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Sunday, April 02, 2017

Review: Black Orchestra by JJ Toner

Lt. Kurt Muller, nephew of the infamous Reinhold Heydrich, reports for work at the Abwehr one morning only to discover the body of his colleague, an ostensible suicide. It was certainly a peculiar way to kill oneself, pointing the gun to the back of his head before pulling the trigger. Odd indeed and Kurt starts asking a few questions, wondering why the Kripo is taking such little interest in the case. He’s soon promoted to the translation section where they receive all incoming signals which are then translated and distributed. The Gestapo takes an interest in Kurt’s meddling and it’s only because of his relationship to Heydrich that he’s not shot.

Kurt is sent to Ireland, where he was born, to find out what happened to their Irish agents. There he learns of the “Black Orchestra,” originally a college chess club, to which his father (his mother was German) and several others now prominent in the Abwehr had belonged. He finds himself enmeshed in a vicious political battle to take down Hitler but also for control of the Reich’s security forces orchestrated by his uncle.

It’s often a convoluted story with a few gaps but a fun read that barrels along.

Some nice similes: :”Our conversation was like a loose clutch” i.e., slow to start and jerky.”
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