In February, 1945, 350 captured U.S. soldiers were taken from a German POW camp and transported by cattle car to Berga, slave-labor camp for European Jews. Inspired by this shocking and little-known occurrence, K.J. McCall weaves fact and fiction in a story that begins in a Pennsylvania town in September, 1941 when the United States is still at peace while so much of the world is at war.
Corbin O’Connell is then just a high school senior, stuck on the family farm, snared by the conniving Velma, hopelessly in love with Daisy, his best friend’s girl. All he knows of the war is what he sees in newsreels. But everything changes on December 7, 1941. And 1942 finds him standing in line to register for the draft only two weeks after graduation. He’s headed for big trouble and doesn’t know it. To him the war is simply a convenient escape from his problems and, blind to reality, he’s eager to enlist. But he will see. Far from home, he’s swept up in world conflict, and life veers off in its own mad direction when he’s captured by the Germans.
The story is a vivid portrait of wartime America, the heartbreak of unattainable romance, dehumanizing by deadly enemies, loss of young life, and bittersweet homecoming. Back then one had no choice in the matter, thrown into the war of all wars just by being born. There was no getting around it – not if you were Eighteen in 1942.
As the President marks the first anniversary of federally-run health care with speeches and a parade, D.C. detective Gordon Sand investigates the disappearance of a woman from a parking lot. A few city blocks away, his sister, a health care databank administrator, is privy to inner workings of the mighty Health Care Board and potent behind-the-scenes data that rank people by level of importance. Ninety minutes to the north, in sleepy Dorsey Pennsylvania, Gordon’s physician brother observes the steady decline of his patients’ health services. From different vantage points they are witnessing evidence of the same noxious collusion, rising at the juncture of power and self-interest.
Set Apart is pure fiction. But it could happen tomorrow, it could happen next year. It could be the stuff of future headlines – if somebody ever figures it out.