Traitors Gate (Traitors)

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You will prefer it. To be honest, if a friend of mine had not raved at some point about how good the book was, I would never had picked it up on a whim, needing a change from Roman stuff, and read it. Though early on, I realised that this is not strictly speaking a war book. This is a book about people and espionage and the hell that was the Third Reich before the war. This is a tale about a confused and dreadful time during which trust was hard to come by, and humanity even more so. Though the direct protagonist and antagonist are fictional, the story introduces us early on as supporting characters to two key figures in the history of the 3rd Reich, both of whom were already familiar to me.

Reinhard Heydrich is one.

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If you know anything about the period, that name should make you shudder. He was one of the architects of the Holocaust and one of the most brutal and unpleasant people during the war, running the Gestapo. The other is admiral Canaris, head of the German secret service, hero of mine and unsung hero of the war. Essentially, this story tells the dreadful tale of an Englishman in Berlin in battling with his family loyalties and his conscience in a world rapidly descending into hell.

It is refreshing to see a tale that tells of high-powered and intelligent Germans, even in the party itself, understanding that Hitler was bad for Germany as well as for the rest of the world and beginning to put together a plan to remove the Fuhrer from power. A lot of the story relies on secret negotiations between high level anti-Nazi Germans and peripheral members of the British government, arranging to carry out a coup against Hitler should the Fuhrer decide to invade Czechoslovakia despite British and French opposition.

Despite the fact that even the least informed reader will go into the meat of the novel already aware of the fact that Hitler did not in fact die in , and therefore we know that any plot failed, the novel is so well written that it is impossible not to be swept up in the tension and hope against hope that somehow the plot succeeds. Impressive, that. This allows Ridpath not only to explore aspects of divisions in the higher ranks of the Third Reich and grand moral and political concerns, but also to investigate and reveal the deeper, more personal effects of the rise of Nazi power on the ordinary people of Germany.

I gave to say that at least one anecdote told in relation to this thread will stay with me for a long time. So… the characters are extremely well constructed and smoothly filtered in among real personages of the era, all of whom are excellently portrayed. The feel of the book is utterly atmospheric. It is like stepping into the page and finding yourself in just pre-war Berlin. I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is exactly the sort of book I would not have thought to read, and I would have missed out.

This will most definitely hit my top ten of the year. Go get it and read it. You will NOT be disappointed. I have a friend who doesn't like certain genres crime for one and makes the point of defining the genre of a book very early on in our discussions of books. Why I thought of her in connection with this novel is that I'm not sure whether I like thrillers, whether I like the genre. However, there is occasionally in me a yearning to read something exciting, which is what a thriller promises by definition. This novel seemed to fit the bill. I had bought a copy on somebody's recommendation, liked th I have a friend who doesn't like certain genres crime for one and makes the point of defining the genre of a book very early on in our discussions of books.

I had bought a copy on somebody's recommendation, liked the setting - Berlin, summer of and two young men who are fluent in both English and German - but I soon began to wonder whether it should be called a thriller at all although the front cover proudly says so. Quite a lot of it is to do with the main character's marital problems, which I failed to warm to.

Traitors Gate Review

I also felt I already knew, before opening the book, how awful the Nazis were and how the Jews were persecuted. And so I needed the story to carry me along but, alas, it failed.


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Maybe I needed a different book. With this one the plot is essentially given away on the first page: we know that Hitler was not killed in Oct 23, Margarita Morris rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction. I checked him out because I was interested in his spy thrillers and I'm very glad I did. Traitor's Gate is a meticulously researched novel about a German plot to overthrow Hitler in It is based on fact, with some fictional characters thrown in, and is an excellent history lesson in how the British government's policy of appeasement caused the plot to fail so that Hitler survived.


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  • It's a book that explores conscience and moral duty and the consequences of acting or not acting. The writing is strong and very polished and the plot moves at a crisp pace. I will definitely be reading the sequel. May 20, Aseel rated it did not like it Shelves: reads. One of those books which had false advertisement in their blurb. The writing was shocking. One minute the author is saying something and literally 10 pages later he is contradicting himself.

    The characters were flat and very indecisive, which you would not expect from the blurb. Very, very disappointed. Great story line, an easy book even for somebody not so familiar with the history of nazi germany. Recommend it for anybody who likes true history novels! Jun 29, Wilde Sky rated it it was ok. This tale should have been more entertaining that it was. The writing was fairly flat as was the characterisation. Plus the hero is a little too "what ho, chaps! Conrad does what Conrad wants to do, regardless of the potential consequences for others. It's also hard for the author to build up tension surrounding the main plot line, given that everyone picking up this book is likely to know what actually happened to Hitler in the end.

    I don't think I'd pick up other Ridpath bo This tale should have been more entertaining that it was. I don't think I'd pick up other Ridpath books based on this one. Feb 01, Cathy Hayes rated it did not like it Shelves: books.

    Traitor's Gate (Traitors, #1) by Michael Ridpath

    Really disappointed in this book - the subject the plot to kill Hitler and avoid WWII was something I'm interested in and I was looking forward to reading it. However, it reads more like a romantic novel than a thriller and the main character acts like a Boy's Own hero, racing round causing havoc yet getting away with it, escaping the clutches of the Gestapo on a number of occasions. Not sure why I persevered to the end, it didn't get any better as it went on Nov 19, Vicki Deakin rated it really liked it Shelves: action.

    But does every German Conrad de Lancey has seen enough of evil: the shadow of fear on the faces of innocents; the roar of tanks through empty streets; the sudden lull before the slaughter begins. Aug 16, Ches Torrants rated it liked it. Near the beginning it seemed heavy going. The German names and details, probably authentic and well researched, were tiresome and difficult for an English reader.

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    But the characters and the situations hooked my interest. The author has given us a poignant fantasy, perhaps similar to real-life conspiracies that might have been. There are twists as the central character looks for ways to survive, at least long enough to kill Hitler. We know that he failed, but the ending has some surprises. A plot to kill Hitler, in The need to convince the UK government to let Hitler declare war on Czechoslovakia so that German generals would stand up to the Fuhrer. What could possibly go wrong? A mix of real life characters and storylines, and even a love triangle between a British agent, a half Jewish woman and a Gestapo officer, the story weaves towards the somewhat predictable ending - if you know your pre war history that is.

    A good read, but predictable. Enthralling story with a mixture of fact and fiction! A fast paced piece of fiction laced with fact. It is well written and detailed with believable characters. At times one had doubts whether the principal persons would ever survive. May 22, Kay Smillie rated it liked it. A decent prewar thriller based in Germany. Fiction but based on a what might have been scenario in an attempted coup to get rid of Hitler.

    Will most definitely appeal to those with a deep interest in that period of history. Not bad at all. Ray Smillie. Sep 12, Mike Taverner rated it liked it. It was good - a period piece of 's culture as well as being an interesting historic story. Of course Hitler was not removed from power in , yet Ridpath constructs a story taut with page-turning tension that makes you forget you know the outcome, or anyway, to hope they will succeed.

    Ridpath even plays a little with the better known aspects of history, teasing the reader with Chamberlain's famous 'pi Of course Hitler was not removed from power in , yet Ridpath constructs a story taut with page-turning tension that makes you forget you know the outcome, or anyway, to hope they will succeed. Ridpath even plays a little with the better known aspects of history, teasing the reader with Chamberlain's famous 'piece of paper'. There is fun to be had trying to work out how Ridpath's novel will reach what we know is the inevitable conclusion of the plot to kill Hitler and stop the slide to world war.

    I think the appeasement issue comes over very well, through Conrad's father, a decorated Great War veteran so badly damaged psychologically by his experiences in the trenches he will countenance ANY way to avoid another conflict.

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