This mildly diverting first in a new thriller series from bestseller Griffin and son Butterworth charts the birth of the CIA in the fall of 1945. When 2nd Lt. James D. Cronley successfully secures a half ton of uranium oxide carried by a German U-boat that might have been sold to Soviet agents in Argentina, he’s promoted to captain by Harry Truman, awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, and given command of Operation Ost, which sneaks Nazis out of Germany into Argentina. Maj. Gen. Reinhard Gehlen, “the German intelligence officer who ran Abwehr Ost,” trades all the files and assets of his spy organization in return for protecting his men from the Soviet Union. Those readers expecting action will be disappointed as a host of characters make plans, read secret memos, and engage in interior monologues. Those who are happy with lots of interesting period history, dry humor, and clever scheming will be amply rewarded. Agent: Robert Youdelman, Rember & Curtis. (Aug.)
From #1 New York Times bestselling authors W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV comes the first Clandestine Operations novel—featuring a new kind of threat and a different breed of warrior.
In the first weeks after World War II, James D. Cronley, Jr., is recruited for a new enterprise that will eventually be transformed into something called the CIA. For a new war has already begun against an enemy that is bigger, smarter, and more vicious: the Soviet Union.
The Soviets have hit the ground running, and Cronley’s job is to help frustrate them, harass them, and spy on them any way he can. But his first assignment might be his last. He’s got only seven days to extract a vital piece of information from a Soviet agent, and he’s already managed to rile up his superior officers. If he fails now, his intelligence career could be the shortest in history.
Because there are enemies everywhere—and, as Cronley is about to find out, some of them wear the same uniform he does...
Opening his Clandestine Operations series, Griffin (Empire and Honor, 2012, etc.) drafts warriors from his Honor Bound series to confront post-World War II communist aggression. It's late 1945. Army Lt. James Cronley, scion of a Texas ranching family, has played a significant role in frustrating die-hard Nazi attempts to cache bomb-grade uranium in Argentina. By direct order of President Harry S. Truman, Cronley's promoted to captain for his exploits. He returns to Germany and his Army assignment at a Counterintelligence Corps project wringing intel out of "good German" remnants of Abwehr Ost, an intelligence unit that developed critical information about the Soviet Union. Cronley's soon trapped in a bureaucratic knife fight among veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (covert operations warriors), CIC loyalists, other Army units and the FBI. Set mostly at an isolated and abandoned Bavarian monastery and elsewhere in Germany, the narrative's ripe with meetings, confrontations, lies and subterfuge rather than gunplay. The dialogue is standard Griffin sarcasm and one-upmanship, driving a plot which requires getting a captured Russian agent from the Abwehr Ost camp to Argentina. Back in the U.S., Cronley elopes with a young American woman he met during his Argentine expedition, but his bride is killed in a car wreck a day later. Less than a week later, he sleeps with a colonel's wife, and it becomes clear that Griffin's male-female interactions will be sex rather than romance. The Griffin style remains immutable: short chapters, macho attitudes, stiff upper lip when threatened, no-sweat heroics, much love for military equipment and weaponry and protocol. That familiarity makes the occasional minor error more notable, and it makes one good-guy escape from the hangman problematic. In keeping with Clandestine Operations' raison d'être, Griffin's sketch of the immediate post-WWII bureaucratic territorial clashes has purpose; it's an outline of how the demobilized OSS hot-war heroes became passionate CIA cold warriors.G-fans will not be disappointed.
Praise for Top Secret
“A thrilling new series...This incredible mix of intrigue, diplomacy and, of course, a bit of romance, is fantastic...Readers will be panting for the next novel.”—Suspense Magazine
“Those who are happy with lots of interesting period history, dry humor, and clever scheming will be amply rewarded.”—Publishers Weekly
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