Review – Sandra Eden’s War

This novel gives readers a unique, behind-the-scenes view with a strong, lucky, capable female protagonist working in occupied France during World War II.

Sandra Eden, an English SOE agent during WWII, is dropped in to work as an undercover agent for the allied forces when her parachute fails. Against all odds, she survives the fall and successfully connects with undercover French resistance forces, where she creates and executes plans to disrupt the German Gestapo at the head of the Marquis forces. A valiant force for the allies, Sandra Eden is one war tale encompassing that of many capable woman operatives in occupied France during the second world war.

What I liked most about this novel was the fresh feel to it. Although there isn’t a heavily-structured plot, the overall absence of overused clichés, and even the idea of having a war novel with a female lead, made everything about it seem very new and exciting. The writing, especially during action scenes, is very matter-of-fact and dictatorial. However, once I got used to absorbing this style of writing I found that I enjoyed it immensely. It sets a very professional mood that aids in the reader’s digestion of some of the war horrors depicted as well as helping to better understand the perspective of the highly-trained operative, Sandra. In contrast, the dialogue is very immersive and realistic (except for the lack of swearing done by the soldiers). It is during the abundant, dialogue-heavy planning scenes that readers can truly sink into this book.

What I disliked most about this novel was how the lack of emotion prevented me, as a reader, from connecting with the characters. Throughout the majority of this novel, I felt very blasé about what would happen to them. The largest issue I had while reading this book was that I didn’t have a strong urge to keep picking it up. I was not invested deeply enough in the characters that I felt emotionally connected to whether they would face failure or triumph. It was only in the third-quarter of the book, when Sandra faces a life-changing, emotional situation that I began to view her more as a real person than a perfect placeholder. The way the author depicted Sandra—as the perfect operative and woman with no flaws—up until that point was a great deterrent to me as a reader.

Sandra Eden’s War by Michael Low was good but not great. Although written and edited very well, for reasons stated above I did not find myself constantly itching to get back to reading it. For this reason, I rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this to readers looking for a story of a strong, capable woman. It was very empowering, and an interesting view on such a famous war like WWII. Additionally, the subtle plot culminated to create a very satisfying full-circle ending. However, due to the emotionally-described war horrors later in the novel, I would hesitate to recommend this for younger readers.

Review – Sandra Eden’s War

As Hitler’s Nazi regime devastates Europe, Great Britain and her allies prepare for a large-scale invasion to free France and push back the German forces. Sandra Eden is part of a special team and is assigned to disrupt German support systems in northern France in advance of the invasion near Normandy. With the help of the French resistance forces, she must manoeuvre through the fortified French countryside to complete her missions. Sandra Eden’s War, by Mike Low, is the story of one of Britain’s finest, serving her country and risking her life to do her part in the war against tyranny.

Author Mike Low has a clear and crisp writing style that is both engaging and informative. There are quite a few characters who make appearances and each one adds depth to the story. As countries fall like dominoes to the Nazis, the effort to resist German occupation is nothing short of an international operation. While thorough character development might be appreciated in other stories, it is limited here. I found this appropriate for the book’s topic and plot; too much dialogue or focus on the characters would have distracted from the overall conflict and point of the story. The urgent and austere atmosphere in occupied France is reflected in the writing; most of the dialogue was concise and to the point, and an energetic tempo was maintained throughout the book.

Did large countries like France just wave a white flag? Didn’t they do anything to help themselves? The best part of this book was the historical context and tone. Most people know about the Allied invasion in 1944, but not many know of the intricate resistance networks that provided critical support for the foot soldiers who stormed the beaches. The themes of patriotism, camaraderie, and survival are seen here in the descriptions of the perils of war. Lost agents are readily replaced. Decisions are made that sacrifice some for the good of the whole. In this way, history is brought to life; not just the heroic endings but also the sacrifices of many along the treacherous road to victory.

There is nothing I did not like about this book. It is professionally edited, and I did not see any errors, even in the two other languages that were used in the text. Because of the story’s immersion in history, its flawless editing, and the author’s voice, I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. Storytelling is a wonderful, intriguing way to learn about the past, and stories such as these give a unique perspective to one of the many behind-the-scenes operations during World War II.

I highly recommend this book for all readers who enjoy history, historical fiction, or mystery. This would be an excellent choice for middle and high school students. Given there is very mild profanity, I could easily see this on a reading list for history or psychology students. American students, in particular, would benefit from learning about different perspectives, as many of the stories given to them are those from the perspective of American soldiers. Overall, this is a satisfying book that will leave readers more informed about the scope of the resistance to German occupation and the sacrifices made by civilians to free Europe from oppression.

Kansas City Teacher
From – 05 May 2020

Review – Saviour of the Free World

Mike Low spent his career working for Rolls-Royce in the Marine and Nuclear divisions. During his employment there he developed an interest in the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and over time it became his passion. Like many Rolls-Royce engineers, the story of the Merlin swelled his heart with pride and after his retirement he decided he should write this book as a tribute to the contribution the Merlin made to the freedom we enjoy today.

As with any book on the Merlin it is essential to set the scene. The Eagle, Kestrel and ‘R’ are introduced to show the technical developments that were brought together in the P.V.12 engine; Sir Henry Royce’s last significant aero engine design. Royce died before the first engine was built and run, but his influence was in the DNA of the P.V.12 and subsequent Merlin prototypes. The development of the engine was vital as by the mid-1930’s there was increasing likelihood of another war in Europe. The text weaves together the various factors that drove the British governments re-armament policy while Chamberlains appeasement strategy bought a little time to build up the arsenal of machines and men.

The book looks at the Merlin and its applications as well as the engines against which it had to complete, be they industrial competitors in Britain or enemy adversaries. Low also considers the prominent figures that were instrumental in achieving the Merlin’s success and the phenomenal number of engines built. There is a chapter entitled ‘What if?’ where he looks at the fundamental issues and considers the impact if history had panned out differently. Suffice to say we are fortunate that it turned out the way it did, not least in the outcome of the Battle of Britain; the Merlin having played its part alongside the outstanding courage of the men and women in the air and on the ground. The final chapter considers ‘What Now?’ and the challenges of encouraging young people into engineering.

Ian Craighead
From ‘The Journal of The Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust’ Issue 8. December 2017

Review – The Bleedin’ Obvious Way To Improve Quality In Your Business

"Mike Low take a back-to-basics view on quality management, claiming that a solid foundation will leverage future endeavours. His message may be articulated in a casual way, but it by no means lessens the argument, as he backs it up with several relevant case studies.

The book’s key theme is to walk before you can run and this means ensuring everyone has a proper understanding of customer needs, as well as making sure these are communicated effectively throughout the organisation. The other key message that shines through is that you should only take on work that your organisation knows it can perform well through properly documented and audited processes.

Many modern organisations fail to ensure a proper foundation for their quality management efforts and jump in with the latest craze or buzzword, disengaging staff and undermining the whole activity. This book is invaluable for managers who want to ensure their current system is heading in the right drection."
Gerry Irvine, ACQI, Global HSQE
Manager for Veripos Limited

Published in Quality World Magazine, October 2014

Review – The Bleedin’ Obvious Way To Improve Quality In Your Business

“It is often said in business that “quality is a ‘given'” but delivering a poor quality product or service just once, will lead to customer dissatisfaction and loss of sales. Delivering a poor quality in business time and time again will be catastrophic for a company. Whether you’re a sole trader or a large corporate organisation, public or private sector, manufacturer or service provider, I would encourage you and your colleagues to read Mike Low’s book, The Bleedin’ Obvious Way to Improve Quality in Your Business.

Repeatability in your processes, attention to detail and communication are ‘bleedin’ obvious’ but we should all be applying this in daily business… but are we? Mike highlights these aspects, and others, in simple terms which should resonate from the CEO through to the self-employed and everyone in between.

In these days of Twitter and Facebook, your business reputation, good or bad, can be transmitted across the world in seconds. Putting in place some of Mike’s experiences contained within The Bleedin’ Obvious Way to Improve Quality in Your Business should help in your journey to improve your business. In an ever more competitive and connected world you can’t afford not to.”
Martin Farmer
Martin is a vice president in sales for a globally based manufacturing company and is a politician in local government delivering services to his local community.