Title: Top Secret
Author: W. E. B. Griffin
Griffin, W. E. B. (2014) and William E. Butterworth IV. Top Secret: a clandestine operations novel. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
PS3557.R489137 T725 2014
- “From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author, a brand-new series about the Cold War-and a different breed of warrior. In the first weeks after World War II, a squeaky-clean new second lieutenant named James D. Cronley Jr. is spotted and recruited for a new enterprise that will eventually be transformed into something called the CIA. One war may have ended, but another one has already begun, against an enemy that is bigger, smarter, and more vicious: the Soviet Union. The Soviets have hit the ground running, and Cronley’s job is to help frustrate them, harass them, and spy on them any way he can. His recruiter thinks he has the potential to become an asset-though, of course, he could also screw up spectacularly. And in his first assignment, it looks like that’s exactly what might happen. He’s got seven days to extract a vital piece of information from a Soviet agent, but Cronley’s managed to rile up his superior officers (he seems to have a talent for it), and if he fails, it could be one of the shortest intelligence careers in history. There are enemies everywhere-and, as Cronley is about to find out, some of them even wear the same uniform he does”– Provided by publisher.
- FICTION / Action & Adventure.
- FICTION / War & Military.
- FICTION / Suspense.
Date Posted: October 18, 2017
Opening his Clandestine Operations series, Griffin (Empire and Honor, 2012, etc.) drafts warriors from his Honor Bound series to confront post–World War II communist aggression.
It’s late 1945. Army Lt. James Cronley, scion of a Texas ranching family, has played a significant role in frustrating die-hard Nazi attempts to cache bomb-grade uranium in Argentina. By direct order of President Harry S. Truman, Cronley’s promoted to captain for his exploits. He returns to Germany and his Army assignment at a Counterintelligence Corps project wringing intel out of “good German” remnants of Abwehr Ost, an intelligence unit that developed critical information about the Soviet Union. Cronley’s soon trapped in a bureaucratic knife fight among veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (covert operations warriors), CIC loyalists, other Army units and the FBI. Set mostly at an isolated and abandoned Bavarian monastery and elsewhere in Germany, the narrative’s ripe with meetings, confrontations, lies and subterfuge rather than gunplay. The dialogue is standard Griffin sarcasm and one-upmanship, driving a plot which requires getting a captured Russian agent from the Abwehr Ost camp to Argentina. Back in the U.S., Cronley elopes with a young American woman he met during his Argentine expedition, but his bride is killed in a car wreck a day later. Less than a week later, he sleeps with a colonel’s wife, and it becomes clear that Griffin’s male-female interactions will be sex rather than romance. The Griffin style remains immutable: short chapters, macho attitudes, stiff upper lip when threatened, no-sweat heroics, much love for military equipment and weaponry and protocol. That familiarity makes the occasional minor error more notable, and it makes one good-guy escape from the hangman problematic. In keeping with Clandestine Operations’ raison d’être, Griffin’s sketch of the immediate post–WWII bureaucratic territorial clashes has purpose; it’s an outline of how the demobilized OSS hot-war heroes became passionate CIA cold warriors.
G-fans will not be disappointed.