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Monday, April 30, 2018

Historical Fiction: World War II

            Although the war ended more than seventy years ago, novels depicting this time are relevant in today’s society.

            The Paris Architect, written by Charles Belfoure, is the story of a Parisian architect who is paid handsomely to devise secret hiding spaces for Jews in his Nazi-occupied country but struggles with risking his life for a cause towards which he is ambivalent. A personal failure brings their suffering home.

            Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, written by Jamie Ford, finds a present-day Henry Lee looking back at his youth in Seattle during World War II, when artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps are uncovered, reminding him of the young girl Keiko he met at that time.

            The Nightingale, written by Kristin Hannah, finds two French sisters reunited when the elder’s husband is sent to fight in World War II. Vianne and Isabelle find their bond and their respective beliefs tested by a world that changes in horrific ways.

            Lilac Girls, written by Martha Hall Kelly, tells the story of three women whose lives converge at the Ravensbreuck concentration camp as one resolves to help from her post at the French consulate, one becomes a courier in the Polish resistance, and one takes a German government medical position.

            A Thread of Grace, written by Mary Doria Russell, is about Claudette Blum, a fourteen-year-old, and her father. They are fleeing across the Alps into Italy with thousands of other Jewish refugees seeking safety, only to find an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allied forces, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italians struggling to survive the harsh realities of World War II.


Friday, April 20, 2018

More Sensational Spy Stories

            Read some or all of these thrillers to see how the experts handle intelligence operations.
            In The Kremlin’s Candidate: A Novel, written by Jason Matthews, Dominika Egorova overhears a Kremlin plot to install a spy in a high intelligence position so that the Russians can identify CIA assets in Moscow. She launches a desperate mole hunt, only to be exposed and arrested.
            In The Lost Order, written by Steve Berry, agent Cotton Malone becomes involved when rival factions of a clandestine organization begin a race to find billions in treasure hidden by their forerunners. Malone finds the case complicated by his personal ties to the Knights and a scheming politician.
            The Prisoner: A John Wells Novel, is written by Alex Berenson. Here, John Wells is forced to resume an old undercover identity as an al-Qaida jihadi to unmask a CIA mole. He gets close to an ISIS prisoner in a secret Bulgarian prison, where he confronts the profoundly cruel and ambitious plans of increasingly formidable terrorist organizations.
            The Quantum Spy: A Thriller, is written by David Ignatius. It tells the story of CIA agent Harris Chang, who uncovers a mole in a top secret American research lab where they are racing to develop a quantum computer before China does.
            In A Single Spy, written by William Christie, a World War II Russian spy with divided loyalties goes deep undercover in Nazi Germany and uncovers an assassination plot with the potential to change history.
            In Three Envelopes, written by Nir Hezroni, an Israeli intelligence agent receives a notebook written by a rogue agent and assassin who supposedly has been dead for years. He begins to investigate whether the rogue agent was a psychopath or actually part of a lethal, top secret operation.
            Find these and many more spy stories at your library.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sensational Spy Stories

            Return to the genre that promises plenty of intrigue and bravado. Here are some recently published spy stories, sure to keep you up at night to find out if the hero will triumph over the forces of evil.
            In Act of Betrayal, written by Matthew Dunn, former intelligence operative Will Cochrane investigates the poisoning of a CIA agent who uncovered a mysterious situation involving the assassination of a terrorist financier.
            Agent in Place: A Gray Man Novel, written by Mark Greaney, Court Gentry accepts a contract to abduct the mistress of a Syrian dictator in order to obtain any information she may possess. Then he discovers that the woman has given birth to the dictator’s only son; he must retrieve the child safely out of Syria in order to guarantee her cooperation.
             In Cold Harbor, written by Matthew Fitzsimmons for his Gibson Vaughn series, former Marine and gifted hacker Gibson Vaughn is free after a period of brutal isolation in a CIA black-site prison. However, he has no idea where he was or how much time he has lost. Struggling to maintain his grip on reality, he races to return to the life he left behind.
            Death at Nuremberg: A Clandestine Operations Novel, written by W.E.B. Griffin, tells the story of special agent James Cronley, Jr. who is assigned to the Nuremberg war trials to protect the chief prosecutor from a rumored kidnapping. Instead, he finds himself fighting wars on multiple fronts as he also hunts down an organization that helps Nazi war criminals escape to South America.
            In Ends of the Earth, by Robert Goddard, World War I flying ace turned secret service operative James Maxted travels to Tokyo to uncover the truth behind his British Diplomat father’s suspicious death. His goal: to take down the German spymaster he believes to be responsible.
            Forever and a Death, by Donald E. Westlake, features wealthy businessman Richard Curtis, who loses everything when Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule and vengefully plots to use a construction technology to destroy the city and steal its gold. Westlake originally wrote the storyline for a James Bond film, but it was not used for political reasons.