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Friday, 28 March 2014

‘Traitor’s Gate’ by Michael Ridpath

Published by Head of Zeus, 
10 June 2013. 
ISBN: 978-1-78185-180-7

 Berlin, 1938.  Disillusioned by his experience of fighting against the Fascists in Spain, Conrad de Lacey has come to Berlin to write his novel.  However a meeting with his cousin Joachim sparks off events which will leave him caught between his pacifist beliefs and taking a dangerous step to avert war.

Set in the cradle of World War II, this novel beautifully evokes the atmosphere of fear and duplicity under SS rule.  The reader can believe in idealistic Conrad and his changes of feeling as he learns more about those around him: Veronica, his ex-wife, who feels Hitler’s spell; half-Jewish Annelise who is desperate to save her father; Theo, the idealistic friend of his student days, who now works for the Abwehr.  The streets, gardens and canals of Berlin are a real presence in the book, and the reader’s own historical knowledge ratchets up the tension.  The novel is given depth by the debate within Conrad: is it right to betray an individual country for the greater goal of international peace?  What is a traitor?  The final section of the book is hard to put down.

A tense thriller, with vivid historical atmosphere.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Michael Ridpath was born in Devon in 1961, but brought up in Yorkshire. He was educated at Millfield, Merton College, Oxford. Before becoming a writer, Michael Ridpath used to work in the City of London as a bond trader.  He has written eight thrillers set in the worlds of business and finance, but is now trying his hand at something slightly different.  Where The Shadows Lie, the first in the Fire and Ice series featuring an Icelandic detective named Magnus Jonson, was published in 2010.  He has published two further books in the series.  He now lives in North London.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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