By: Keith Thye
Publisher: Classic Day Publishing
Publication Date: January 1, 2023
Review Date: November 28, 2023
When we first meet Bjorn, the central character in acclaimed author Keith Thye’s latest work, Danish Connection: The Dansgaard Family Saga, he is a soldier in Belgium at the height of World War I. Wounded, he tries to think as positively as he can about his recent past and potential future. The possibilities will unfold through the pages of this vibrant historical saga.
One thing on Bjorn’s mind as he crouches in a foxhole is the last night he spent with Karla – the only occasion when the two lay together. That memory will form a large piece of his later life after he learns that Karla has a daughter – his. This is the beginning of his epic journey from poverty and war-time injury to success in business, and from Denmark and Germany, in both of which he has connections, to the charms of California and elsewhere. Bjorn will have more children, and more loves to add to his storehouse of care and achievement as the years pass. Each child has his or her own story to add to the plausible plot that Thye has constructed. One son, Tor, will join with the Nazi movement and be selected to hunt down Jews as the next world war is in full sway, while Bjorn, at the same time, will be involved with Frieda, whose Jewish connection would make her a target for Hitler’s extermination. Fleeing, first from Denmark and then to the US, Bjorn will make the most of his business acumen while his offspring become well-educated and have their own destinies to explore. Tor will find himself enamored of a Native American woman, forcing him to question his earlier attachments to the Nazi template of despising inferior races. And Bjorn’s last great love, in his waning years, will be a Black woman with whom he can share his uniquely broad worldview.
Award-winning writer Thye is himself a world traveler, having written extensively about his motorcycling ventures in two continents (The Whole Story). He is also, as demonstrated here, a diligent historian whose descriptions of the times that his characters are living through – two world wars, the Great Depression, a succession of American presidencies and the attacks of 9-11 - are offered in rich detail. He has based this book on the heritage of his wife’s German origins and supports his narrative with a lengthy array of references. Still, the central attraction of this creation will be the complex interactions, growth, intimacies, and emerging realizations experienced by Bjorn and his extended family.
Quill says: Thye’s vast panorama of international events tethered to family faith and future will especially enchant readers whose background includes immigration, racial and cultural mixtures, and a sustained belief in basic human values.
For more information on Danish Connection: The Dansgaard Family Saga, please visit the author's website at: https://www.keithsrides.com/