Title: Secret Honor
Author: W. E. B. Griffin
PS3557.R489137 S37 2000
Date Updated: August 13, 2015
Set in the spy-infested capital of Argentina in 1943, Secret Honor is the third book in the series, Honor Bound.
This third entry in the military/espionage Honor Bound series, focusing on the Argentine-German connection during WWII, follows the previous books detailing the Nazi involvement in Argentina. In 1943, the Nazis-ordered the assassination of Jorge Frade, the anti-Axis president of Argentina. He has left the country in a tense mood, which is exacerbated by the murder of two Nazi officers during a night beach landing, part of the top-secret Nazi Operation Phoenix. The aborted mission was crucial to a plan to free the Argentine-interned crew of the Nazi ship Graf Spee, but it turns out that the slain officers had also extorted ransom money from Jews in concentration camps and arranged for their passage to Argentina, without the Reich’s knowledge. Cletus Frade, the 24-year-old American-reared son of the slain president, has returned to Argentina as heir to his father’s vast estates and financial holdings. But Cletus is also an OSS agent, and a chance meeting with Major Hans-Peter von Wachstein, a Nazi pilot attached to the German embassy, results in their friendship. Peter feeds secrets to Cletus in exchange for help in moving Peter’s family’s funds to Argentina, where they hope to live after the war that he and his father (a close aide to the Führer) believe is wrong and already lost. When Himmler launches an investigation to find the embassy spy who scuttled Operation Phoenix, Cletus struggles to protect Peter’s identity and deal with the rising power of pro-Axis Juan Peron. Griffin adroitly shifts among German, American and Argentinian cultural milieux and fills the plot with believable romance, intrigue and diplomatic fencing, while capturing the horrors of war and the crucial role of intelligence agents. He explains nicely the Reich’s need for Argentina as safe harbor to replenish its U-boats and to stash funds for postwar Nazi emigration. What will happen to the SS, Cletus and the surviving cast promises an equally exciting sequel.