|The Things That are Lost by Alan Kennedy|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A love story, a spy story, an examination of a little known aspect of Paris under German occupation during WW2 - this novel is hard to characterise but fabulous to read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 218||Date: January 2019|
|Publisher: Lasserrade Press|
The final novel in Alan Kennedy's WW2 trilogy sees Captain Alex Vere taken off active duty and banished to Scotland, providing trade craft spy training. It's stifling and suffocating and feels as much like a prison to Alex as anything the Germans would provide. And where is Justine? Alex hasn't seen her since he went to that disastrous meeting with John Cabot, instigator of the disinformation campaign, and returned to find her missing. A failed mission is one thing but no Justine is quite another. Alex can't get Justine out of his head. Has she left the service? Does she know too much? Is she even still alive? He determines to find her and uses all his spycraft to manipulate his superiors into aiding his search. But of course, Alex's superiors are manipulating him right back.
The Things That are Lost charts the attempts of the two lovers to find their way back to each other. Set in Paris as the end of the German occupation approaches, there are twists and turns and secrets and mysteries aplenty. It's a dangerous business Alex is involved in - and not just for himself, or Justine, or his courageous aunt Madeline, but also for a group of people shrouded in one of the aspects of Vichy Paris who are rarely spoken of: those left in the Drancy internment camp trying to avoid deportation to Poland and all the horror that awaits there.
I loved the claustrophobic sense of the final days of Vichy Paris conjured by Kennedy in this novel. Nobody knows whom they can trust. The German obsession with surveillance and monitoring is all-encompassing. Food is short. But there are chatter networks and Alex's aunt Madeline is mistress of them. She's a wonderful figure in the novel - clever, articulate, compassionate, but also deceptive and ruthless as she has to be. The various secret service agencies and operatives - both British and American - are working against each other as much as with each other. But Alex's determination to find Justine allows him to cut through the obfuscation and concentrate on what matters most.
The Things That are Lost is a love story, a spy story and an examination of a little known aspect of Paris under German occupation during WW2 - a novel that is hard to characterise but fabulous to read. As the characters edge towards denouement, so does the war. And it's heartless and cruel at times, as you'd expect, but it's also a stirring portrait of human love and courage. I'll be sad to let Alex and Justine go, but the conclusion of their story made for a very satisfying end to Alan Kennedy's well-researched, delicately written wartime trilogy. It would suit any reader with an interest in WW2 or who enjoys a thriller with complicated plotting, deft characterisation and intelligent, accurate research backing it up.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Things That are Lost by Alan Kennedy at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Things That are Lost by Alan Kennedy at Amazon.com.
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