In The Shadows of Enigma
By: Alex Rosenberg - Top Hat Books, $19.95
Description: In this standalone sequel to The Girl From Krakow, the greatest undisclosed secret of the Second World War haunts the lives of four people across three continents and fifteen years.
Verdict: The only Second World War secret not revealed soon thereafter was that the Allies had broken the German Enigma codes.
This secret was kept for 30 years after the war. In the Shadows of Enigma is a 15 year-long narrative of how knowing the secret changed the lives of four people: Rita Feuerstahl, who learned that the German Enigma had been deciphered by the Poles just before she escaped a Polish ghetto, Gil Romero, her prewar lover whom Rita marries after the war, Stefan Sajac, the infant son Rita had smuggled out of the ghetto and lost track of, and Otto Schulke, the German Gestapo detective who apprehended Rita during the war and suspected that she knew the secret of the Enigma’s decoding.
Not to give too much away, but there are two secrets in In The Shadows Of Enigma. The first, hinted at by the title and then explained in the preface, is that Germany’s secret Enigma code had been cracked by the Polish intelligence service in 1942 and given to the western allies; but not announced for almost thirty years, leaving the Russians to assume, after they’d captured the code in Berlin, that it was still usable.
The second secret is that Rita, the novel’s primary protagonist, in 1947 found her son, Stefan, who she’d given to a woman in 1940 to save him from the Nazi roundup of Jews, and that Rita chose not to reveal that she had survived the Nazis, which would have led to Stefan’s return to her, his birth mother.
Luckily for the reader, Rosenberg expertly weaves together a complex plot involving its many characters and locations. During the years through which the story moves, many historical events are carefully included, such as the Hungarian uprising against the Russians, the Suez Canal conflict, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which add an element of authenticity to the well-crafted plot.
Inclusive of wartime flashbacks, the plots and the characters cross paths repeatedly, but never confusingly, and their interspersed time lines develop an excellent suspense to the story.
Thus, and in conclusion, the characters here were all rather intriguing and well fleshed out, their lives and pulse-rousing predicaments enough to have you page-turning, which makes this a great spy novel for all fans of the genre and ilk.
About the Author: Alex’s last novel, The Intrigues of Jennie Lee explores the febrile history of 1930s Britain through the experiences - personal and political of a young woman elected to parliament at the age of 24 - five years too young even to vote for herself. It takes a real woman and slightly twists her life into a world changing thriller.
Alex’s first novel, The Girl From Krakow, explores how a young woman and her lover navigate the dangerous thirties, the firestorm of war in Europe, and how they make sense of their survival.
His second novel, Autumn in Oxford is a murder mystery/spy thriller set in Britain in the 1950s that takes the reader back to New York in the ’30s, the American south, France and Germany during the war, through cold war America to post-austerity England.
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