My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a somewhat complicated thriller that has fast scenes with a lot of background that does slow the pace of the story at times.
We begin the mystery with the murder of Sister Agnes, a kindly middle aged nun working on an orphanage. And lets be honest, is there any better way of starting a mystery than with the death of a good nun? Then we are introduced to Luke Hamilton, working for the UK embassy in Paris despite his not having ‘typical’ English looks. Luke was adopted by his parents from Sister Agnes’ orphanage and was very close to her, making her death quite the blow. Then we are introduced to Bernard Fautrier, one of the main characters in the book who apparently saves Luke’s life from not one but two assassination attempts. It is then revealed that Luke isn’t who he thought he was, yet nor is it possible to be sure of who he might be and finding the truth might take all the courage he has. This leads to a story that takes place in several cities across central Europe. New characters are introduced and dispatched at high speed. There is a romance storyline but it is subtle and not the central theme of the novel.
Set in the turbulent times of 1937, there is some historical knowledge in the book to underscore the story. Luke becomes involved with a group smuggling Jewish families out of Nazi Germany, the war in Spain and the rise of Stalin in Russia are all touched upon, but not a great deal of detail is given apart from the basics.
If you can suspend belief that an amateur can outwit professional assassins and the like, this is a very entertaining read.