It’s the early 1930s, and the Great Depression has begun in the United States with reverberations in other countries. In Germany, it’s a time of political change as the Nazi Party is increasing its influence with more seats in the Reichstag and becoming the second largest political party in the country, and the setting of "Out of the Smoke," the fifth in author Gerald N. Lund's "Fire and Steel" series.
Hans Otto Eckhardt, who met and befriended Adolf Hitler when they were in a military hospital in the Great War, has been working for the party with the elections. With a front-row seat as history is being made, Hans starts to see several disturbing changes in the party and in their politics that leaves him and his wife, Emilee, more careful than ever, and it appears they are unable to leave the party without putting himself and his family in danger.
Their oldest daughter, Lisa, attends the Hitler Youth Camps and also The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' youth conference, and is becoming a teenager. Lisa also learns that walking a political tightrope isn’t just for the adults as she defends and befriends a classmate, who has a potentially damaging secret.
In southern Utah near Monticello, the Mitch and Edie Westland family faces surviving the Depression as they council together to help each other and the government pays them to cull their cattle herd.
Author Gerald N. Lund uses the fictional Eckhardt and Westland families in Germany and Utah, respectively, most of which are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to share the some of the most challenging times for their families.
Emiliee and her children and mother-in-law are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and attend a conference where the growth of the church in Germany is outlined, and most of the Westland family are active members who share their faith.
While Hans is on medical leave for a portion of the book, the events are shared either through the news or the history professor father of Lisa’s friend.Comment on this story
It’s a dark time for the families, and Lund brings what feels like impossible choices that bring deep consequences to the forefront as he shares historical events through their perspectives. What shines in “Out of the Smoke” is how Lund expands the perspectives that are shared to include those of Lisa Eckhardt and Mitch and Edie’s youngest son Benji Westland, 17, who have been pen pals since the Westlands visited the Eckhardts for the Passion play nearly a decade earlier.
"Out of the Smoke" has no swearing or sexual content, and does have general descriptions of violent incidents.
“Out of the Smoke” is the fifth book in the Fire and Steel series, which has followed the story of Hans Eckhardt through the First World War and the rise of the Nazi Party. The Westlands’ story starts in “Only the Brave” and “To Soar with Eagles” and joins the Fire and Steel series.