Years before the events of Henri Poincaré’s striking debut (All Cry Chaos, 2011), the future Interpol agent, now a consulting engineer, gets dragged into an equally grueling case when his treasure hunt turns into a Nazi hunt.
Lloyds of London, which was the insurer for the HMS Lutine when it sank off the Dutch coast in 1799, thinks it’s high time they recovered their settlement by plundering the boat, which is legally theirs, for its cargo of gold. Poincaré and his partner, Alec Chin, have successfully bid to construct a diving platform to be used in the operation. But Poincaré gets seriously redirected when he meets Liesel Kraus, a guide who pulls him out of the coastal mud flats and insists that he escort her to her brother Anselm’s birthday party to fend off the Bayer heir Anselm’s fixed her up with. Romance blossoms between Liesel and Poincaré, along with dark suspicions about the Kraus family’s steel empire, when Anselm, intent on jumping into the infant market for personal computers by recycling the precious metals used in their manufacture, engages Poincaré to develop a chemical process for isolating those metals. If Anselm and Liesel’s father, Otto, was really a Schindler-style hero during the war, as an affidavit signed by 10 concentration-camp survivors attests, then why are the signatories suddenly dying of heart attacks? And why is Liesel’s godfather, Viktor Schmidt, so eager to shut down Poincaré’s investigation into this case that isn’t even a case? Torn between his love for Liesel and his need to learn the truth about her family, Poincaré makes a series of discoveries that won’t surprise genre fans or anyone who stayed awake during history class.
If it’s hard to wring new headlines from Nazi industrialists, Rosen uses this familiar background to tell a story as heartfelt as it is ambitious.