In postwar Europe, an American military officer tackles the difficult assignment of recruiting Germany's scientific brain trust.
Capt. Karl Baier arrives in Berlin in late 1945 with a complex and nebulous mandate. Installed in a modest office previously occupied by the Luftwaffe command, the young officer faces the uphill challenge of finding the brilliant Werner Heisenberg and his scientific colleagues and convincing them to join the American effort. Both the Brits and the Soviets are on the hunt as well, and those who have not already been enticed by other Allied nations are likely in hiding. Baier learns early on that he may be a target himself. A dead GI complicates the mission. So does Baier's involvement with Sabine, a beautiful war widow whose husband, ironically, was also named Karl Baier. She tells him emotional stories of atrocities perpetrated by the Russians. Baier's first major get is surprisingly easy. Gen. Ulrich Baumgartner, who prefers to be called "Doctor," readily agrees to a new life in America. A trip to Greece, however, proves to be a bit of a disaster. Baier fears that he can't trust Sabine or the members of his team. He's further disturbed to find that someone has searched his lodgings in Berlin while he was gone. Because there's been no effort to hide the search, Baier wonders whether he's being sent a message. He follows a trail through the Bavarian Alps and Portugal before a surprising climax back in Berlin.
Though the plotting is languid, Rapp's novel offers many interesting historical tidbits and nicely imagined scenes. Read full book review >
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