A Bitter Field by Jack Ludlow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Firstly the cover of the book is not exactly enticing, its pale green and shadowy buildings with and imposed black figure is supposed to refer to the hidden world of espionage, but it is more reminiscent of the books and stories from the 20s to the 40s with characters like Bulldog Drummond, or Braddock from The Rover and Wizard!
The story is set just before Czechoslovakia was invaded by Nazi German on 15 March 1939. It is also the phoney war period in which the various European countries were jockeying for position to try and placate Hitler’s demands and to try and stop another World War.
It also supposedly shows the infighting which was happening between the various intelligence divisions inside the United Kingdom, and also that old red herring of an Irish man in a position of power with divided loyalties. The main characters ‘on the side of good’ are Cal Jardine and Per Lanchester, with a lovely lady in the guise of Corrie (a fledgeling journalist).
The story moves from France to London, to Czechslovakia’s main city to the border near to Germany. The action is pedestrian, almost predictable, but for all that you almost get to love the characters for the foibles.
A light read, something to easily pass an afternoon
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