Cover Image: The Orinoco Uranium

The Orinoco Uranium

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Member Reviews


The Orinoco Uranium by Stephen O. Sears is a story set in WWII South America, inspired by true events and backed by extensive research and the author’s personal knowledge of Venezuelan history and geology.

The narrative revolves around a geophysical survey party that stumbles upon smuggled uranium on a ship stranded along the Orinoco River bank after a violent storm. The ship was en route from Nazi Germany to Argentina, carrying stolen radioactive metal from a Berlin laboratory. The mastermind behind this theft is a renegade German physicist seeking refuge in South America.

The story follows American geologist Jerry MacDonald and his wife, Maria, who reside in the scenic lakeside community of Maracaibo, a city teeming with intrigue and espionage during this period of neutrality in Venezuela. While searching for new oil fields, Jerry leads the survey party deep into the South American wilderness, specifically to the Orinoco River delta. Upon discovering the uranium, Jerry informs the American government about the remarkable find when he returns to Maracaibo. However, this revelation triggers intense competition between German and American forces as they strive to seize control of the valuable cargo, ultimately leading to a violent encounter in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Now, turning to my thoughts on the book, let’s start with its captivating cover design - it’s truly beautiful and eye-catching. However, I personally did not thoroughly enjoy this book due to issues I encountered with the writing style. There was some kind of mismatch between myself as a reader and the writing itself. Additionally, I found the pace of the story to be rather slow at times. Nevertheless, one aspect that stood out was how skillfully the author depicted the setting. The book was filled with rich details that created an atmospheric backdrop for the events taking place.

**ARC Via NetGalley**

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Here are the cold facts:
- during WW2 Germans were working on creating an atomic bomb,
- they had constructed cubes full of uranium, and some of these were recovered by the Allies after the war
- approx 650 are still missing
- one cube turned up in the US in 2013

Very intriguing. It seems impossible not to wonder what happened.
The author set his imagination free and created a story as to what could have happened to those cubes. It turned out to be a good fast-paced book full of action and adventure. There are slow moments, especially in the beginning, but it´s well-weighted. The author has a PhD in geochemistry and it shows. There´s a good bit of knowledge in that field included in the book, but it´s easy to digest for an average reader with no interest in geology, so nothing to worry about.
My only issue here is the way the characters are created. Despite the authors' efforts they all seem to be alike. The dialogues are so calm and rational and polite in every situation, almost as if it was spoken by one character throughout the book.
Another thing is that near the end of the book, there is a scene where one of the characters explains diving in details; such as nitrogen diffusing in blood requires a certain amount of time, alcohol impacts the process of decompression, the importance of breathing while going up or else an air bubble will occur in brain. I wonder how much of these were known back in 1944 (the time set in the book)?
Overall it´s a good book and I won´t be surprised when one day I see a miniseries on Netflix based on it.

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The Orinoco Uranium by Stephen O. Sears is a captivating and well-researched historical fiction novel set in South America during World War II. The story follows American geologist Jerry MacDonald and his wife Maria as they embark on a geophysical survey in the Orinoco River delta and stumble upon a stranded ship carrying smuggled uranium from Nazi Germany to Argentina. As they try to report their discovery to the American government, they find themselves caught up in a dangerous game of espionage and violence involving both Germans and Americans.

The novel is based on true events and Sears' extensive research is evident throughout the book. The vivid descriptions of the South American wilderness and the cultural and political climate of Venezuela during the war are both informative and immersive. The author also effectively captures the tense atmosphere of the time and the dangerous nature of the work being done by MacDonald and his team.

One of the strengths of the novel is the well-developed characters. MacDonald and his wife Maria are both relatable and likable, and the various secondary characters are also well-drawn and memorable. The conflict between the Germans and the Americans is also portrayed in a nuanced way, with characters on both sides shown to have complex motives and personalities.

Overall, The Orinoco Uranium is a well-written and engaging novel that will appeal to fans of historical fiction and thrillers. The novel successfully balances historical accuracy with a compelling narrative and memorable characters. It is an impressive debut novel from Stephen O. Sears, and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.

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this was a interesting event to write a historical fiction novel about, and I'm glad I got to learn about a new event in history. Stephen O. Sears does a great job in telling the story that was needed to and create unique characters in that world. I enjoyed going on this plot and getting to know more about Venezuela. I appreciated getting to go through this and am excited to read more from Stephen O. Sears.

"No. Hans has no place to go back to. The office he worked in has been bombed to rubble, and the staff has disappeared. But at some point, I guess we’ll have to return, unless there is a way to remain in Venezuela. He’s looking for some other line of work.”“Europe is not going to be a pleasant place for a few years,” Maria commented. “I’d want to stay here too. But I don’t know what it would take. Venezuela’s neutral now, but I understand that they’re close to declaring war on Germany.”

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