THE SPIDERWEB by Joseph E. Persico


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There's a strong, ironic climax at the end of this WW II-and-after melodrama, but you'll have to wade through many overplotted Nazi-schmatzi goings-on before you get to it. We begin with a Jewish master engraver, Goldhammer, who has stayed in Germany (his boss assures his safety) only to be suddenly sent to a concentration camp, along with his family. How can he save them? By becoming the Reich's master counterfeiter, assigned to make plates of foreign currencies. But by the time Goldhammer has achieved a perfect set of photoengraved plates for five-pound notes and $20 bills, his family has indeed been exterminated and the war is over. However, the high Nazi Kruger (who had Goldhammer's family sent to the ovens) plans to rebuild the Third Reich with Goldhammer's $20 plates. He hides them in a small farm while organizing his fanatics into ""The Spiderweb,"" a group soon to depart for South America. Goldhammer, naturally, is out tracking him down when Erika, the appealing farmer's daughter, runs off with Kruger's plates! Soon she is being chased by the Nazis, the British, the Russians, the American Military Government in Germany, and the U.S. Secret Service, a member of which falls in love with her. The final big tradeoff for the plates ends up in the usual triple cross, her death, and the heavy irony that Goldhammer has unknowingly counterfeited our discontinued $20 gold certificate as his masterpiece. Good backgrounds and decent characterization--but only for those with high tolerance for neo-Nazi nonsense.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Crown