James Becker is back with another story of espionage shrouded in a memorable time in history. After a man is gunned down in Berlin, mere feet from the British Embassy, questions remain. These questions climb all the way to the top of the Secret Service Bureau (SSB), the elite spy agency in Britain in 1912. There are whispers of an American alliance with German to overtake the British. Armed with this news, the SSB call on one of their premier agents, Alex Tremayne, to take on the massive task of killing three German agents before they can reach New York City. Plans are drafted to put Tremayne on-board the new transatlantic liner,Titanic, where he will be tasked with eliminating the Germans and disposing of them before anyone knows of their deaths. Tremayne and his female companion take on the roles of the Maitlands. Keen to complete the mission, Alex locates his targets and seeks to reconnoiter before striking. However, his elusive tactics are caught by the Germans, who begin their own plan to stop Tremayne however they can. As the higher-ups in London await news, they have sent a submarine to monitor the mission, perhaps ensuring nothing goes wrong. With the Titanic inching across the Atlantic, Tremayne is running out of time, but soon discovers that there are many other problems that require his attention. However, no one could have predicted what came next, aboard the unsinkable Titanic, as history takes over the narrative and turns the tale on its head. Well developed and on point, Becker shows why he is the master of his art. Recommended to those who enjoy stories layered in actual history, as well as readers who find pleasure in all things related to espionage.
I have read many of James Becker’s novels over the years and find his mix of history with thrills is like few others. In a piece that take the reader back to the early part of the 20th century, Becker keenly develops a story that puts Alex Tremayne in the driver’s seat. Tremayne is a man wanted by many, who has mastered his job. He is gritty and little derails him, though there is surely a weakness to his having no family. He is happy to serve King and Country, though he is surely one who is not ready to pack it up and admit defeat. Tremayne does well to blend into his surroundings, but uses code breaking skills to stand out from the others. There is a handful of other characters who seek to flavour the narrative effectively. A mix of backgrounds and positions within the story help Becker to effectively tell the tale he seeks to shape. While there are surely a few characters based on those from history, Becker shapes them effectively in his own image. The story remained strong and kept my attention throughout, particularly because I have a great interest in all things Titanic. With a narrative that builds with each passing chapter, the reader will not be disappointed. Short chapters keep the story moving and forces the reader to read “just a little more” before putting the book down. I was able to finish in a sing;e day, which surely speaks to Becker’s style of writing. Opening the reader’s mind to ‘what if’ at one point, James Becker is one storyteller not to be forgotten in a supersaturated genre.
Kudos, Mr. Becker, for another wonderful story. I always enjoy your pieces and cannot wait to see what else you have in store for the reader.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons