For the novelist, history is full of “what if?” What if Anne Boleyn had a son who lived? What if Lee had bypassed Gettysburg and headed south to take Washington, DC? In this case, what if there was a reason behind Hitler’s failure to invade England when he had the chance? And suppose that reason was the success of the greatest gamble of the secret war—an undiscovered Nostradamus prophecy that guarantees Hitler success if he invades the Soviet Union. But only if he does it fast, by the end of 1941! Would such a newly discovered verse be enough to make Hitler (a major fan of the occult) turn his eyes from England to the Eastern Front? And how could anyone make sure Hitler found the verse and read it?
When a skeleton with a handcuff still attached is found in an old London bomb crater, events of the 1940s and the present collide. For what would be the response in the Russian Republics if it were proven that England and America deliberately conned Hitler into attacking Russia in June 1941? And who could prove it, anyway? Enter “the bookworm” of the title, Larissa Mendelova Klimt, historian and chess prodigy, whose research into Noel Coward’s mysterious Dictaphone tapes leads her into astonishing and deadly intrigue. For even after three-quarters of a century, some war wounds don’t heal…
This is fast and fun, with one of the best McGuffins I’ve ever seen. While not a true historical novel (it’s more a thriller with strong historical elements), it’s an exciting tale and very nearly as bizarre as some of the things Allied Intelligence did try during the war.