His Majesty's Hope (Maggie Hope Series #3)

His Majesty's Hope (Maggie Hope Series #3)

by Susan Elia MacNeal


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345536730
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/14/2013
Series: Maggie Hope Series , #3
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 81,880
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Susan Elia MacNeal is the Barry Award–winning and Edgar, Dilys, and Macavity Award–nominated author of the Maggie Hope mysteries, including Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, and The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and child.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Maggie Hope was feeling her way through thick darkness. She was panting after shimmying up a rickety drainpipe, knocking out a screen in an upper-story window, avoiding several trip wires, and then sliding silently onto the floor of a dark hallway. She took a deep breath and rose to her feet, every nerve alert.

Beneath her foot, a parquet floorboard creaked. Oh, come now, she thought. She waited for a moment, slowing her breathing, feeling her heart thunder in her chest. All around her was impenetrable black. The only sounds were the creaks of an ancient manor house.


All clear.

Maggie could feel dampness under her arms and hot drops of sweat trickling down the small of her back. Aware of each and every sound, she continued down the hall until she reached the home's library. The door was locked. Well, of course it is, Maggie thought. She picked the lock in seconds with one of her hairpins.

Once she'd ascertained no one was there, she turned on her tiny flashlight and made her way to the desk. The safe was supposed to be under it. And it was, just as her handler had described.

Good, she thought, sitting down on the carpet next to it. All right, let's talk. That was how she pictured safecracking: a nice little chat with the safe. It was how the Glaswegian safecracker Johnny Ramensky--released from prison to do his part for the war effort--had taught her. She spun the dial and listened. When she could hear the tumblers dropping into place--not hear, but feel the vibrations with her fingertips--she knew she had the first number correct. Now, for the second.

Biting her lower lip in concentration, immersed in safecracking, Maggie didn't hear the room's closet door open.

Out from the shadows emerged a man. He was tall and lean, and wearing an SS uniform. "You're never going to get away with this, you know," he lisped, like Paul Lukas in Confessions of a Nazi Spy.

Maggie didn't bother to answer, saving her energy for the last twist of the dial, the safe's thick metal door clicking open.

In a single move, she gathered the files from the safe under her arm and sprang to her feet. She turned the flashlight on the intruder. He squinted at the light in his eyes.

Maggie ran at him, kneeing him in the groin, hard. While he was doubled over, she elbowed him in the back of the head. Satisfied he was unconscious, she ran to the door, folders still in hand.

Except that he wasn't unconscious. An arm shot out and a hand grabbed Maggie's ankle. She fell, files sliding across the floor. She kicked his hand off and scrambled for the door.

He struggled to his feet and ran after her, catching and holding her easily with his left arm while he wrapped his right hand around her throat. She gasped for breath, trying to throw him off, but she couldn't get the proper leverage. He threw her up against the wall, pinning her--

"Stop! Stop!"

Then, again--the voice amplified by a megaphone, louder this time: "OH, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, STOP!"

The man's arms around Maggie relaxed and released her.

"What on earth . . . ?" she muttered in exasperation.

The hall's lights blinked on, bare bulbs in elaborate molded ceilings. It wasn't actually the home of a high-ranking Nazi in Berlin but the Beaulieu Estate in Hampshire, England. Beaulieu was considered the "finishing school" of SOE--Special Operations Executive--Winston Churchill's black ops division. Some of the recruits joked that SOE didn't stand for Special Operations Executive as much as "Stately 'omes of England," where all the training seemed to take place.

"What now?" Maggie grumbled and started to pace the hallway.

A severe-looking man in his late forties with a full head of gray hair walked out into the hall with a clipboard. "All right, Miss Hope--would you like to tell us what you did wrong?"

Maggie stopped, hands on hips. "Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Thornley." Maggie had to remember not to call him Thorny, which was his unfortunate nickname among the trainees. "I picked the lock, cracked the safe, took the folders, disarmed the enemy--"

"Disarmed. Didn't kill."

Maggie stopped herself from rolling her eyes. "I was just about to do the honors, sir."

"You were about to be killed yourself, young lady," Thornley barked.

The tall man in the SS uniform walked up behind Maggie, rubbing the back of his head. "Not bad technique there, Maggie. But they told me that if you only knocked me out and didn't fake-kill me I'd have to come after you again."

She gave him her most winning smile. "Sorry about the knee, Phil."

"Not at all."

Thornley was not amused. "Not killing the enemy is the worst mistake because . . ."

Maggie and Phil looked at each other.

From behind Thornley came a loud, high-pitched nasal voice: "Because the only safe enemy is a dead enemy."

"Oh, Colonel Gubbins--we didn't know you were there," Thornley said, as Gubbins stepped out of the shadows.

"There is nothing more deadly than an angry Nazi--remember that--you're not killing a person, you're killing a Nazi. A Kraut. A Jerry."

Colonel Colin McVean Gubbins was Head of Training and Operations at Beaulieu--a haunted-looking man with dark, recessed eyes, thick eyebrows, and wispy mustache. "Only sixty percent of agents dropped behind enemy lines survive, Miss Hope. You're the first woman to be dropped into Germany--the first woman to be dropped behind enemy lines in this war, period. Lord only knows what your odds are. We're taking an ungodly risk. And we want you to be prepared."

Maggie's frustration cooled. This wasn't about her--it was about the mission succeeding. "Yes, sir."

"You're going in to deliver a radio part to a resistance group in Berlin, and also to plant a bug at a high-ranking Abwehr officer's home. For whatever reason, the Prime Minister has asked for you for this mission specifically. And if you take out a Nazi or two in the process, so be it. This is no time to be squeamish or sentimental. Do you understand?"

The P.M. asked for me specifically for this mission! Maggie glowed with pride but tried to damp it down so Gubbins wouldn't notice. "I do, sir."

"With your fluency in German, and the skills you've been working on, you just might pull it off," he said. "But it's dangerous work and that's why you can leave nothing--and no one--to chance."

"Yes, sir." Maggie had dreamed about becoming a spy sent on a foreign mission. She'd dreamed of it working as a typist to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and she dreamed about it while she was acting as a maths tutor to the Princess Elizabeth. Now, finally, was her chance.

"Let's try it again," Gubbins said. "And this time, Miss Hope, I want you to finish the Nazi off. Kill the damned Kraut."

It was ungodly hot and humid, even though it was still early morning. The skies were dark and swollen with bloated clouds. Above the buildings soared the baroque verdigris roof of the Berliner Dom, its golden cross pointing heavenward like an accusing finger.

Elise Hess navigated the narrow cobblestone side streets of Berlin-Mitte in order to avoid the parade on Unter den Linden, fast approaching the Brandenburg Gate.

The Nazis had reason to celebrate. Not only had they already seized Holland, Belgium, and France, but now German troops had invaded Russia, destroying Russia's 16th and 20th Armies in the "Smolensk pocket" and triumphing at Roslavl, near Smolensk. The German military seemed invincible. Despite the Atlantic Charter with the United States, Britain's defeat was clearly only a matter of time.

Elise could hear the steady beating drums of the Hitler Youth and the coarse clamor of the crowd in the distance, singing the Horst Wessel Song. She could see the scarlet banners with their white circles and black hakenkreuz--broken crosses--which the Volk had hung from their windows. Papering the limestone walls were tattered posters of Adolf Hitler in medieval armor, on horseback like a Teutonic knight, captioned Dem Fuhrer die Treue: Be True to the Fuhrer. Trash, cigarette butts, and broken glass from the rally the night before lined the gutters, and the air stank of stale beer and urine.

The ground was marked with chalk squares for the children's hopping game Heaven and Hell. Boys and girls were playing, throwing a small stone, then hopping on the chalked squares, trying to make it from one end to the other and back again. The boys were well scrubbed, the girls had intricate braids. All had round, rosy cheeks.

As one, they spied a small boy with a clubfoot, walking with a crutch, twisted ankle dragging behind him. He hobbled as close to the wall as he could, trying not to be noticed. But like a pack, the group set on him, herding him away from the wall. They formed a circle around him, holding hands, as the boy's eyes darted, trying to find a way to escape. One of the older boys started singing a familiar nursery rhyme:

Fox, you've stolen the goose

Give it back!

Give it back!

Or the hunter will get you

With his gun,

Or the hunter will get you

With his gun.

The other children joined in:

His big, long gun,

Takes a little shot at you,

Takes a little shot at you,

So, you're tinged with red

And then you're dead.

So, you're tinged with red

And then you're dead.

In the distance, church bells tolled the hour.

"Children!" Elise said, clapping her hands together. "Stop! That's enough!" They looked over at her, angry.

The boy with the clubfoot took their momentary distraction as an opportunity to burst through the circle and make a hard right into an alley, staggering as fast as he could with his crutch. The children picked up rocks and flung them after him but didn't bother to give chase. "Are you going to the parade, Fraulein?" one girl called to Elise.

"Nein," she replied. "I have to work."

"Too bad!" the girl called back, skipping and laughing, as the boys slapped one another's backs.

Walking away, Elise shook her head. "Gott im Himmel help us."

Elise took one of the many bridges over the Spree and arrived at Charite Mitte Hospital damp with sweat.

She went to the nurses' changing room. It was small, with walls of gray lockers and a low wooden bench. There was a poster on the wall, of a handsome doctor and a mentally disabled man in a wheelchair, with the caption This hereditarily sick person costs the Volksgemeinschaft 60,000 R.M. for life. Comrade, it's your money, too.

Elise slipped out of her skirt and blouse. She kept on her necklace with the tiny gold cross, a diamond chip in its center. The door opened. It was Frieda Klein, another nurse. "Hallo!" Elise said, smiling. Shifts were always better when Frieda was working.

"Hallo," Frieda replied. She put down her things and began to change. "Gott, I wish I had breasts like yours, Elise," she said, looking down at her own flat chest. "You're the perfect Rhine maiden."

"I'm too fat," Elise moaned. "As my mother loves to remind me. Often. I wish I had collarbones like yours--so elegant."

Whereas Elise was curvaceous, Frieda was thin and all angles. Whereas Elise had dark blue eyes and chestnut-brown curls, Frieda was blond and pale. And whereas Frieda was phlegmatic, Elise had a habit of speaking too quickly and bouncing up and down on her toes when she became excited about a finer point of medicine, swing music, or anything at all to do with American movie stars. The two young women, friends since school, had both wanted to be nurses since they were young girls.

They put on their gray uniforms, with starched white aprons and linen winged caps. "Do you mind?" Elise asked, indicating the back strings on her apron.

"Not at all," Frieda said and tied them into a bow. She turned around. "Now do mine?"

Elise did, then slapped Frieda on the bottom. They laughed as they walked out together to the nurses' station to begin their shift.

In an examination room that smelled of rubbing alcohol and lye soap, a tiny blond girl in a hospital gown asked, "Will there be blood?"

The only picture on the wall was Heinrich Knirr's official portrait of Adolf Hitler--the Fuhrer's figure stiff, his hard eyes gazing impassively over the proceedings.

Elise smiled and shook her head. "Nein," she answered. "No blood work today. The doctor just wants to take a look at your ears. To make sure the infection's gone."

The girl, Gretel Paulus, was sitting on a hospital bed. She held a small brown, well-loved teddy bear and spoke with a slight speech impediment. Her thick lower lip protruded and glistened with saliva, her tongue overlarge. She had a round face, pointy chin, and almond-shaped eyes behind thick, distorting eyeglasses.

Elise smiled. "What goes ninety-nine thump, ninety-nine thump, ninety-nine thump?"

Gretel shrugged.

"A centipede with a wooden leg, of course!"

That won a weak smile out of the young girl. Elise took an otoscope from the cabinet, cleaned the earpiece with alcohol, and then put it to the girl's right ear. Then the left.

"Nurse Hess?"

"When it's just you and I, you may call me Elise."

"Elise--why do my ears always hurt?" Gretel wanted to know.

Elise knew all too well that ear infections were common with Down syndrome patients. "It's just something that happens sometimes," she said, putting the otoscope away and returning to rub the girl's back. "And you feel better now, yes? The medicine worked?"

"If I feel better, why do I still have to see the doctor? The new doctor?"

Gretel didn't miss a thing, Elise realized. "His name is Doktor Brandt. And he wants to make sure you don't have any more ear infections."

The door to the examination room opened, and in walked Dr. Karl Brandt. He was relatively new to Charite, one of the SS doctors who came in the late winter of 1941, with their red armbands with black swastikas, and their new rules and regulations. Young, handsome, with thick, dark hair and impeccable posture, Brandt radiated authority.

Elise handed Gretel's chart to him. Without preamble, he marked the black box in the lower left-hand corner of the medical history chart with a bold red X, the last of three. He looked out the door and beckoned. Two orderlies arrived, strong and broad-shouldered in white coats with swastika armbands.

"Am I going home?" Gretel asked the doctor.

"Not yet, Mauschen," Brandt replied, smiling. "We're going to make sure this never happens to you again."

Gretel beamed. "Oh, thank you, Herr Doktor!" she lisped as the two orderlies escorted her back to her room to get dressed. She hugged her teddy bear to her small body.

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His Majesty's Hope (Maggie Hope Series #3) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Ashley_UNC More than 1 year ago
I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley from Random House Publishing Group – Bantam Dell. While I have not read the first two books in MacNeal’s “Maggie Hope” series, I really enjoyed this one. Maggie Hope has just finished her training with the British Special Operations Executive, and she is ready for her first mission abroad. Her assignment: Deliver some radio crystals to a contact in Berlin and plant a bug in the office of a high-ranking Nazi official. Maggie takes this mission very seriously - she has a real drive to prove herself, she feels a certain amount of pressure to succeed as the first female spy on the ground in Germany, and she has an axe to grind with the Nazi official whose office she is supposed to infiltrate. But when Maggie gets to Germany, her personal concerns take a back seat to the atrocities she witnesses in Nazi-controlled Berlin, like the deportation of Jews and the murder of physically or mentally disabled children that Hitler has deemed “unfit for life.” In addition to focusing on the dangers that Maggie is running in Germany, MacNeal also includes really touching plot lines that involve Maggie’s friend David and her half-sister Elsie. David is facing parental pressure to conform to the life they have envisioned for him, and Elsie is struggling to stay true to her belief in God in Hitler’s Germany. I was just as invested in both of these stories as I was in Maggie’s. MacNeal’s writing style is fluid, and I found myself very quickly attached to her characters. Even though there are terrible things going on all around her main characters, MacNeal breaks up the tension with descriptions of music and dancing. There were a few coincidences in the plot that stretched believability at times, but I was definitely engaged throughout the book, and I kept telling myself “just one more chapter…” until I ultimately read the whole thing in one day. I’ll certainly give the first two books in this series a try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All three are well done. Cant wait for rhr next - really like how history is interwoven in the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maggie Hope, born in England and raised in the United States, finds herself in the land of her birth as World War II begins. Her mysterious family background coupled with her bravery and intelligence quickly lead her to the heart of the defense of Britain-Winston Churchill's office. This third novel in the series finds our relentless Maggie on a secret mission in Berlin. The author's ability to combine a likable heroine with many of the true facts of the war make this a great selection for any who like a little history carefully blended with character and plot. The books are each quick reads and I am looking forward to the next one! (If you like the Maisie Dobbs books, this is a series for you!)
Anonymous 21 days ago
A definite drop off from first two books. Poor plot with unbelievable coincidences. Unnecessary bashing of the homeland. No more for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although a novel , the historical part of the story was very close and entriguing .
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Maggie is dropped in Germany to plant a bug in her mother's house - the mother she thought was dead. But along the way, she'll meet her half sister and get caught up in the horrors of Germany in 1941. As always with the series, I was pulled into another time and place with very real characters while I was reading. A few flaws (same ones as the two previous in the series), but for the most part I enjoyed this book.
Storytellermary More than 1 year ago
His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal There is a price to be paid for standing up to evil, but a bigger price for acquiescence. Maggie and other good people bravely face powerful forces, exercising their own power for good. This was a compelling book, with lessons for these troubled times, and many surprises. I cringed to read the rationalizations for “mercy killing” of those deemed “unfit for life” in Germany. “Why did no one speak up?” Thank goodness for those who did and do. There were reminders of the failure to grant refuge . . . MS St. Louis I had heard of, and mentions of food rationing which I had heard of from my parents. One question on that, what on earth is “mock whipped cream”?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The king coughed up some blood before gasping and dropping into a puddle of blood on the stone floor. <br> The man in the cloak showed a hellish grin before sheathing his sword and walking over to the window and jumping out. <br> <br> Sierra lay in her bed, staring at the wierd relic on the wall. <br> Her dad handed it to her, saying that it was from the medieval times; Sierra didn't believe in that at all. <br> Besides, her dad was a liar, robber, cheater, and killer. <br> We'll get into that later. <br> The thingamabobber on the shelf was a rock that seemed to be diamond, or maybe aquamarine. It was on a rusty chain and looked like a necklace. <br> Sierra got out of her bed slowly and walked over to the shelf. <br> she picked up the necklace and put it around her neck. <br> Then, suddenly, it glowed an eerie blue, and Sierra's world went black. <br> <br> Three positive vomments and I continue!!! <br> ~&#20300
PureJonel More than 1 year ago
This was a very thought provoking and hard hitting novel.  It was intensely emotional and wildly revealing.  MacNeal didn&rsquo;t mince words when it came to the atrocities committed, nor about the consequences faced by those who opposed.  This is all wrapped up in a very unique and captivating package.  MacNeal&rsquo;s story is exciting and suspenseful, while raw, real, and completely honest.   I loved the main cast of this novel.  Not only were they well developed and easy to like, but they stood for what they believed in against all odds.  Although this is the 3rd novel in the series, MacNeal develops the characters in such a way that you get to know them in and of this novel itself.   This was my first novel by this author, and by default, my first in this series.  I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and will be looking further into her work in the future.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the third in the series. OK, but the first teo are better. I wonder if authors who are producing books so closely together feel the pressure of getting books written. As othes have noticed, the author uses uses terms that weren't around in WWII. for example, that Maggie and her half sister share DNA! DN A was only discoveved in the 1950s, well AFTER the war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book.
Corvette99 More than 1 year ago
Can't put this series down. Great story. Looking forward to the fourth book. Author has done a good job telling Maggie Hope's story. The intertwining of the characters and their own stories is wonderful. Great book! Great series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the Maggie Hope mysteries. Can't wait for the 4th book to come out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all three of the Maggie Hope stories &amp; enjoyed reading all of them! I look forward to the next story &amp; hope there will be many more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VicG More than 1 year ago
Susan Elia MacNeal in her new book, &quot;His Majesty's Hope&quot; Book Three in the Maggie Hope Mystery series published by Bantam Books gives us another adventure with Maggie Hope. From the back cover: Susan Elia MacNeal, acclaimed author of Mr. Churchill's Secretary and Princess Elizabeth's Spy returns with the latest thrilling adventure featuring whip-smart heroine Maggie Hope, who embarks on a clandestine mission behind enemy lines where no one can be trusted, and even the smallest indiscretion can be deadly. World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive--a black ops organization designed to aid the British effort abroad--and her first assignment sends her straight into Nazi-controlled Berlin, the very heart of the German war machine. Relying on her quick wit and keen instincts, Maggie infiltrates the highest level of Berlin society, gathering information to pass on to London headquarters. But the secrets she unveils will expose a darker, more dangerous side of the war--and of her own past. Ms. MacNeal is a wonderful writer who uses very clever plots to absorb us in her writing. History, World War II and Nazis all come together in a suspense plot that will keep you guessing as to what is going to happen next. Maggie Hope is now a full-fledged undercover spy and is given the mission to parachute in Nazi Germany to bring down Clara Hess, who Maggie has discovered is her mother that was thought dead. In addition to the extermination of anyone Jewish the Nazi's were also involved with Operation Compassionate Death. Sounds good doesn't it? However this killed anyone with a hereditary disease and that mostly amounted to children. Now Maggie is behind the lines, face to face with her mother and has to deal with these issues. The action and adventure pick up from there. Ms. MacNeal has written a nail-biting, page-turning thriller. Ms. MacNeal creates characters so real that you care for all of them. &quot;His Majesty's Hope&quot; is great fun to read. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bantam Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: &quot;Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.&quot;
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is wonderful, bringing in historical facts of World War II.
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
Book 3 in this wonderful series following Maggie Hope set in Britain during WWII.  (I would definitely recommend reading these books in order.)  I loved the story...it kept me turning the pages as fast as I could to see what would happen next.  I can't wait fo Book 4.  Bring it on, Ms. MacNeal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amateurish - weak plot and characterizations
iowashort More than 1 year ago
Again, a good book for World War Two, spy, readers. While I didn't enjoy it as much as her other two books, it is still entertaining and well written. This is a logical book in the series, and leaves the reader hanging, so you will want to read the next book when it is published.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not enjoy the third book in the series. The story line was all over the place. Too disjointed.