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ECHO OF THE REICH
by James Becker
Bantam, June 2012
484 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0857500902


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Detective Chris Bronson is seconded to the Metropolitan Police for an undercover operation to trace vandals trying to sabotage the run up to the Olympics, but soon discovers they are a front for a much more sinister terrorist plot which has been almost seventy years in the making. Bronson begins a race against time to stop the opening ceremony of London 2012 being turned into a charnel house.

Poland, April 1945 and an SS Kommando arrives at an underground laboratory to save the most important of Hitler's Kriegsentscheidend a weapon the Nazis believe can still win the war from the advancing Russians. They succeed and the prototype weapon, codenamed Die Glocke, The Bell, disappears from view only to surface almost seventy years later in the hands of a group of fanatical neo-Nazis intent on a terrible revenge on the country they believe did most to thwart Hitler's dream of world domination.

Preparations for the London 2012 Olympics are being interrupted by the activities of a gang of vandals and Kent detective Chris Bronson is seconded to the Metropolitan Police to infiltrate the hooligans, but soon discovers the attacks are being masterminded by a far Right group as part of a far more dangerous plan. His superiors refuse to believe him and Bronson is forced to go it alone. His investigations take him to Berlin and then to the Wenceslaus Mine in Poland where the weapon was originally developed.

"Who in their right mind would believe we've uncovered a plot by a group of reborn Nazis to take revenge on Britain for the destruction of the Third Reich by using a weapon that was developed in the Second World War?" he asks and that is the biggest challenge facing Becker, whose earlier Bronson adventures have built him a near cult following. It is a problem he solves ingeniously. The story concentrates on Bronson with the Nazis almost shadowy figures, only appearing when the direction of the story needs to alter or the pace picked up.

Becker blends historical accuracy with a complete and detailed course on surveillance, counter surveillance and weaponry, throws in some amazing facts about the Olympics the torch ceremony and relay in which we all took such pride this summer was invented for the 1936 Berlin Games as a carefully orchestrated piece of Nazi propaganda and keeps the whole thing going at a cracking pace.

Even the action sequences, with plenty of bodies and brutality - always the Achilles heel of the lone hero fighting the forces of evil - are believable. Becker avoids the obvious trap of over-building his creation by being deliberately vague about his past Bronson is an 'ex-Army officer' when it is obvious to anyone with knowledge of the military that his skills could only have been acquired in the SAS.

This careful underplaying, detailed research and a pacey, cleverly constructed and gripping story take this latest of Bronson's adventures out of the run-of-the-mill super-hero category. A cracking read, it deserves the widest possible audience of those who like their escapism to be blended with enough reality to place it just within the realm of the possible.

John Cleal is a former soldier and journalist with an interest in medieval history. He divides his time between France and England.

Reviewed by John Cleal, September 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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