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Wednesday 19 Jun 2024

The Unlikely Spy
Jennifer Ramirez

Daniel Silva's first novel, “The Unlikely Spy,” is a was a best seller turned into a motion picture, so I was expecting a good read when I picked up this book.

“The Unlikely Spy”, by Daniel Silva, is a fictional, fast paced page turner, story of a British professor who is enlisted into the British Intelligence Service via his friendship with Winston Churchill and whose actions are instrumental in preserving the secret location of the Allied Invasion in 1944.

The story starts out with the unlikely murder of a Suffolk painter and the death of a New York socialite. The first two chapters capture the feel of the late 30s and early 40s as WWII was raging in Europe and people were just coming to grips of what was going on in Germany. Silva slowly brings in each new character without letting the reader really understand how they are all connected. Chapters jump from various places in England to Germany and back again, revealing a bit more of the story in small tidbits.

Vicary is a spy catcher - he does his job well until realizing that a small group of German sleeper agents trained by Abwehr officer Kurt Vogel are still in Britain. The threat is that the German agents could discover the secrets to the invasion and allow the Germans to setup a proper defense line or call the invasion off and the invasion would fail.

Chief among the German spies is Anna Kate­rina von Steiner, known in Britain as Dutch tourist Catherine Blake. Catherine is an attrac­tive woman and a top notch spy who has been a sleeper agent in London for six years; now she has been activated by Vogel.

The plot twists and turns very cleverly and the end­ing caught me by surprise. Even though this is a big book, the narrative is told masterfully, the twists keep coming and it's hard to stop reading.

There are a lot of peripheral characters and it is sometimes hard to keep up with each one, but as the story progresses the characters seem to gel and run smoothly. I found the book very intriguing and was totally involved in the story.

Silva establishes the dangerous, murderous, nature of the German super spy in the opening chapter, having her kill a woman whose identity she then assumes. Then he maintains the uncertainty, and thus the tension of the story, as Vicary and his assistant seem always one step behind the clever German spy as she proceeds on her mission.

The book is based on true facts about the war mixed with some fiction to create a plot that is exciting, suspenseful and full of mystery and intrigue. Every time you think you know where Silva is taking you, he throws in another twist. Each side is clever and very deceptive, so you don't feel as if Silva is playing favorites to either the Germans or the Brits. You just do not know who will outsmart whom at the end.

The characters in "“The Unlikely Spy”" are well drawn, they each are painted in shades of gray – the German spies have some redeem­ing qualities and the English MI5 agents are not depicted as saints doing Gd's work.

Even though you know how the war turns out, the outcome for the two main characters Blake and Vicary are up in the air until the very last few pages. The climax is well written and suspenseful. I enjoyed Silva's writing style and the way the story unfolded. If you like stories about WWII, you will find the book interesting. He is not as heavy as Jack Higgins and feels a lot like reading a Ken Follett novel. “The Unlikely Spy” is a great read, managing to keep the suspense alive to the very end.

Jennifer Ramirez, known as Jenny, has reviewed and edited for 5+ years. Originally from Toronto, she grew up performing and competing in rhythmic gymnastics. Jenny enjoys reviewing movies, books and music albums. She describes herself as funny and righteous, with a 'go that extra mile' attitude. Her philosophy is quite simple: try to live life to the fullest Jenny writes that hr passion is books. She reads and reviews current and back-list literary fiction, crime fiction, thrillers, occasionally science fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She also loves music. She's a huge fan of The Maine and All Time Low! Joy is her favorite word and creativity is something she can't live without.

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