HITLER'S BOMB by Chris Scott

HITLER'S BOMB

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KIRKUS REVIEW

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