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Merlin At War by Mark Ellis
‘Summer 1941. Four violent deaths, French double agents, an escalating fraud case – DCI Frank Merlin sets out on his most complex case yet.’
Merlin At War is the first book I have read by author Mark Ellis. Published by London Wall Publishing on 6th July 2017, my intention had been to read this novel over the Summer, but life got a little too hectic so it’s only now that I got around to picking up my copy.
I am so delighted I did!
Read on to see why….
Can I just say from the offset that both the cover and size of this novel are perfect. The images are striking, with the German march on Paris portrayed on the upper half and a night scene in London of a man with his hat pulled down over his face on the lower half. Immediately there is an atmosphere evoked that just draws the reader in between the covers. Having not read a DCI Frank Merlin novel before, I was intrigued.
Mark Ellis has written two previous novels in this series, Princes Gate and Stalin’s Gold, both set during the early years of the Second World War. In Merlin At War, the year is 1941. The Vichy Government is in situ in France under the occupation of the German army. Churchill is faced with the Blitz that ravaged London. America is on the verge of declaring war on Germany, to help put a stop to the Nazi invasion across Europe. The world is in turmoil.
For DCI Frank Merlin and Scotland Yard, criminal activity is at an all time high. Crime grasps the opportunity that the chaos of war brings.
Merlin At War opens with a dramatic scene, as English soldiers attempt an escape off the island of Crete under German aerial bombardment. With his dying breath, an English Officer urgently passes a letter to one of his compatriots, a letter that contains some very important information. This letter eventually makes it’s way back to London…but what are it’s contents?
Meanwhile, a body of a young woman is found in a hotel room in London. She is the victim of an abortion that was very tragically mishandled. DCI Merlin and his team are soon on the case, as a second body is discovered of a French national found in a Notting Hill flat.
It is up to Merlin and his team to solve these crimes and work out if and how they are all connected…..
DCI Frank Merlin is a very affable individual. Following on from major personal tragedy, he is now living with Sonia, a Polish immigrant.Their relationship is very obviously one of love from the outset, as they seem to have achieved a perfect balance in a world gone a little crazy.
Merlin, with an excellent work ethic, is determined to get to the bottom of this convoluted case. With calmness in his home life, he is able to give his undivided attention to the facts as they reveal themselves.
As details are uncovered, the reader is taken on a global journey. From Argentina to Northern Ireland, from London to Cairo, from Crete to Paris, I was almost expecting complimentary air miles after completing this novel.
Merlin At War is quite a complex novel. We get an insight into the war machine, with Charles de Gaulle , Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill all getting a mention. This is a book bursting with historical facts, all wrapped around a story that needs to be read with focus and concentration. For me personally, Merlin At War was not the type of novel I could fly through. This is a book that you appreciate and take your time with. There are numerous characters and there is quite a complex plot-line, moving across Europe and beyond.
DCI Merlin and his Scotland Yard team are an incredible group, all working away against the back drop of bombs and war. I thoroughly enjoyed it and most certainly recommend it to all history buffs and any individual with a fascination for this period in our past.
Merlin At War has a very authentic feel. As a reader you are completely immersed in a bygone era, as you imagine the chaos and turmoil that existed during those frightening years.
Merlin At War is foremost a detective novel. If you love a thrilling espionage-style story, like John Le Carre, then I expect this is right up your street.
Filled with duplicity, secrets and murder Mark Ellis has written an exciting novel full of nostalgic imagery, with an intriguing story at it’s core.
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.