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==Synopsis of the book:==
The Second World War has recently ended, and the Countess von Widerstand alias Anna Fehrbach career as a double agent is all but over. Regarded by many as the deadliest women in the World for all her Wartime activities and killings. This beautiful but lethal spy is feeling frustrated with her new secret life in the beautiful but for her mundane highland of Scotland. Her lover Clive Bartley of MI6 visits rarely and the most excitement she has had in a long time is learning to drive.
Old habits die hard and when the Russians discover her location they try to kill her for her part in trying to assassinate Stalin. This is unsuccessful as Anna outsmarts the men that want her dead. But it proves to her she cannot be safe and the British cannot protect her. So when an old friend Joe Andrews visits she agrees to join the American CIA. She agrees to try and flush out a Nazi cell living quietly in Brazil if after the task is complete, she will have their help and support in getting out $10 million worth of gold she hid for the Nazi's during the War and splitting the proceeds of this.
==My opinion of the book:==
I thought this was a very disappointing novel. To me a good adventure thriller should have you excited, mystery and enthralled, but this had none of those attributes. Instead I found it hard going, unbelievable and lacking any real depth. As well as this I got very confused with the characters and all in all I thought it just seemed like a fairytale rather than a thriller.
This contrasts with some of this authors work I have enjoyed already. But I must admit this is the first in the series about Anna Fehrbach that I have read. The series comprises so far of eight stories of which this is the sixth. Maybe it is partly my fault and I should have started with the first one, as I felt hopelessly out of touch when reading this one. I just find it amazing that a successful author of well over 100 novels can produce such a turgid and unbelievable story. Although in retrospect I have criticised him in the past for being too simplistic and shallow in 'Cold Country Hot Sun'. For an action packed thriller it was quite dull and very predicable.
The first really important factor that made me not enjoy the book was simply the story. Admittedly I know very little about the World of double agents and spying. But I have always believed spies are the most intelligent and cunning people around. In this story Anna Fehrbach ran rings around not only those trying to capture her but other famous secret organisations such as the CIA and the Third Reich. It seemed so unlikely to me that these organisations were run so incompetently.
As a result I found it difficult to relate to the story. It all appeared too rushed as no sooner had Anna arrived in Brazil but she was arranging a meeting with a group of Nazi's in hiding through placing an advertisement in the National paper saying she wanted to catch up with old friends. My question is, would a woman wanted by the Russians and now MI6 really reveal where she was knowing as she did that she was a wanted woman?
The longer the story continued the more unlikely and hard to believe I found it. As Anna seemed to take on the Russian Army single-handed and killed them at will. It really lacked depth and I never had any doubt that whatever she did she would be unharmed and successful. As a result of this there was no real suspense and excitement for me.
My second real criticism with the book was the real lack of depth about all the characters within it. Even the books lead character Anna was described in little detail and her two goals seemed to be to kill people and have sex. Yet you were told how intelligent she was yet she lacked any real dimensions to her personality. And very much in keeping with the general theme of the book she lacked any sensitivity, compassion or feelings, for anyone or anything.
I found matters even worse with the support characters. Initially I struggled to know who was on whose side and what their goals were. These support characters I found very hard to relate to because there was little in the way of the depth about them. They were just like names from organization admittedly I recognised but seemed as characterless as they did appear soulless.
I have been trying very hard to think of some positives about the book, the only one I think of is it was nice and short and so eventually I managed to wade my way throw it. I was even annoyed at the page layout!! I like there to be a break between different chapters, in this book a new chapter immediately followed the last line of the previous one.
Anyone who has read any of my views will know I usually have a lot to say about each book I read but for me this one does not warrant it, it was that bad. At present I could only find this book in the Hardback version, the paperback would be more competitively priced but still a waste of money in my view.
For me this was a rotten book. I did not enjoy it and would not recommend it to anyone. This author has written far better novels so try one of them instead. The story was hard to get into, lacking any real depth in both it and its characters and I found the lead character to be unbelievable and difficult to relate to.
Hardback version only:
Publisher: Severn House
About the author: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/n/christopher-nicole
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
@CPTDANIELS September 2009