Ex-military Patton Harcourt lives a quiet life as a librarian in small town North Carolina. When a sniper upsets her morning pastry making, she’s forced to team up with professional assassin Nemo to foil an elaborate neo-Nazi plot to discover Heinrich Himmler’s lost recipe for Alchemy. If Patton and Nemo do not get to it first, the Third Reich have all it needs to return to power and perpetuate their horror on the world once again.
I’m a bit of WWII History nerd, so this one piqued my interest immediately, especially when the title says Enigma and Bletchley Park was mentioned on the back cover. I went on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day tour with EF Tours in 2019 and visited many of the places these characters go in Enigma Affair. Bletchley Park was one of them and was absolutely incredible.
While on that tour, we also visited several Holocaust memorials and learned in depth history and details about some of atrocities that took place, which are also deeply threaded into this book. I was engrossed in Lovett’s characters and in tune to their purpose throughout the book.
Lovett did a phenomenal job with his research in regard to Bletchley Park and its contribution to the Allied victory, WWII artifacts and timelines, Nazis, the Holocaust, and neo-Nazis too. His blend of factual Nazi propaganda strategies and modern-day outreach methods enhanced by technological advances was brilliant and thorough. I can totally see people (literally and figuratively) with sinister motives preying on the good graces of everyday people to further their evil intentions without a second thought.
Charlie Lovett’s character voices were distinct, and their personalities intriguingly flawed, which I enjoyed. Each main character had something from their past that haunted them and directly influenced their interactions and beliefs about the world and wove nicely into the plot of the story. Even the villain was well developed, and her plans to return Nazism to global prominence were closer to possible than I was comfortable with, so the stakes were extremely high for me.
That said, I felt the beginning was a bit slow. When Patton and Nemo teamed up, I didn’t get a good sense of the anxiety of the situation that I feel two strangers being shot at would have, but after a few chapters this smoothed out really nicely.
There were also a couple things that I felt were edging on Deus ex Machina. It seemed like the one person in the world with the expertise they needed to solve a clue either showed up at the right time or they knew them personally. Despite feeling a bit convenient at times, I still enjoyed the story immensely.
The Enigma Affair is filled with suspense, betrayal, intrigue, and haunting facts from humanity’s darkest years that, if forgotten, have the potential to be repeated again. The Enigma Affair is not only a thrilling work of fiction, but it’s a reminder that the evils of yesteryear could easily creep into our future if we are not vigilant.
The Enigma Affair is being published by Blackstone Publishing on 6 September and is currently available for pre-order.