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Kingdoms Fall - The Korniloff Affair Kindle Edition
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First, a confession: I am an avid reader and, for some years, I had resentfully come to accept that "all the good books in history have already been written." As I read many of the latest mainstream "hits" in recent years, I noticed that they were often ill-researched, poorly planned, nauseatingly oversentimental, excessively and obviously moralized, and usually relied on contrived plot twists to advance the story.
This is not so with Edward Parr's Kingdoms Fall - The Korniloff Affair. I actually double-checked the publication date to confirm that it was written in 2014, and not half a century ago. This is not a joke - I actually did this.
Right from the prologue, we are thrust into the middle of World War I, in 1916. As a sort of preface, I feel it necessary to make one thing clear. For any readers who may harbor a sort of instinctive phobia of historical fiction, I assure you: this book reads nothing like a dull history lesson.
Far from it: the characters are wonderfully alive, and impressively complex. And we are given a zoomed glimpse of them through every step of their journey. We feel, intimately, young James Wilkins' ragged desperation to keep his beloved Emma safe and closeby in the midst of a tumultuous battle that threatens their newfound relationship. We endure the same exhaustion that James Wilkins endures as he attempts to carry a number of burdens: his constant pursuit of the German spy named Dunn, the protection of Emma from the riotous condition of Petrograd, his mission to persuade and recruit a neutral Romania in the fight against Germany and her allies, and so much more. We feel Gresham's thirst for recompense against Dunn. We sense the immense gravity of competing allegiances and feel, in our chests, the unimaginable consequences that should come to pass if Wilkins should fail, if Dunn should succeed.
Parr's writing is illustrative, colorful, and tasteful, giving life to a deadly war. His research into the era is thorough, as evinced by every aspect of the text: from the clothing (a "suffocating array of crinoline, velour, and brown twill") to the style of the buildings, from the musical references (Haydn!) to the formality of the dialogue - every aspect hearkens back to the world of 1916, constantly serving to add immersion to the story.
It is difficult to describe here, in the span of a single review, the breadth and depth of the world of Kingdsom Fall - The Korniloffs Affair. I am left with nothing left to say except - read it. I wholeheartedly recommend it, and I impatiently await the next in his series.
In “Kingdoms Fall - The Korniloff Affair”, we follow two British secret agents/soldiers whose missions intertwine.
Agent James Wilkins is sent to Munch to seek out the Irish revolutionary Sir Roger Casement.
David Gresham is sent on a secret mission to the German port of Lübeck.
The fun begins as Gresham foils a plot to transport arms to Ireland.
Wilkins learns of a German agent named Dunn who has been working undercover to undermine the British Empire. But Wilkins and Gresham find themselves standing in front of British War Minister Kitchener who orders the two agents to work for his own intelligence services in France where a huge offensive force is being amassed at Somme River.
Gresham and Wilkins follow up with a mission to Roumania while they continue for the search for Dunn.
This is only the first act of the story of “The Korniloff Affair”. The book is epic, filled with plot twists and battles. It gives us a glimpse of it was to be soldier in the First World War.
Pick it up if you’re the kind of guy who’s into action, war stories, or looking for a great read on historic fiction.