Winston Churchill was a man of many secrets and mystery. Known throughout the world, he was recognized as a great leader, and one of the kingpins that helped bring down Hitler.
In Orders from Berlin by Simon Tolkien, we are taken back to a place in time where the world was at war, and strategy had to do with both what and who you knew, and how well you could dupe the enemy. While Hitler did not want a war with England, Churchill knew that he had to stop him at all costs, even that of his own homeland being bombed. The fear of his aggression and the depth of his atrocities were not something to take lightly.
As Hitler finally realizes that they are not ever going to be allies, he manufactures a plan to have Churchill assassinated. A mole deep within the government, a double agent, is set to create the diversion and eliminate the great leader of the English people.
As one murder occurs, to set the stage, there is one officer who is not convinced they have dug in deep enough. Scotland Yard Detective Trave feels like there is more afoot. The clues scatter in too many different directions, and the crime is solved too quickly. The death of a high placed member of the M16s offers more confusion than clues. When he tries to find answers he runs into a brick wall. His hands are tied.
Can he find the mole hidden so deeply that there are none who believe the evidence? Will he be in time to save Winston Churchill, and stop the deadly forward move of the Third Reich?
Tolkien takes you back in history to a time when England is under attack. He brings stark relief to the rubble and danger inherent in the bombing of the countryside, and the death and dying of those in London as the attacks continue. The blackouts and bomb shelters create an eerie setting, making you feel the fear of those involved. He does an amazing job of taking you into the streets, with the continued air raid sirens trying to outpace the sirens of ambulances and fire trucks. You find yourself visualizing the war-torn rubble.
The author’s ability to put you in the mind of the politics of the day is a direct reflection of his ability to engross you in the conversations and action. This is an abject lesson in history, riddled with mystery and danger.
Orders from Berlin would be an excellent book for the library of the history or mystery buff. It is a thriller in the best of ways. The undertones of the book drag you in and hold you there. This would be an excellent reading club book, creating a depth of discussion. Simon Tolkien is a first rate author, the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien; he carries the torch of persuasion and excitement to the next generation.