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Divided Loyalties

Clarion Review

In Divided Loyalties, author Richard E. Witten takes readers into the mind of Sam Hart, a bright and gifted man who must face his painful past, fifty years after the fact.

In 1945, Sam was serving with the 14th Infantry when they stumbled upon, and liberated, a Nazi concentration camp in Gunskirchen, Germany. Amidst the piles of dead bodies, Sam found a young Jewish man who was still alive. He cradled the man’s head and comforted him as he died. After a few weeks, Sam was sent on a secret Allied mission.

Fifty years later, Sam works at a high-level Wall Street management job. Tensions are running high at work, a debilitating illness threatens his wife Gloria, and his beloved granddaughter Rebecca is struggling with a difficult decision regarding an aggressive activist organization.

When Sam takes Gloria to the doctor, he meets Anton, a survivor of the Gunskirchen camp. He develops a friendship with Anton, which causes scenes from his past to assault him more frequently. Faced with a barrage of memories, a Wall Street market crisis, his boss’s demand that he fire his protégée, Gloria’s mood swings, Rebecca’s problems, and Anton’s impending death, Sam knows that he must gather all his strength and do what is right.

The tiredness running through Sam tempts him to cave in to his boss’s demands, ignore his memories, and give up on guiding and protecting his loved ones. However, Sam realizes that his decisions will impact more than just the people he loves; the broader issue of good triumphing over evil looms large. If he can face his past and admit his guilt, he can apply the lessons learned to business, political, and personal issues in the present.

Witten’s story, based on his own career and his father-in-law’s war experiences, is written with knowledge, style, and heart. He has woven together two stories in an intricate plot with a moral dilemma and well-documented scenes of the workings of Wall Street and war. He develops his characters with warmth and an understanding of the conflicts heaped upon them.

The senior managing director of an investment firm, Witten has nearly thirty years of experience on Wall Street. Divided Loyalties is his first novel. He writes with skill and passion about Wall Street shenanigans, corporate power struggles, war scenes, family relationships, illness, and death. Transitions between the past and present are seamless, and the characters and their struggles present readers with a well-paced and enjoyable story.

Pat Avery