With the end of the war, the victorious Germans now occupy a defeated Great Britain. In London, decorated detective John Henry Rossett, now reporting to the Nazi victors, lies in a hospital bed recovering from gunshot wounds. Desperate to avoid blame over the events that led to the shooting, his boss, Ernst Koehler, covers up the incident. But when Koehler’s wife and daughter are kidnapped by American spies, the terrified German turns to the only man he trusts to help him—a shrewd cop who will do whatever is necessary to get the job done: John Rossett.
Surviving his brush with death, Rossett agrees to save his friend’s daughter. But in a chaotic new world ruled by treachery and betrayal, doing the right thing can get a man killed. Caught between the Nazi SS, the violent British resistance, and Americans with very uncertain loyalties, Rossett must secretly make his way out of London and find Ruth Hartz, a Jewish scientist working in Cambridge. Spared from death because of her intellect and expertise, she is forced to work on developing the atom bomb for Germany. Though she knows it could end any hope of freedom in Europe and maybe even the world, Ruth must finish the project—if she, too, wants to survive.
The British Lion is undoubtedly one of THE books of the year, for me at least. It grips you from the very first page and never relinquishes its magical and compelling hold until a gripping finale ends what is a cracking and powerful story. Full of engaging characters, fabulous plotting and a narrative that keeps you turning the pages, Schumacher has followed his first novel with a stunning work of alternate fiction that gives the reader a glimpse into what might have been had Hitler and the Nazi’s won the Second World War. Fortunately for us it never happened and makes reading this fictional work a lot more enjoyable and less frightening!
Even during the quiet and scene building occasions I couldn’t help but want to know what happens next. There was never a dull moment, each character caressing the story along in such a natural way that it made reading effortless. It’s difficult to express how easy this book is to read and it’s one you definitely have to experience for yourself.
Unfortunately I haven’t read Tony’s debut The Darkest Hour and even though I have a fair idea what happened after reading this follow up I’ll definitely make time to visit Schumacher’s introduction of London detective John Rossett.
Talking of Rossett, he’s a terrific protagonist and leads the book well but here’s the thing, he’s not the only protagonist. Running alongside Rossett is Nazi Commander Ernst Koehler and scientist Ruth Hartz who literally has the fate of the world in her hands. The three fill up the pages with great stories, fabulous dialogue and intriguing interaction.
Tony Schumacher isn’t afraid to take risks, no character is safe and this is one book that kept me guessing throughout due to its unpredictable nature. Bodies soon begin to pile up and you never quite know who’s going to survive.
There were a number of scenes that stood out for me but one literally took my breath away. It wasn’t a scene full of bodies or uninterrupted action but a moment of hopeless tenderness and beauty. It was a scene in such raw tenderness and emotion that will remain with me for some time.
So there you have it a story about brotherhood, occupation, control and relationships The British Lion is so much more than a book about one man striving to help a friend in need and in so doing he might just help save the world.
Gripping, entertaining and utterly compelling.
• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (31 Dec. 2015)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0062439197
• ISBN-13: 978-0062439192
• Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm