The Turncoat

Written by Alan Murray

George Maclean and Danny Inglis, two wartime Military Intelligence agents assigned to investigate the devastating Luftwaffe bombings of Clydebank in March of 1941, have hit nothing but dead ends in their attempt to find the informant whose intelligence contributed to the assault. The murder of one suspect eventually sets Maclean and Inglis on the trail of two mysterious Ulstermen working in the shipyards. But the unexpected defection of a high-ranking Nazi official complicates this investigation. Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, following the advice of his astrologer, pilots a small airplane from Germany to a rough landing in a farmer’s field in southwestern Scotland. Maclean and Inglis become deeply involved with this high-level prisoner as well, uncovering unexpected treachery and a conspiracy that threatens the free world.

This fictionalized account of Hess’s defection, and the aftermath of the 1941 bombing of Clydebank and the Glasgow shipyards by the Nazis, draws heavily on actual top-secret documents, released in 2012. I thoroughly enjoyed this gripping WWII thriller, and the light it cast on wartime British politics and Britain’s struggle against fascism. The characters are interesting and the pace is quick; I did not want to put the book down. Sadly, though, the subject remains timely, and, after some recent events here in the US, Hess’s rants sound all too familiar. Recommended.