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In the Mouth of the Lion Paperback – April 9, 2016
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"A thorough and wildly entertaining piece of fiction based in real fact. The progress of the story is rapid, but Guenther is also a patient writer, and incredibly attentive to detail, making this fictive narrative engrossing in a way that history books rarely are. Yet at the same time, the novel possesses the weight of history, as the book is so meticulously researched. In the Mouth of the Lion is insightful, and the quality of the editing, writing and research makes this a stunning novel from an established and highly competent author." Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★½
"In the Mouth of the Lion is a very well-written, historical suspense novel. The pacing is superb...a tremendous amount of research...Characters come to life very vividly...with detail and perception...as well as historical accuracy...an amazing job of bringing this slice of history to life in this moving and suspense-filled novel." -Judge, 24th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
About the Author
J Guenther is a Southern California chemical engineer and playwright, a graduate of USC and the author of fifty short stories, seventeen plays, five novels, three computer books, and a hand-crafted poetry book. One of his books was nominated for “Best Novel” at the 2005 Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His plays have been performed at seven Southern California venues. His "Prisoner of Suggins Holler" won a prize in a 2010 short play competition. He has patented two puzzles and loves puzzles of all sorts, from mysteries to cryptic crosswords to human psychology.
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Unbeknownst to them, through a fluke, Allen Dulles, OSS Chief in the Bern, Switzerland, office, gets wind of the plan. With the help of Mary Bancroft, OSS analyst, they seek to capitalize on it. What they need is a neutral doctor.
A very dangerous mission to be sure, which will take them into the mouth of the lion.
I found this historical thriller to be a fun read. It is not quite as "thriller-ish" as it could be, but it has a very interesting plot line. In the Appendix D: Book Notes, J. Guenther writes, "Let no one say that this book is inaccurate. It's based on so many non-facts, that 'inaccurate' hardly describes it. It is not intended as a history of Hitler or Jung or WWII. Most of it is factual, but certain things have been unabashedly altered in the interest of cinematic or literary impact or simplicity. One key simplification: The OSS was created from its predecessor, the Coordinator of Information (COI), on June 13, 1942, but the office at Herrengasse 23 wasn't rented until Dulles moved to Bern for the duration of the war in November, 1942."
I love author's notes of all kinds, and enjoyed Guenther's. Appendix A has biographies of some of the real people in the book, including Dulles and Bancroft and the famous psychoanalyst, Carl Jung. Appendix B is a short history of Hitler's Third Front; how his obsession with eradicating the Jews took manpower and equipment away from the actual war. Appendix C: Hitler's 'Voice' is about the very real fact that Hitler believed there was a Voice that warned him of dangers. An extensive Bibliography rounding off the appendices.
The writing style is good, though some characterizations are a little simplistic. But overall, "In the Mouth of the Lion" is a solid 4 stars for me.
I received a free paperback of "In the Mouth of the Lion".
Guenther's research is so thorough, that I was easily swept up in the gloom and doom of the period, and the personalities, as we traversed from the sanity of Switzerland to Hitler's paranoid Lowensburg lair. There are sufficient touch-points with authentic history to give "The Mouth of the Lion" a sense that all was, indeed, plausible. This made the novel a compelling read. By the way, I strongly recommend readers devote time to read the books Appendix. It is most interesting, as it delineates where reality and fiction meet.
Of course, Hitler remains a loathsome creature. Having an imperfect childhood (though, I must say the facts revealed by the author are eye-opening!) were no justification for the malignancy he foisted on us all. However, I found this fictional version of Jung's (and the author's) prognosis of the fuhrer's mental state to be genuinely interesting--especially the role of Hitler's "voice", based on 'the Guardienne Hypothesis'.
Especially enjoyed the italicized 'thought bubbles' of Carl Jung as he processed Hitler's grudging responses, as great doctor's insights are interesting. A clever technique—the italicized thoughts—when expressly used during the psychiatric sessions, but overused elsewhere in the story. The support cast of real historical figures, placed in thriller-like roles, gave the novel pace. It’s a real adventure with cinematic flair. There’s nothing dull here; the session between the dictator and the shrink were spellbinding. Treat yourself to an original read.
The unfolding of the story is presented with skill and suspense. Readers interested in another possible angle for World War II and the many weights and measures that caused Hitler to tick may anticipate, Guenther’s detective work In the Mouth of the Lion, an investigative page turner.
This WWII mystery features two prominent characters: The famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung and Mary Bancroft, an analyst, translator and interrogator for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Switzerland .
Hitler’s generals, suspicious of his sanity, put in motion a strategy to uncover his mind set. Carl Jung is the reluctant draftee brought in to examine Hitler’s mind, the excuse being, ‘to relieve Hitler’s chronic insomnia.’
The Allies learn of the situation in time to prepare Jung with a briefing to help him while he probes Hitler’s mind. Jung, is asked to use the opportunity to subtly interrogate Hitler for the allies to help defeat the Germans. Jung works to accomplish this, all under the hot glare and scrutiny of Der Fuhrer.
Mary Bancroft, a wannabe spy, is injected into the game plan by chance. As an adventurer, she helps and successfully and capably saves Jung by using her wit, charm and strategy to fill in the blanks.
The interview between Jung and Hitler is chilling. The author, having done his research, exposes a range of possibilities for the bizarre workings of Hitler’s’s mind.