This debut novel, based on fact, is set in England and packed full of suspense and intrique during the preparations for the invasion of Normandy to end WWII. This adventure story follows Churchill's hand-picked protectorate of the operation called M15, as he uses phony radio signals and bogus information concerning non-existent airfields and barracks to steer Hitler's forces in the wrong direction. Churchill declared, "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." His choice, a brilliant history professor who had been a courier in WWI, a bachelor in the British Isles, is the unlikeliest spy you could picture. He's reclusive, secretive, and fabricates false reports which he then sends to Germany so they will think that their spy network is functional.
Actually, it is in the guise of a ruthless assassin called Mata Hari but her actual name is Anna Katerina von Steiner, code name Catherine Blake. She poses as a widow whose RAF pilot husband lost his life in the Battle of Britain. In fact, there were Nazi spies everywhere in London at that pivotal time of the war effort. In 1944, Peter Jordon, an American engineer enters the picture, given in evocative detail, and knows the top-secret project for D-Day. Will Catherine seek him out, or will she concentrate on Alfred Vicary? Full of romance and glamour, she works as a volunteer at a London hospital while she keeps Abwehr informed of all she sees; that is the espionage agency under the direction of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris.
This book has it all but it shows spying at its worst. Daniel Silva's first novel is compared to those of Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, Jack Higgins, John LeCarre and Robert Harris, all who write war thrillers. He is certainly in good company. Since this debut, he has written PRINCE OF FIRE, THE CONFESSOR, and A DEATH IN VIENNA. It is interesting, fun and exciting to read as you ride the buses. Seems like a combination of two movies I've seen lately, 'The Great Raid' being one of them.
WOW!! I love the twists and turns in this book. It kept reading and I would love to have more from Silva. WWII is such a volatile period for everyone and this is a great story. Sneaky to the end. Great attention to detail that keeps the reader in suspense. Not hard to read but lots of action going on.
Wow ! What a thoroughly satisfying read. If you enjoy WWII spy/adventure books in the vein of Ken Follett you gotta read this one. Tight, believable plotting and good writing. You just don't want to go to bed till you read the next chapter - and then the next. I was particularly struck by the believable characters, Most books of this period portray the Germans as cardboard sterotype orges. Here they are real and their actions are understandable. The British are mild university types in tweeds and brier pipes. I know a few of these "double cross" people right after the war and this is exactly what they were. In all, I was delighted with the book, cannot wait for more and highly recommend it.
Daniel Silva's first book is a very good World War II spy drama. If you have read other books by Daniel Silva, such as his Michael Osbourne or Gabriel Allon books, don't expect to find any familiar characters here. This is a stand-alone book, and one of the better ones in the genre. This book is a real page turner that starts out with a bang and continues to keep your attention.
Most of us know Daniel Silva through his ongoing Gabriel Allon thriller series. Written prior to that series, The Unlikely Spy is a totally engrossing, furiously page-turning novel concerning German spies in London prior to the Normandy Invasion, and their all too human British and American counterintelligence gems' desperate need to prevent Hitler from learning the precise location of the Allied invasion. The novel works on every level. The primary characters are well drawn and intelligently deployed. The 'sense of place' in wartime London is superb. And the ultimate outcome has you in its grip until the end. Silva's ability to maintain the suspense, given all we know of history, is remarkable. I cannot recommend this work more highly.
I liked this book for a couple of reasons. I'm a history buff, so there was a lot to learn in this book about the pre-D-Day WW II activities in Europe. However, the main protagonists in this novel were fictional people. Also, Daniel Silva is very good at writing action packed spy novels. Some of his main characters can be vicious and aggressive. Silva creates some very detailed graphic violence action (in your mind's eye), that can grab your attention by shocking you. Also, there are sympathetic characters on both the Allies and Axis sides of this WW II spy thriller. The plot is filled with complexities (eg. spies and counter-spies) and some revelations thrown in at the very end of the story. Caution, some of the action, especially near the end of the novel, may not be totally believable. Each of Silva's novels seem like they would make a great TV spy adventure mini-series. Maybe that's why Silva is such a popular author.
I loved this book! I had finished all his books in the Gabriel Allon series and decided to go backward and read his other books. It is a long read and worth every moment. Lots of characters, lots of action, kept me wondering - and was still surprised at the end which is not the usual case. Intrigue, excitement, sadness, it's all in there.
Silva's book is riveting. "In wartime," Winston Churchill wrote, "truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." For Britain's counterintelleigence operations, this means finding the unlikeliest agents imaginable - including a history professor named Alfred Vicary. Handpicked by Churchill himself, Vicary must stop an unknown spy from uncovering the Allied battle plans for D-Day. The Nazis, however, have also chosen their operative carefully. Posing as a war widow and hospital volunteer, Catherine Blake is under direct orders from Hitler to seal the German victory - no matter what the cost.