Since concluding his acclaimed Berlin Noir trilogy, author Philip Kerr has explored speculative fiction, mystery, science fiction and even the young adult genre. He returns to WWII-era Europe with Hilter's Peace, an intense and masterfully duplicitous story that revolves around the Big Three Conference involving Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin in Teheran in 1943. After losing hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the debacle at Stalingrad and being overwhelmed all along the eastern front, Hitler and his Nazi brain trust know that Germany cannot possibly win the war. Secret peace negotiations have begun, but as FDR says with understatement, It's a delicate situation. Things become even more complicated when war atrocities committed by the Soviet Union come to light, specifically a mass grave containing the bodies of 4,000 Polish officers and a letter describing the nightmarish deaths of more than 50,000 German POWs. Two focal characters in the unfolding drama are Willard Mayer, a Harvard-educated philosopher with more than a few skeletons in his closet, and Walter Schellenberg, a general in Hitler's SS serving as the head of Foreign Intelligence. Mayer, who is working for the Office of Strategic Services as a German intelligence analyst, is inexplicably called upon by FDR to accompany him to Teheran. But as the meeting draws nearer, so does the chance that his past political indiscretions will be uncovered. Schellenberg, meanwhile, has found out about the top-secret meeting and is planning to end the war once and for all.
Masterfully blending fiction and fact and replete with espionage, intrigue and clandestine military adventure Hitler's Peace will not only appeal to WWII aficionados but also to fans of suspense novelists like Clancy, Ludlum and DeMille. Paul Goat Allen is a freelance editor and writer in Syracuse, New York.