The Slow March of Light
by Heather B. Moore
Based on a true story. Inspired by real events.
A riveting and emotionally-gripping novel of an American soldier working as a spy in Soviet-occupied East Germany and a West German woman secretly helping her countrymen escape from behind the Berlin Wall.
In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Luisa Voigt lives in West Berlin, but her grandmother lives across the border and is now trapped inside the newly- isolated communist country of East Germany. Desperate to rescue her grandmother and aware of the many others whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help bring others through a makeshift, underground tunnel to West Germany. Their work is dangerous and not everyone will successfully escape or live to see freedom.
Bob Inama was an outstanding university student, with plans to attend law school when he is drafted into the US Army. Stationed in West Germany, he is glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he does not get the chance to say goodbye.
With a fake identity, Bob’s special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany. His undercover job will give him access to government sites to map out strategic military targets. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and eventually Bob is caught and sent to a brutal East German prison. Interrogated and tortured daily, Bob clings to any hope he can find from the sunlight that marches across the wall of his prison to the one guard who secretly treats him with kindness to the thought of one day seeing Luisa again.
Author Heather B. Moore masterfully alternates the stories of Bob and Luisa, capturing the human drama unique to Cold War Germany as well as the courage and the resilience of the human spirit.
Check out the Review!
Review by Melissa Dalton Martinez
This beautifully-told story is inspired by true events in Soviet-occupied East Germany and the life of American hero, Bob Inama, who passed earlier this year (2021).
During the Cold War, Inama really was sent to the eastern side of the Berlin Wall as a spy, where he worked to gather intel for the U. S. Army and encountered brave citizens willing to risk their lives to help their fellow countrymen. In particular, The Slow March of Light tells the story of Luisa Voigt, a fictional name, but a character based on real people. Even though it puts her in great danger, Luisa also acts as a kind of spy who rescues refugees from East Germany to smuggle them across the border.
Despite the harsh circumstances depicted, I actually found this story very heartwarming in its portrayal of the human spirit and the kindness people can do for one another. The author also does a wonderful job of weaving actual historical research into a well-written story. I felt as if I was really there, struggling alongside characters I felt like I understood and had to root for. The emotional connection I felt for the characters in this novel also meant so much more to me, because the things they went through were real. At the end of the book, Heather Moore also walks through the events of the book to let us know which parts are known and recorded history, and which were inferences or fictionalized.
I highly recommend this novel to history buffs as well as those who like memoirs and stories of overcoming adversity. If you are looking for inspirational stories with powerful female protagonists and unsung historical heroes, check out The Slow March of Light and other historical fiction from Heather B. Moore.