Title: Empire and Honor
Author: W. E. B. Griffin
Griffin, W. E. B. (2012) and William E. Butterworth IV. Empire and Honor. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
PS3557.R489137 E47 2012
- United States. Office of Strategic Services–Fiction.
- Intelligence officers–United States–Fiction.
- World War, 1939-1945–Fiction.
Date Posted: October 18, 2017
The seventh in Griffin’s (Victory and Honor, 2011, etc.) Honor Bound series offers more of USMC Maj. Cletus Frade’s escapades.
Here, Griffin’s all-stuff-military-and–intrigue battleground is Argentina. The time is immediately post–World War II, with Juan Perón and Evita double-dealing and Nazis on the side. The good-guy movers and shakers believe the USSR is the next enemy, and remnants of the disbanded OSS (soon to be CIA) want to hide the high command of Abwehr Ost, the Wehrmacht’s anti-communist intelligence group, in Argentina far away from the Soviets. The U.S. rocket program needed von Braun; the spooks needed Abwehr Ost. Argentina is the chosen hideaway, which is complicated by the fact that Argentina is also the lair of Operation Phoenix, a plan by Nazi SS-types dead set on reincarnating fascism. Frade’s late biological father was a rich Argentine colonel, and so Frade’s unofficially charged with rooting out bad Germans and securing good Germans. This book maintains Griffin’s standard narrative trick of employing heroes with stupendous wealth, airplanes and secure hideaways readily available. Frade also happens to be Perón’s godson, but Frade dislikes Tio Juan, which muddies dealings with the Argentine government, mainly Gen. Bernardo Martín, chief of the Bureau of Internal Security. Some Argentines want to assassinate Perón, but many don’t, in spite of Perón being corrupt and overly ambitious, since Perón’s death might spark a civil war. The primary narrative thread involves locating U-234, a submarine that ferried scheming SS-types intent on persevering with fascism’s failures. U-234 also hauled a half-ton of uranium oxide the SS bad guys want to sell to the USSR to finance Operation Phoenix. Although heavily reliant on exposition, the book provides sufficient back story and works as a stand-alone read.
Nothing beats a cinder-block–sized adventure novel on a winter weekend.