Robert Wright’s sequel to his debut espionage thriller, Beyond Ultra, follows the shifting fortunes of his two spotlight families, the Ortegas of Spain and the Hoffmans of Germany, as they and their friends deal with the complications of postwar espionage and the beginnings of the Cold War. The action this time focuses on Paul Hoffman and his brother-in-law (best friend), Jack, as they seek answers to the disappearance of Paul’s brother Ernst, and his uncle Walter in the final days of WWII.
Wright moves his multi-faceted plot forward at a brisk pace from the late 1940s to the late 1970s, touching at many exotic ports of call and seamlessly working in real-life historical figures such as Allen Dulles as his various characters converge on the truth behind a mysterious African scheme known as Operation Valhalla. As often happens in historical novels of this length, characters sometimes speak in blocks of exposition, and Wright sometimes fails to filter out a little bit of clearer-in-hindsight anachronisms, but the bulk of the novel works extremely well and can easily be read independently of its predecessor. Recommended.