The second book in Terry Eisele’s trilogy, a true story about a survivor of World War II Nazi occupation, focuses almost exclusively on Anna Nesporova’s years in a concentration camp. Her harrowing account is agonisingly told through anecdotes and recollections. The older Anna, being interviewed by Eisele, pops up every now and again as she struggles to proceed with her stories, breaking down any opportunity to let you lose the horrible reality of the situation: that this is the first-hand account of a woman who lived through this terrible time and carried the scars with her, to her death bed in 2006.
Jonathon Riddle’s subtle artwork doesn’t try too hard to depict the torture and the violence, except for in a few extreme cases where the horror is reflected in the faces of people screaming with agony and despair. Initially this feels like a cop-out – how can we understand the enormity of Anna’s pain if we can’t see it? However, the reality of the situation hits you further down the line: Anna’s eloquent words, describing both the torture and how she felt about it, is more than enough to give us an insight into what it must have been like.
By the end of this volume the war is coming to a climax and Anna is out of the concentration camp, but as you might guess from the number of books in the series, despite escaping the clutches of the Nazis, Anna is still some way from the end of her story.