Curtain Of Death by
W.E.B. Griffin and William Butterworth IV present a fact filled
novel about the early days of what will become the CIA. Even
though the period between WWII and the Cold War is intense
in itself these authors were able to make the plot even more
The story reflects Griffin’s own experiences during
the mid 1940s in war torn Germany. It becomes obvious that
the clandestine agents must not only deal with the Nazis trying
to escape to Latin America, but an entirely different kind
of war. The enemy has changed, the rules have changed; and
the stakes have never been higher.
Butterworth IV explained, “Dad lived this period, knew
the principles from having worked with General White and others,
so he wrote most of this book. And I added what I could. A
good editor has an invisible hand in the work, making suggestions
and edits that help the story without changing the writer’s
distinctive voice. While W.E.B. said, “I was there when
I was a kid. I knew and saw a lot. The Nazi General Reinhard
Gehlen, who became the head of German intelligence in the,
1940s, did work for us to save his people from the Russians.
Also true are the Operations OST, Paperclip, and Odessa.”
The time is January 1946, the setting Munich Germany, and
the protagonists are the men and women fighting a covert war.
The plot begins with two WACs and intelligence analysts kidnapped
by four KGB agents. Unfortunately for them one of the women,
Claudette Colbert, hid a pistol in her bra, and shoots three
of her assailants, wounding a fourth. Readers take the journey
with the DCI-Europe unit as they navigate through the conflicts
within the different US agencies and with the two logistical
enemies, Russia and the Nazis.
The authors noted, “We also had many good women who
played a prominent role in 1940s Germany as spies and intelligence
analysts. Characters in the story like my fictional Claudette
Colbert were real and did carry pistols, but the idea of her
hiding it in her brassiere was mine. They did this because
we could not afford to have them kidnapped. Seven-K was a
character I created. She was based on some Mossad agents who
did work with us in exchange for getting Zionists out of Russia.
There are fascinating stories of women spies in the Office
of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor to the CIA, and
their missions are the stuff of legend. Yet the contributions
made by the 4,000 women, including Julia Child and Marlene
Dietrich are largely unheralded. Exceptions include Elizabeth
McIntosh’s book Women of the OSS: Sisterhood Of Spies.”
Curtain of Death is a novel that mixes intrigue and
diplomacy within a suspenseful and enthralling story. An added
bonus is the sarcasm and humor sprinkled throughout the scenes.
of other titles in the series
Assassination Option #2