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The Bookworm    by Mitch Silver order for
by Mitch Silver
Order:  USA  Can
Pegasus, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Mitch Silver's The Bookworm poses the question, why did Hitler launch a winter invasion of Russia, one that seemed doomed to failure? Hubris ... or something else? Russian geohistorian Lara Klimt digs into the past to unearth an answer likely to change the modern world order, and not in a good way. At the same time, we watch two consummate con artists - at the highest levels of Russian and US government - working a scam centered on Arctic oil.

The author takes readers back and forth between the 1940s and the present day. The story opens in 1940 Belgium where a monk plants a meticulously manufactured fake antique volume in the Orval abbey. This is what will convince Hitler to invade Russia. The chapter concludes, 'So ended the first great Allied victory of World War II.'

In modern times we're introduced to academic Larissa Mendelova Klimt researching captured Nazi documents in Moscow. Friends call her the bookworm. Lara is divorcing her unfaithful husband Viktor who puts down her work. Next we join Air Force One flying the President to Moscow for an international trade meeting. Then we hear a BBC news report of a body unearthed with a handcuff on one wrist. This discovery is the catalyst for the violence that follows.

It embroils Lara's twin brother Lev, making a dangerous (to him) discovery at an oil rig in Alaska. There's a theft and the slaughter of a family in Brixton, England. Lara is given six Dictaphone recordings to analyse - interviews with Noel Coward that she's told will lead to a book given to Adolf Hitler. From a separate source, she's also asked to conduct an interactive Town Hall with the US President.

How do all these plot strands come together? Read The Bookworm and find out. Her involvement places Lara, as well as her twin, in great peril. The plot builds to a crescendo of violence and action, in which Lara's soon to be ex plays a rather unlikely role. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating read for both conspiracy theorists and thriller fans.

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