The Nibelungen Hoard
The action of Todd’s gripping and well-orchestrated debut splits between the final days of the Third Reich and four decades later, in 1989, in the days of the collapse of Communist East Germany. In the Nazi sections of the book Heinrich Himmler assigns SS officer Johann von Ritter with the safekeeping and delivery of a strongbox containing a bundle of documents Himmler is hoping will play a key role in saving him from the fall of the Reich (he seeks to “establish an island of redemption and save himself from the rising sea of pending defeat and inevitable retribution”). Von Ritter hides the box, and decades later, in 1989, on the brink of German reunification, it becomes the focus of Todd’s crackerjack international intrigue plot featuring both survivors of the war and their descendants (including the book’s eminently hissable villain).
Todd modulates the interaction between well-researched historical fiction and fast-paced espionage fiction with a great deal of skill and lots of very good dialogue. The result is a memorably good novel.