“Erwin Rommel removed the goggles that had been sheltering his eyes from the desert sand, stepped out of his Horch armoured cabriolet and walked to the edge of the cliff perched over the East Mediterranean Sea.”
Number of Pages: 336
Date of Publication: 14 October 2021
Publisher: Lume Books
My Review Summary: A gripping World War II Thriller full of suspense and emotion.
Rome, 1942. Cordelia Olivieri is a young, determined hotel owner desperate to escape Mussolini’s racial persecution. But as Fascist leaders gather in Rome, Cordelia is suddenly surrounded by the world’s most ruthless and powerful commanders.
In an effort to keep her Jewish heritage a secret and secure safe passage out of Italy, Cordelia forms a dangerous alliance with the British army who want to push the Axis out of North Africa once and for all.
Going undercover, Cordelia begins obtaining and leaking military intelligence to a British agent, hoping the intel will secure her freedom. But the more Cordelia uncovers, the greater the risks – especially for one handsome German Afrika Korps officer.
How far must Cordelia go to protect her identity and secure passage out of Rome?
Spies, military secrets, and a personal crusade for freedom… don’t miss this utterly gripping World War II thriller.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I love a Thriller and when I saw that it involved spies I was there! I am sometimes a little bit unsure about books set in the War as it was an emotional time and it can get a bit much for me to read. This book however, whilst still having some very emotional moments in it, was a pleasure to read.
The story opens with a prologue where we are introduced to General Rommel andVon Mellenthin in North Africa. The setting is lightly described, which gives you just enough information without being too overbearing. What I particularly liked (and which was carried on throughout the story) was the description of the smell. In this particular case it was mint tea (other smells in the story include the smell of tea and flowers). I found that it gave an extra dimension to the story and a better all round picture, as opposed to merely describing what the settings looked like.
Immediately you are told the crux of what the story is going to be based around. I think that this prepares you for what you are about to read, but doesn’t spoil it, rather it sets the scene and you are gently introduced.
The book is separated into 2 parts, each with a quote from a prominent person during the War. We start with an appropriate quote from Winston Churchill which describes the beginning of the racial cleansing and then part 2 is a quote from Benito Mussolini regarding the military losses that Italy have suffered.
We immediately jump in with the story line that is going to be running alongside that which was introduced in the prologue. It is full of suspense and raises a few questions that will later be answered. Again, there is a description of smell which adds another layer to the story.
The next chapter is a time hop. Part 1 is full of time and place hops so you need to be on your guard. I don’t mind this hopping as it is all done to enhance the story and to give you a more rounded picture without being too much. I found that it was fairly easy to keep up with what was happening.
The following chapter we are introduced to the last piece in the puzzle. As the reader, you now have a lot of the information, but I don’t feel that this spoils anything. The way that it is written it actually adds to the suspense because you are waiting for the characters to find out what you know!
There is a lot of sneaking around throughout the story (which helps to link all the storylines together) and you can feel the suspense building. You are watching people being watched!
The story is well thought out and the different story lines and characters weave together beautifully to result in this emotional, but gripping, Thriller.
I love the settings and all the different characters (even the dislikeable ones!). It was interesting to see real people such as Himmler and Goering mentioned and featured in this story. I think that the setting of World War II in Italy is a brilliant choice and really brings this story to life. It is quite easy to imagine that this sort of story line did actually happen to people and you are constantly on the edge of your seat willing the characters to finally get to their happy ending!
At the end there is an epilogue so you get to know what happens to the main characters. The only thing I would say is that I would have liked to have known what happened to all the other characters. There were a couple of characters that I would have liked to have known what happened to them, especially after the War.
I highly recommend anyone reading this book, but especially fans of Thrillers or Historical Fiction novels.
“The hooded figure moved along the edge of the wall, keeping to the shadows. The thick clouds obscured the moon and black sheets of rain poured down, assisting the character’s clandestine progress…”
Number of Pages:257
Date of Publication:18 October 2021
Publisher: Dark Edge Press
My Review Summary: A gripping tale that was well written and well thought out.
An undercover MI5 agent turns up dead and people are being kidnapped and experimented upon, but to what end?
We follow the siblings of those that have been captured, an MI5 agent who was previously a junior detective and has been hastily promoted to MI5, and the people involved in planning and carrying out the deadly attack.
Can they all work together and put aside their differences to stop the attack before it is too late?
First of all I have to say that I really enjoyed reading this book. It was well written and well thought out, with just enough detail to allow the reader to picture what was going on without being too overbearing, and, most importantly, it kept my interest from beginning to end.
It opened with a quote from Charles Darwin, which caught my interest, and there was also an interesting table of contents, which gave me high hopes for the story!
The story starts with a dark, mysterious character with a setting to match, so straight away you are taken in without too much effort from yourself as the reader. You are made to think that something is wrong and you are put on your guard. The story then takes a turn and you are taken to a lighter place with joy and the laughter of children, however there is a warning from the father that ensures that you are on your guard for something to happen. The mundane actions of the family playing with the dog are described in order to really reel you in and to give you a sense of unease. It’s not long before a dead body appears and the story begins.
I like the way that the mundane actions are described both here and throughout the rest of the book because it gives a more rounded picture of both the character being described and the setting that they are in. I feel that the characters are more relatable because their actions are every day and nothing extraordinary.
The main characters are named and their actions are highlighted to give you a flavour of their role within the story. You are also privy to more information than the characters, so you are able to stay one step ahead. With this information you are then willing the characters on, hoping that they will see what you can see. This helps build up the suspense because you are waiting for them to figure it out! There are still some times when you are in the dark and questions keep coming up. You don’t know who to trust and you keep waiting for a character to turn. The characters are very suspicious of each other (there always seems to be someone watching) so that puts doubts and unease in your mind, however as they are all working towards the same goal they don’t have a choice but to trust one another. As the reader you are still very suspicious of everyone! The questions are gradually answered and they keep the story moving.
There are quite a lot of characters and place hopping so you do need to be paying attention, however with the way that the story is written it all weaves together nicely to give a smooth storyline. On the flip side I think that the character hopping actually increases the suspense because you are left hanging on to see what the characters are going to do next!
I did sometimes get a bit lost with regards to the timings of things. I think that at some points the time went faster than I was expecting and at one point the characters were rushing, but then hit a snag and it all seemed to calm down, even though the situation hadn’t changed and time was still ticking.
Overall an enjoyable book and one that I would recommend, especially to fans of a good mystery thriller!
Alistair Birch is a thriller writer and occasional poet. His debut thriller Shadow Pursuit will be published in October 2021 and the sequel is well into its development. His poems range from rather silly to tackling deeper mental health challenges.
He can frequently be seen running around his home town and occasionally steps up to do the odd half or full marathon but this is all for fun and friendship rather than being super speedy.
Find out more about Alistair and his work by following him on social media: