Lily of the Field

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A Lily of the Field (Inspector Troy Series)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lawton has divided his atypical seventh Inspector Troy thriller (after Second Violin) in two. The first part, "Audacity," spans the years from 1934 to 1946, ranging from Vienna before the Anschluss to the site of the A-bomb test in the New Mexico desert. A straight historical narrative, it includes some powerful scenes, especially those at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, where musical prodigy Méret Voytek has been incarcerated, despite her not being Jewish. Robert Oppenheimer's role in developing America's nuclear weapons program proves relevant to the book's second half. In part two, "Austerity," set in 1948 London, Insp. Frederick Troy looks into the gunshot murder in the Underground of André Skolnik, a painter suspected of being a Soviet sleeper agent. Voytek, who survived Auschwitz, turns out to have a link to Skolnik. Those expecting a conventional crime novel should be prepared for two distinct stories with overlapping characters, only one of which involves a criminal investigation. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This is Lawton's seventh Inspector Troy novel (after Second Violin), but chronologically it is the third in the series. In 1934 Vienna, ten-year-old Meret Voytek becomes the cello protégé of Victor Rosen. Rosen flees to London ahead of the Nazis, but Meret remains, rising in musical circles until the Germans send her to Auschwitz in 1944 to play in the camp orchestra. The Soviets rescue her only to blackmail her and send her to London as a spy. Meret collaborates with Rosen and Hungarian physicist Karel Szabo, who's working with Robert Oppenheimer on the atomic bomb project. Troy enters the picture in 1946 when a murder investigation leads him to Rosen, Meret, and their musical performance code. Throughout this series, Lawton skillfully portrays the mood and stark reality of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, from concentration camp to freedom in London, from prewar glitter to postwar dreariness and rationing. VERDICT Legitimately compared to John Le Carré (although Alan Furst and Philip Kerr fans might enjoy him as well), Lawton vividly limns a world weariness contrasted with earth-shaking historical events, all the while unraveling a complex and compelling mystery that will not be quickly forgotten. Highly recommended.—Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611855913
  • Publisher: Grove
  • Publication date: 5/28/2012

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    Another Inspector Troy novel that is as good as all the others.

    Another Inspector Troy novel that is as good as all the others. What a wonderful series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Lilly

    Slender with perfect curves golden wavey blonde hair full lips and bright green eyes. Im 15

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    Anna

    Want to come to my house in annas village first result?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    Lily

    Sits sadly watching the sea

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    Very intriguing story. Must

    Must read!

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  • Posted November 5, 2010

    An Adornment

    A LILY OF THE FIELD - John Lawton


    The prologue is set in a park in London, either in February or March, 1948. Two men meet to discuss the future of one. "It had not been the hardest winter..War. Winter. He had thought he might not live through either. He had..This winter would not kill him. The last would. And all the others that had preceded it." Viktor Rosen had come to tell Andre Skolnik, someone he had known for much of his life, that he had to stop. It is an audacious statement. Andre Skolnik responds, bringing Viktor back to their real world, "You cannot just stop. You cannot simply quit. What was it you think you joined all those years ago?..the Communist Party of the Soviet Union simply does not work that way."

    The first section of the book is termed "Audacity". It is February, 1934 and in Vienna those who have been paying attention are preparing for the change that is inevitable. Hitler has taken over Germany and it is only a matter of time before he claims Austria, especially Vienna, as part of his Thousand-Year Reich. Some German Jews have come to Vienna thinking there would be safety and for a few years, it seemed this would be so. Viktor Rosen is one of the most famous pianists in Europe. Imre Voytek arranges for Rosen to give his ten-year old daughter, Meret, music lessons. Meret is a prodigy, a cellist whose second instrument is the piano. Viktor is a pianist whose second instrument is the cello. The music lessons will impact their lives.

    Three years later, Viktor flees to England before the Germans march into Austria. Meret's life has centered around her lessons with Viktor but very soon after the Anschluss, she realizes just how prescient Viktor was. The youth orchestra becomes part of the Hitler Youth and Meret willingly goes along with the rules until, one day, a chance encounter with a boy from the orchestra pulls her into the Nazi machine. Meret is transported to Auschwitz where her talent saves her life. She becomes the cellist for the Ladies' Orchestra of Auschwitz. When the Russians advance on the camp at the end of the war, Meret is protected because even the Russians know who she is.

    The second section of the book is "Austerity". Meret is re-united with Viktor in England after she has spent time in Paris. Her talent and Viktor's combine to bring them the same adulation they had received in Vienna. But, although the victors in the war, England is a difficult place to live. Everything is still rationed and life is not easy but Meret and Viktor are established as part of that class of people those talents set them apart from, and above, their new countrymen.

    It is in England that Freddie and Rod Troy come into the book. Freddie is called to investigate the murder of a painter, Andre Skolnik. There are no clues, no witnesses so Freddie asks his brother, Rod, if anyone in the ex-pat community knows who he is. When Skolnik is identified, the Troy brothers find their lives becoming more complicated.

    The lives of Viktor and Meret run on a parallel path with that of Karel Szabo, an Hungarian physicist, who was interred on the Isle of Man with Rod Troy. Szabo is taken to Canada and then to the United States to work on the Manhattan Project. At the end of the war, he, too, comes to London with a head full of secrets that both sides in the new Cold War want desperately.

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  • Posted August 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    great historical mystery

    "Audacity". In 1934 as Germany turns increasingly violent against minorities, Vienna continues to be a sea of music as ten years old music prodigy Meret Voytek and her teacher Viktor Rosen can testify. However, over the next decade, the Nazi assault across the continent destroys the fine arts. Although she is not Jewish, cellist Meret Voytek ends up in Auschwitz where she survives until the concentration camp is liberated.

    "Austerity". In 1948 someone murders Russian artist Andre Skolnik in the London Underground. Police Inspector Frederick Troy leads the investigation and quickly finds circumstantial evidence that leads to the probability that the victim was a Soviet sleeper agent awaiting his assignment. Troy also uncovers a tie between the concentration camp survivor Voytek, and the alleged Soviet spy Skolnik, but the motive remains out of reach.

    The latest Inspector Troy historical mystery (see Second Violin) is a great tale that ironically leaves the series star as a second chair support role to the star cellist. The story line is actually two interrelated novellas with the tie being Voytek. Readers will enjoy this profound tale that takes the audience from the beginning of the Nazi aggression into the beginning of the Cold War with the police procedural only occurring in the second half.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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