Portals of Hell

December 17, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Say you were about to take a cross-country trip, or fly to Europe, or merely waiting in a doctor’s office, and all you wanted was a distraction to while away the time-something not too demanding. You could do worse than to pick up this book, the fifth volume of the prolific Mr. Vaughan’s American Chronicles, a sort of middlebrow historical novel about the American entrance into World War II. Portals of Hell includes cameos by such real figures as Hitler, Goering, and Eva Braun, who interact with such fictional characters as a Japanese kamikaze pilot, an American reporter, and a British earl. There are, in total, over 10 different narratives here, making it not only historical fiction but also romance, thriller, travelogue, and fantasy. Of course, the problem with trying to juggle so many different genres is that each story line is slight and superficial-but the book doesn’t aspire to more than that. It’s the novelistic equivalent of a soap opera, and if you’ve got a few hours to kill, it’s not bad company. B

Portals of Hell

Robert Vaughan
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Portals of Hell

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