John Altman's first novel was widely praised: "Deliciously atmospheric," said Publishers Weekly. "An irresistible page-turner from a welcome new voice." His second novel, however, is even better.
It is February 1940, and England is desperate to find out when and how Hitler will make his move west toward France. A young sleeper agent named Eva Bernhardt, seduced into spydom by a roguish MI6 agent named Hobbs, comes into possession of a vital piece of information and makes a run for it. But the Germans are on to her quickly- too quickly. Was her source compromised? Was that Hobbs she just saw in the street? Who are those other men shadowing her-or are they? In a lethal game of ruse and counter-ruse, the British and Germans engage in a war of intelligence, each side testing the other, searching for advantage, but there are some things even spymasters cannot control. Uncertain whom to trust, whether she is racing to her safety or her death, Eva Bernhardt is about to take her future into her own hands-and with it, perhaps the future of the entire war.
Filled with dazzling setpieces, unpredictable twists, and a memorable gallery of characters, this is suspense writing at its best.
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Born in 1969, John Altman is a musician and a freelance writer. A member of an extended family of writers, he is currently at work on his next novel.From Booklist:
The game of spies was one the British played exceedingly well during World War II, and their successes have generated a vast literature. This novel posits that a British espionage coup was ignored by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1940, thus allowing the German blitzkrieg to overrun the Low Countries and France in just six weeks. Most of the book is about the flight of two people from the Nazis. One is Hobbs, a British operative with a dubious reputation as a con man and opportunist. The other is Eva Bernhardt, a young German woman "recruited" by Hobbs. Hobbs is inserted into Germany to extract Eva after she obtains information about the Germans' thrust into the west. Chasing these two are Hagen and Frick, smart and relentless officers in the Gestapo's intelligence unit. It's spy versus spy, agent and double agent, double cross and triple cross. It's taut and lean and filled with action, yet author Altman still finds room for insightful reflections on the motives, morals, and misgivings of all the primary characters. A first-rate military thriller. Thomas Gaughan
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