The Traitor’s Emblem
This story, based on fact, opens in 1940 with the captain of a patrol boat in the Straits of Gibraltar being given a gold and diamond emblem for saving the lives of four people from drowning.
In 1919, Paul Reiner and his mother, Ilse, live as servants in the mansion belonging to her sister Brunhilde, and her husband, Baron Otto von Schroeder, who hide away their amputee son, Edouard, when he returns from the war.
At his party, their younger son, Jurgen, and his cronies molest Alys Tannenbaum. Paul rescues her but is chased into Edouard’s room. Edouard asks Paul to retrieve a package for him from his father’s desk. Paul agrees and hands over the package which is revealed to contain a pistol. Edouard shoots himself, and Jurgen blames Paul and becomes his implacable enemy. Paul and his mother are thrown out onto the streets to add to the destitute and starving.
Paul ensures his mother does not starve by grasping work at every opportunity, until accidentally injured by Alys’ brother Manfred. From then on their fates are inextricably linked despite her father wanting Alys to marry Jurgen. Herr Tannenbaum conspires with Otto to retrieve an incriminatory letter detailing their involvement in the subvert activities and disappearance of Paul’s father. Through a bookseller, Sebastian Keller, Paul learns of his father’s activities and, while unravelling the mysteries, is initiated into the Free Masons, deepening his ties to Judaism.
Whilst retrieving the letter, Jurgen stabs Ilse. He is promoted to the SS and tasked with the annihilation of Masons throughout Germany. The enemies confront each other, and Paul unravels all the secrets with Alys beside him. Intricately plotted. Excellent!