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We Shall Not Sleep    by Anne Perry order for
We Shall Not Sleep
by Anne Perry
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2008 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

We Shall Not Sleep is the very satisfying conclusion - following At Some Disputed Barricade - to Anne Perry's historical mystery series that pits three English siblings (Joseph, Judith and Matthew Reavley) against a Macchiavellian mastermind named The Peacemaker, whose objective is to support a German empire peacefully uniting all of Europe. Joseph is a chaplain, and Judith an ambulance driver, both serving on the Western Front during World War I. Matthew works in intelligence.

Now the war is almost over but the Peacemaker has not been identified and is working to influence the peace settlement, in order to realize his original goal. In London, Matthew is contacted by a man, who brings an offer from The Peacemaker's German cousin. The latter has had a change of heart about his past role and now offers to travel to England and expose his previous partner to the authorities. They arrange for him to cross over with the flood of German prisoners of war surrendering at the Cambridgeshire lines at Ypres, where Joseph and Judith are still with the troops.

Matthew rushes to Ypres, where he finds the cousin, Colonel von Schenckendorff, his foot badly injured by a British soldier's bayonet - one of many instances of vengeful soldiers attacking German prisoners. But before he can escort Schenckendorff from the front, an English nurse is brutally murdered. Once again, Joseph is asked to help with a murder investigation, and those involved are once more people close to him - including Lizzie Blaine, for whom he cares deeply and who is now working at the front as a nurse.

As the spotlight of suspicion shines on all, various people (including Judith) lie to protect those to whom they're indebted or close to, and to keep secrets. And Richard Mason, hearing of a murdered woman and fearing that it's Judith whom he loves, rushes to the area. Though he collaborated with the Peacemaker after the horrors of the Boer War, Mason has begun to harbor serious doubts about his end-justifies-means ruthlessness, and to come around to Joseph's viewpoint that 'the means were inextricably bound into and part of the end.'

Indeed, it's this entire philosophical discussion of whether or not the end does justify the means, and the shining of spotlights on what war does to even the best of human beings, that raises this historical mystery above the norm and makes it very relevant today. Don't miss this entire thought-provoking series and especially We Shall Not Sleep, an outstanding conclusion that's filled with surprises.

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