We are thrilled to share an exclusive excerpt from The Huntress, the forthcoming historical novel by New York Times bestselling author Kate Quinn! The Huntress goes on sale February 26th, but you can pre-order your copy today.
About the Book:
From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, The Alice Network, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.
In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…
Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina’s bravery and cunning will keep her alive.
Transformed by the horrors he witnessed from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.
Growing up in post-war Boston, seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride is determined to become a photographer. When her long-widowed father unexpectedly comes homes with a new fiancée, Jordan is thrilled. But there is something disconcerting about the soft-spoken German widow. Certain that danger is lurking, Jordan begins to delve into her new stepmother’s past—only to discover that there are mysteries buried deep in her family . . . secrets that may threaten all Jordan holds dear.
In this immersive, heart-wrenching story, Kate Quinn illuminates the consequences of war on individual lives, and the price we pay to seek justice and truth.
Read the Excerpt:
About half the time, they tried to run.
For a moment Ian Graham’s partner kept up with him, but though Tony was more than a decade younger than Ian he was half a head shorter, and Ian’s longer stride pulled him ahead toward their quarry: a middle-aged man in a gray suit dodging desperately around a German family heading away from the swimming beach with wet towels. Ian put on a burst of speed, feeling his hat blow away, not bothering to shout at the man to stop. They never stopped. They’d sprint to the end of the earth to get away from the things they’d done.
The puzzled German family had halted, staring. The mother had an armful of beach toys—a shovel, a red bucket brimming with wet sand. Veering, Ian snatched the bucket out of her hand with a shouted “Pardon me—,” slowed enough to aim, and slung it straight and hard at the running man’s feet. The man stumbled, staggered, lurched back into motion, and by then Tony blew past Ian and took the man down in a flying tackle. Ian skidded to a halt as the two men rolled over, feeling his own chest heave like a bellows. He retrieved the bucket and handed it back to the astonished German mother with a bow and a half smile. “Your servant, ma'am.” Turning back toward the prey, he saw the man curled on the path whimpering as Tony leaned over him.
“You’d better not have put a fist on him,” Ian warned his partner.
“The weight of his sins caught up to him, not my fist.” Tony Rodomovsky straightened: twenty-six years old with the olive-skinned, dark-eyed intensity of a European, and the untidy swagger of a Yank. Ian had first come across him after the war, a young sergeant with Polish-Hungarian blood and a Queens upbringing wearing the most carelessly ironed uniform Ian had ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on.
“Nice curveball with that bucket,” Tony went on cheerfully. “Don’t tell me you pitched for the Yankees.”
“Bowled against Eton in the house match in ’29.” Ian retrieved his battered fedora, cramming it down over dark hair that had been salted with gray since Omaha Beach. “You have it from here?”
Tony looked at the man on the ground. “What do you say, sir? Shall we continue the conversation we were having before I brought up a certain forest in Estonia and your various activities there, and you decided to practice your fifty yard dash?”
The man began to cry, and Ian looked at the blue sparkle of the lake, fighting his usual sense of anticlimax. The man dissolving in tears on the ground had been an SS Sturmbannführer in Einsatzgruppe D, who had ordered the shooting of a hundred and fifty men in Estonia in 1941. More than that, Ian thought. Those eastern death squads had put hundreds of thousands in the ground in shallow trenches. But one hundred and fifty was what he had the documentation for in his office back in Vienna: testimony from a shaky-handed gray-faced pair of survivors who had managed to flee. One hundred and fifty was enough to bring the man to trial, perhaps put a rope around a monster’s neck.
Moments like this should have been glorious, and they never were. The monsters always looked so ordinary and pathetic, in the flesh.
“I didn’t do it,” the man gulped through his tears. “Those things you said I did.”
Ian just looked at him.
“I only did what the others did. What I was ordered to do. It was legal—”
Ian took a knee beside the man, raising his chin with one finger. Waited until those red-rimmed eyes met his own. “I have no interest in your orders,” he said quietly. “I have no interest if it was legal at the time. I have no interest in your excuses. You’re a cringing soulless trigger-pulling lackey, and I will see you face a judge.”