Blood of the Reich

Written by William Dietrich
Review by Kristen Hannum

Best-selling author Dietrich took a 1938 Nazi expedition to Tibet and changed the names to create a rip-snorting, intricately plotted thriller that never lets up. Zoologist and dastardly SS officer Kurt Raeder is leading a 1938 expedition to Tibet in hopes of finding an ancient Tibetan secret that might guarantee preternatural, world-controlling source of energy for the Reich. Only a daring American adventurer/scientist (the very vision of Indiana Jones for this reader) has a thread of a chance of stopping Raeder and his band of Nazi SS officers. That story is matched and bettered by a present-day tale woven throughout: Our hero’s great-granddaughter must also contend with deadly, organized Nazis.

My quibbles feel fusty. Did Rominy, the great-granddaughter and modern heroine, have a passport for all that travel? And when she faces a fate worse than death, she sticks out her tongue at her tormenters. Twice. Even so, Dietrich – a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist – is a great storyteller and, just like with Raiders of the Lost Ark, the death-defying excitement, exotic locations, love stories, and soaring music (er, writing, that is) carry the day. Here, for instance, is the Nazis’ first view of the Dalai Lama’s winter palace, which “mimicked the majesty of the surrounding mountains. It stacked toward the clouds, tier upon tier of white and red, its walls sloping inward in the Tibetan fashion to give the edifice the firmness of natural cliffs. It was a royal crown the color of snow and dried blood, roofed with gold, and set high atop a hill above the capital of Lhasa.” Nice.