Although this is a work of fiction, a good portion of the background can is part of true history. With this part of history being so controversial with conspiracies, it’s impossible to know what was going on out of the public eye. This tale had a lot of information that was based off of truth, which I found myself researching to find out. I found myself intrigued on if characters mentioned by Oliver could have been from the past, or if they were created from his imagination. I found there was a good mix of the both all throughout the book.
There are many well developed characters that are part of the British MI5, the American CIA, and the Russian KGB. These sort of invisible spies all have a part in what makes up this tale of espionage. The times were different then, and it’s interesting to see how each organization thrived during the time before such intense technology that we have available to us today.
The entire book is full of suspense, and once I started reading it and found that I was on a roll, it was a difficult book to put down. I admit, it did take some time to get on the initial roll. I kept Google near by since there was so much I was trying to research and learn as I read along.
This normally isn’t the first type of book I’d pick up, but I was intrigued by the Fiction/Non-Fiction crossover espionage tale, and Toby Oliver did not disappoint. I give this book 5/5.
As explained in the introduction, this book is the translated words of Teofil Tobias Reiss diary from 1914-1918. I imagine during that time, ink and paper weren’t always available, nor were conditions proper for writing. The fact that Reiss was able to keep his diary current, even if just to write a few words, is remarkable. Once you start reading the encounters Reiss, you’ll realize his story is remarkable too.
Reiss writes about some of the high ranking military officers who would be corrupt and demand orders be made, even if they were wrong. Reiss was a man who stood up for himself, even if it meant spending time in jail for disobeying orders. I found him to be an amazing survivor who fought countless times not just in battle, but with illness and heartache.
Even after his time in war from 1914-1918 he continued fighting, with a family at home waiting for him. He wrote to his family often when he was away, and those letters are included after the diary. I thought the book was very well put together. Teofil Tobias Reiss was a brave and heartfelt for not only surviving so much, but for keeping such a great recollection of everything as well. I give this book a 5/5.
After the War, everyone is struggling to start over. Jacob and Rachel are each traveling alone, until they meet each other. Instantly they find a connection, and agree to travel together. There are obstacles along the way as they try to run away to a country they can start over, possibly together.
The story line is slow, but intriguing. This isn’t a situation many people are put in. Jacob and Rachel each have their own personal stories of how they survived the war. They may be strangers, but they come together for the common goal of starting over and creating a new life. I could never put myself completely in the shoes of the characters, but I still try to imagine, considering the situation, if I could put so much trust in a stranger like they each did with one another.
The book is full of historical facts that that went along with the plot, making this work of fiction seem like it could have been a true story. So many people who survived the war, still had so many obstacles to overcome as they came out of hiding. In this story, after Jacob and Rachel had already formed a connection, Rachel is accused of working with the Nazis. Jacob makes the decision to use his education from before the war, when he was a New York lawyer, and defend her in court, as his wife. I enjoyed reading Jacob and Rachel’s story. It’s not your typical love story with all the war conflicts and accusations. I give this book 5/5!