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Stealing Trinity

by Ward Larsen

     

Ward Larsen, a dynamite new author fostered by Oceanview Publishing, has been garnering awards since his first novel,† The Perfect Assassin, was released in 2006. It is no surprise then that his second novel,† Stealing Trinity, would sweep the USA Book News National Award for Best New Thriller / Adventure and earn a Gold Medal in Mystery from ForeWord Book of the Year Awards shortly after its release in late 2008.

Stealing Trinity†is a gripping, nail-biting, espionage thriller set in 1945 just before Germany surrenders to the Allies. Even though the Wehrmacht knows the war is going badly, their intelligence office, the Sicherheitsdienst or SD, is determined to salvage something from this Great War, and that item is a spy, Die Wespe, who is a physicist in deep undercover at Los Alamos, New Mexico, working on the Manhattan Project. The SD recruits American-born and Harvard educated Alexander Braun, a man of many talents and little conscience. As Braun is brought close to American waters in a German submarine, the naval captain receives a message that the Reich has fallen and the war is over. Abruptly, the captain puts Braun out to sea with no papers, no traveling money, no change of clothes, and no lifeboat! But Braun is resourceful. As he swims the frigid waters off Long Island, he formulates a new plan, one that will allow him to escape into the luxury of Newport, Rhode Island, and hopefully back into the arms of a former lover, Lydia Cole. Braun, however, is plagued with more hurdles, particularly the inclusion of a husband at the side of fair Lydia. Braun once again crafts a new plan, and this one involves finding Die Wespe and selling information to the highest bidder.

Braun's machinations could have ticked along quite nicely were it not for a stubborn British officer, Major Michael Thatcher, of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre. Thatcher unearths information about the secretive American war project, the Manhattan Project, and soon links it to the elusive Braun. Acting on his own, Thatcher pursues Braun across the United States and eventually to the Pacific. He is aided by Lydia Cole who soon discovers she is both resourceful and brave.

Larsen's book takes its title from the first US atomic bomb test in New Mexico code-named Trinity. Within its pages are fully-fleshed out characters, especially the killer Braun as he calculates each move in his ever-changing plans. I didn't like him, but sometimes felt empathy for him and understood him completely. Larsen's renderings of Major Thatcher and Lydia Cole were equally detailed and drawn with heart and an intimate knowledge of psychological motivation.

Larsen was also able to incorporate intricate details of war-era planes and ships without overpowering the reader, using them as great leavening to draw out character or further the well-structured plot. He comes by those details through experience and research. Larsen is a former US Air Force fighter pilot who flew combat missions in Operation Desert Storm and is a pilot for a major airline.

I normally don't like war movies or war books, but I found†Stealing Trinity†to be a great read. Larsen has been able to mix everything anyone could want into this adventure thriller: romance, intrigue, narrow escapes, and great characters. Reading this book has piqued my interest in reading his first novel,†The Perfect Assassin, and to eagerly look for other Ward Larsen books on the horizon.

Reviews of other titles by this author

The Perfect Assassin
Fly by Night
Stealing Trinity
The Perfect Assassin / Assassin’s Game

The Book

Oceanview
2008
Hardcover
1933515171 / 978-1933515175
Historical Thriller [1945 Germany, US & Pacific]
Amazon
NOTE: USA Book News National Award 2008 for Best New Thriller/Adventure

The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.
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