Patrick Hicks

In the Shadow of Dora: A novel of the Holocaust and the Apollo Program

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In the Shadow of Dora spans two very different decades from the Nazi concentration camp of Dora-Mittelbau to the coast of central Florida in the late 1960s; the book tells the story of the real life intersections between the horror of the Third Reich’s V-2 rocket program and the wonderment of the Apollo missions. Eli Hessel, a brilliant young Jewish mathematician, finds himself deep beneath a mountain where he is forced to build Nazi rockets. When he is finally freed from this secret underground concentration camp, he immigrates to New York, studies astrophysics, and is recruited by NASA to help build the largest rocket ever to rise above a launch pad: the Saturn V. To his shock, though, he will be under the command of former Nazi scientists Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph, both of who were at Dora. As America turns to the moon and cheers for rockets that lance the sky, Eli is swallowed up by the past and must cope with memories he thought were safely buried. This is a novel that asks questions about memory, morality, technology, and how the past influences the present. If we clamp down images of horror, will they always ignite and rise up on us?