GOLD MOUNTAIN EXPRESS
West County Investments (2020)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/20)
In 1944, during World War II, when the Third Reich saw that they were going to lose the war, the Nazis began to hide stolen treasures. There were rumors of a Ghost Train that was laden with 300 tons of gold, silver, works of art, weapons, and valuable antiques. This train was believed to be have been taken through a tunnel in the mountains, of what was then Nazi Germany. While people have searched for it, it has never been found. Gene Lassers, the author of “Gold Mountain Express,” has written a fictional story about how this train ended up in the mountain. The author uses two individuals to share their perspectives throughout the compelling drama. One is a character name Hans who is a Nazi officer. The other is of a female Jewish Holocaust survivor who shares her story while being tried for a serious crime.
The two character’s lives intertwine at critical points in this story. Hans has a mission to undertake involving the train, and the woman goes through a variety of roles, of which some involve him. She is a teenager when she is forced to leave her family in the Ghetto and work as a secretary for a Nazi officer. After she escapes, she returns to the Ghetto to take part in the rebellion. Hans’ goal is to fulfill his mission so that he can retire into the civilian world. The woman’s role is to try to survive and work with others to push the Nazis back. She has lost many loved ones to the trains that took them away to the concentration camps. She does everything in her power to maintain as much control as possible, and it is difficult with the odds stacked against her. The story closes with a massive climax in which all questions in this story are answered.
“Gold Mountain Express” is a compelling read, that left me wondering about what really happened long after I stopped reading. The author has a remarkable talent for creating compelling characters that are easily believable. While I didn’t like the Nazi officer, it was easy to see how he fell into his role and accepted what he had to do. The Holocaust survivor was completely different. Her story followed me even after I put the book down. What she experienced, even in fiction was haunting, because it actually highlighted the reality of what happened to many holocaust victims.
Lassers did an excellent job of blending fiction into reality. In the beginning of the book, he discusses the history of the search for this train. Then he takes the readers on a journey so that they can see the holocaust through the eyes of people who were on both sides. People who enjoy historical fiction or non-fiction novels, especially from the World War II era will really appreciate “Gold Mountain Express.”