The Reflecting Man

Written by D. K. R. Boyd
Review by Steve Donoghue

Kurtis De’ath, the narrator of Boyd’s sprawling debut historical novel, is a “reflecting man” figure in the sense that through his remarkable and convoluted life he finds himself encountering virtually all of the notable figures of the first half of the 20th century. De’ath is an eloquent and outspoken narrator (and fond enough of his own exploits, a la George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman), relating his adventures as a secret advisor to Adolf Hitler, a globe-trotting newspaper reporter (who breaks the news that England’s King Edward VIII is so deeply enamored of American divorcee Wallis Simpson that he might abdicate in order to marry her), and a somewhat reluctant MI5 agent for the British government. De’ath is the reader’s narrative proxy as he watches the key events unfold in Hitler’s rise to power, and Boyd’s skill at weaving exposition into his narrative is so great that the large and complicated plot moves forward very smoothly. Watching 20th century history unfold through the unmistakable viewpoint of Kurtis De’ath would be a treat for any lover of well-done historical fiction. Promised sequels are eagerly anticipated.