The Athens Assignment David Boyle

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I don’t usually do this, but I have held back on this review until I’d read the first book in the series, The Berlin Affair.

Why? Because from the start of The Athens Assignment I felt like I had started reading a really good story half way through. Both books together are just 240 pages, the length of a good book.

The Athens Affair is the story of Xanthe Schneider, a journalist for an American magazine, working in London in the early 1940’s at the height of the Blitz.

Xanthe is also a part time code breaker at Bletchley Park, and occasional agent working in occupied Europe.

The story is very much of the type I used to read as a young lad in the Commando Books or Warlord Comics, except these stories are written in an adult manner.

The Athens Assignment sees Xanthe returning to Europe, this time to Greece, in an attempt to help the British Forces locate and destroy the German battleship The Bismarck.

David Boyle makes a great job of taking actual events and weaving a fictional plot around them.

The invasions of Greece by the Germans, the threat posed by the huge battleship Bismarck, the frantic attempts by the British Forces to find and destroy it before it wreaks havoc on the North Atlantic convoys.

He uses names that all readers will recognise to give the story even more credence, with Alan Turing and Ian Fleming making appearances.

This book, or should I say both books, took me right back to the first thing that got me hooked on reading. Second World War fiction woven around actual events.

I started by saying I felt like I had come in half way through a story.

Well, I’ll end by saying I hope I finished the book at least two thirds of the way through a bigger one.

 

Pages: 119

Publishers: Endeavour

Available on Amazon

Ghosts of the Past Harry McCillion

Ghosts Of The Pasts       Harry McCallion.

I’m going to start this review with a quote from one of the characters in the book.

“A mysterious Russian Countess – a sinister killer – and two dead diplomats – It sounds like something out of a novel”

Well it is something out of a novel. It’s out of this one, and being as this is said within the first couple of chapters it’s not even a spoiler.

This book is great. McCallion has used the mid-nineties era to set a book in a very unstable world.

Different factions of the Irish terrorist organisation of the PIRA are at war, some in favour of peace with England others definitely not.

The Soviet empire has crumbled since the knocking down of the Berlin Wall and the coming of independence of some of the soviet states.

In England the mysterious Countess Natasha Romanov is in a bitter battle with Ukrainian Mafioso in an attempt to capture the lucrative drug trade in Europe.

In Ireland the IRA are fighting amongst themselves and all the time a lone assassin ties the factions together but whose side is he on.

London Met Police officers, aided by DI Nevin Brown of the Royal Ulster Constabulary are investigating murders across the capital. Are they all connected to the feuds being played out between the groups from the ex-soviet nations and the feuds between the warring factions of the Irish Terrorists.

Whose side should the Police take, is there any friendly faces amongst the different factions.

MI5 seem to be standing back and letting things play out, much to the detriment of the investigating officers and their safety.

This book starts of like a sprinter coming out of the blocks and doesn’t slow down all the way to the end.

One of my favourite authors of all time is Robert Ludlum. Well for me Harry McCallion is every bit as good.

I will be looking out for more of his books in the future.

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