CODE OF ARMS by Harold & Lawrence Block King


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Yet another fictional treatment of the Rudolph Hess episode--but better than most, with lots of plot twists and more humor than usual in the genre (thanks, presumably, to co-author Block of Bernie Rhodenbarr fame). The hero here is American racing pilot Ted Campbell, heir to his father's aircraft-factory in Germany (it's 1940, so the US is still neutral) and a hob-nobber with the Nazi biggies in Berlin (especially fellow-flyer Rudolph Hess). So, when the British break the German Enigma cipher code and learn of the intended German invasion, Ted is a likely candidate to make contact with Hess--who is known to desire a secretly made peace with England. (Furthermore, what the British know--and Ted doesn't--is that his recently accident-killed father was really a secret spy courier assassinated by the Nazis.) Ted, however, is reluctant, not wanting to jeopardize his US neutrality. And his feelings are complicated by US newswoman Kate Buchanan, his old flame--who is now the apparently pro-Nazi (not really, of course) mistress of SS bigwig Regenbauer. Eventually, in fact, the British must resort to kidnapping Ted, using him as a deep plant for duping Hess with false information. But later--after learning that Regenbauer was the assassin who killed his father, after Kate's blinding in a bomb explosion, after their torture at the hands of SS nasties--Ted is ready to be heroic for the British. So they stage a raid to pluck him out of Germany and arrange for him to fly Hess to Scotland--a ruse which will make it possible for the British to keep secret the fact that they have broken the Ultra/Enigma codes. Lots of action in the air, generous glimpses of Nazis in social situations, a tricky-sticky plot-solid entertainment for those who've not yet had their fill of Hess/Ultra fictionalizations.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1981
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan/Marek--dist. by Putnam