Top critical review
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on August 12, 2016
This novel begins in the restaurant at the Hotel Brittania Rua Rodrigues in Lisbon, Portugal, on 3 May 1945.
Allen Dulles, deputy director for Europe of the Office of Strategic Services, was meeting with Cletus Frade, a Marine Corps Reserve Lieutenant Colonel detached for service in South America, and also with the OSS.
Dulles then said that it was more important, and so did Deputy Director off the OSS for the Western hemisphere, Colonel Graham, that we have a talk before you returned to Argentina. Our war, Clete, Graham's, mine and yours, is just about to begin.
Unfortunately, this is followed by way too many pages of detrimental factors, such as continued use of titles, of both German and American officers, and extended descriptions of meaningless events and activities that require skimming to find content.
This novel ends with Cletus Frade receiving orders,(while at Tempelhof Air Base in Berlin, to avoid interrogation by the Secret Service), from Captain R. G. Prentice, while on the Destroyer USS Bartram Greene, to transport him to NAS Pensacola, where he is the subject of an investigation by Naval Intelligence.
He is advised that he is restricted to certain areas of the ship, and which officers to speak with.
During the voyage, Captain Prentiss read a message that had been transmitted to the destroyer from a Colonel Wallace to Captain Prentiss that Clete was a good guy, and should be treated accordingly.
For the rest of the voyage, there were no restrictions placed on him.
When the ship arrived in Pensacola, Captain Prentiss pointed to a Navy officer on the pier, and told Clete that he was his welcoming party.
The Navy officer was Lieutenant Commander McGrory, of the Judge Advocate Corps, and advised Clete that he had been appointed to serve as his defense counsel, and indicated that a car had been made available.
After they rode away, Clete asked McGrory what he was going to counsel, and McGrory replied that certain allegations had been laid against him, which he would learn about during formal proceedings.
As they approached the main gate to Pensacola, Clete turned to McGrory, and asked him for further information about the formal proceedings. McGrory replied that no charges had yet been made, so his status was that of a Marine officer returning from service abroad.
After many more pages of extended discussions of meaningless events and activities,
He as at his home, where he was staying with his family, when there was a knock on the door. When it was opened, a man said that he was looking for Lieutenant Colonel Cletus Frade. After Clete said that he was Frade, the man identified himself. "My name is Portman. I'm Rear Admiral Sourer's aide de camp. The admiral desires that you attend him immediately, in uniform, and bring with you sufficient uniforms for a week."
There was a Navy staff car waiting outside. Before they left, Clete asked Portman where they were going. Portman replied that he couldn't get into that.
After they left, Clete again asked the same question, and was told that they were going to the airport.
There was a Constellation at the airport. Portman and Frade entered, where Clete met Admiral Sourer. Then they flew to Tempelhof Air Base, in Berlin.
There was a squad o senior army brass waiting at the foot of the stairs when they disembarked. One of the Army officers was Lieutenant General I. P. White.
Admiral Sourer met the officers, then climbed into a 1940 Packard Limousine. The other officers climbed into armored cars, then they all drove away.
Clete then asked, again, where they were going, and was told they were going to Potsdam, to a place called Sans Souci, then told Clete he wouldn't tell him why they were going there.
Then they arrived, they were led into a small room. Admiral Sourer was alone in the room. Right after the door closed, another room opened, and President Harry S. Truman entered. Admiral Sourer introduced him to Colonel Frade.
Then the President told Frade "If I told you that yesterday afternoon I told Marshal Stalin that we had two new bombs, each with the explosive power of 20,000 pounds of TNT, and I couldn't detect one iota of surprise in him, what would you say?"
Clete replied that what the President told wasn't news to him, that there were Soviet spies all over the Manhattan Project.
Then the President told him that on September twentieth, an Executive Order would be issued disbanding the OSS. And when word got out, everyone from J. Edgar Hoover to Secretary Morgenthau everyone would get him into a corner, and let him know how happy they would be to take the OSS was so useless, why did thy want it. So, I went to Admiral Sourer, and asked him.
"The Admiral told me that they didn't hate the OSS. They hated Wild Bill Donovan, because he was independent, and they couldn't control him."
"Well colonel Frade, that's not going to happen. I am now convinced, especially because of the trouble the Russians are certain to cause us, a month or so after the OSS is shut down, that I am going to set up a new organization, call it the Intelligence, Agency, or something like that, and I decided that Admiral Sourer. Which brings me to you, Colonel. Allen Dulles has convinced me that we can't afford to lose General Gehlen and his intelligence assets. Can you prevent that from happening until Admiral Sourer is up and running with his new Agency?"
"I'll do my best, Mr. President, I really think I can."
Thank you, Colonel. I hope to see you again, and soon. But right now, the thing to do is get you back to Argentina, out of sight. Admiral Sourer, can we send him on that fancy airplane of your?"
Admiral Sourer replied that that was not a problem.
"Have a nice flight, Colonel", the President said.
There are additional, important things said and done in the rest of this novel, but not important enough to detail here.
And, there is plenty of excitement at the end of this novel, despite the many detrimental factors.
Unfortunately, there are also many, many pages of the same detrimental factors throughout the entire middle of this novel. So many, that this novel is not very exciting to read, just OK.