- File Size: 769 KB
- Print Length: 322 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: JJ Toner; 1 edition (July 14, 2016)
- Publication Date: July 14, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01I5XB2UU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,763 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Serpent's Egg: WW2 Spy Thriller (The Red Orchestra Book 1) Kindle Edition
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“Germany was like a hospital patient emerging from a coma. The Nazis had injected new life into the country, but she had a new sickness – a patriotic fever that infected everyone. Brownshirts roamed the streets of Berlin. Armed with sticks and cudgels they hunted in groups of four or five, picking on anyone they considered weak, foreign, politically deviant or Jewish.”
This quote from the book is disturbing and a good description of Nazi Germany before the Second World War, when this story starts.
Anna and Max want to marry, but because of the Nuremburg Laws pertaining to marriage, this is all but impossible. Anna is considered a Mischling, or someone of mixed blood. She is Catholic but her grandparents were Jewish and that makes her an “undesirable.” Their marriage is denied.
An acquaintance, Madame Krauss, says she’ll try and help Max & Anna. Unbeknownst to Max, the request for help goes all the way to Mrs. Emmy Goering, wife of Herman Goering, Commander of the German Luftwaffe. This is humorous and ironic as Goering is an anti-Semite, and he is very close to Adolf Hitler. When Max arrives at the Department of Ethnic and Racial Affairs he gets permission to marry Anna but there are strings attached: he must infiltrate the Red Orchestra, a Communist-led resistance group, and learn the location of their Hectograph. The Gestapo wants to stop the printing and distribution of the group’s anti-Nazi leaflets. Once he agrees to this Max, his life will never be the same.
One of the subplots in this story -- the plight of Rosen family-- is particularly poignant. Mr Rosen is brutally attacked by the Brownshirts and his shop is trashed. Without his business their funds are dwindling. The Rosens become prisoners in their own house, as they are too afraid to leave their home. One of the members of the Red Orchestra, Greta, brings them food and supplies to sustain them. Anna also helps the family and grows attached to their daughter Sophie, who is forbidden to go to school because she is Jewish.
JJ Toner’s characters are diverse and noteworthy. Some members of the Red Orchestra are communists, some, like Father Vigo (an Italian born Catholic priest) are not. Libertas Schulze-Boysen, a former actress and good friend of Emmy Goering, and her husband Harro (an official in the Reich Aviation Ministry) also unlikely members of the Resistance. Many of the characters in this story were real people.
JJ Toner does a fabulous job of lacing fact and fiction together. I do not often give a five-star rating, but this story surprised me, educated me, and entertained me. There was never a dull moment. Well done.
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