HITLER'S BOMB by Chris Scott


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Like Ib Melchoir's The Haigerloch Project (1977) and several other recent thrillers, this busy yet unexciting novel takes us to the caves of Haigerloch in the winter of 194445--where Germany is supposedly on the brink of building a usable, deliverable atom-bomb (Hitler's only possibility for winning the war). Luckily, however, British Intelligence, in the person of Kim Philby, has gotten wind of the immediate nuclear threat from Germany--so spymaster Carlo Peat is assigned to the case. First, Carlo must determine if the threat is real or not--largely by interrogating two German-refugee scientists, the father-and-daughter team of Hugo and Katherina Weber. (Hugo seems to be a madman, which suggests that the bomb-scare is phony--but Carlo is not fooled.) Then, convinced that Something Must Be Done, Carlo organizes a commando team to be led by war-ravaged Johnny Scarr: with help from scientist Katherina (whom no one can trust entirely), the team will parachute-drop into Germany and somehow sabotage the increasingly imminent A-bomb flight that Hitler has his heart set on. But, meanwhile, forces within Germany are trying to reach a separate, secret deal with Britain: a truce on the western front and the safety of London (which Hitler longs to decimate with his A-bomb)--thus freeing Germany to use the bomb against Russia on the eastern front! Lots of convolutions ensue, then--especially since Philby (as most readers well know) is a Soviet mole and since there's also a Soviet mole near Hitler's inner circle. And finally, though the British commando attack doesn't quite prevent the A-bomb-plane from taking off for London, the bombing-mission (with nuclear-expert Katherina now reluctantly aboard!) is thoroughly doomed. Like Scott's previous spy-fi entry, To Catch a Spy (1978): occasionally lively (lots of bazooka action) but too talky and convoluted to sustain suspense--with additional complications provided by UK/US rivalries, Katherina's romantic past, and Hitler's escalating dementia.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1985
Publisher: Stein & Day