Home, all sixteen and younger, prepare for and eventually engage in battle, including shooting down one of Hitler’s top pilots during an air raid. Though the boys were treated like regular troops, they were, in fact, heroes. The training was strenuous but the boys thrived. 

The story of the Boy Scouts engagement in combat doesn’t end with shooting down a dive-bomber; the boys are also given the dangerous mission of capturing Thomas Peter Heydrich, a senior leader in the Hitler Youth and a godson of Hitler.

In preparation for their mission, the boys learn to how to stay alive in a knife fight, what pressure points to attack in a fist-fight, and how to jump out of an airplane. These ventures were authentic and kept the story moving. The young boys distinguish themselves during their training at Parachute School, jumping out of an airplane with parachutes—all except their fearless leader, Reggie.

The young boys struggle with the Biblical commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” and through their mission as soldiers in England’s army. Tremendous growth transpires throughout the novel. In the beginning, the six boys request to be an official troop with the Boy Scouts. Their request is rejected. The boys then create their own troop which engages in combat. Later, their troop is selected by the Prime Minister of England to carry out critical military missions for England.

Operation Archangel is an enjoyable and insightful read. I was impressed with the author’s knowledge of combat. It brings an exceptional appeal to young adults connected with Boy Scouts and the ROTC.

Dan Morales is a writer who lives and works in Chicago. He graduated from Columbia College in Chicago with a degree in marketing and advertising. His copywriting work has earned numerous awards including an Effie and a FAB award. Operation Archangel is his first novel.


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