The Arms Maker of Berlin
By Dan Fesperman
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307268372, 384pp.)
Publication Date: August 4, 2009
List Price: $25.95*
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This powerfully suspenseful new novel from Dan Fesperman takes us deep into the early 1940s in Switzerland and Germany as it traces the long reach of the wartime intrigues of the White Rose student movement, which dared to speak out against Hitler.
When Nat Turnbull, a history professor who specializes in the German resistance, gets the news that his estranged mentor, Gordon Wolfe, has been arrested for possession of stolen World War II archives, he’s hardly surprised that, even at the age of eighty-four, Gordon has gotten himself in trouble. But what’s in the archives is staggering: a spymaster’s trove missing since the end of the war, one that Gordon has always claimed is full of “secrets you can’t find anywhere else . . . live ammunition.”
Yet key documents are still missing, and Nat believes Gordon has hidden them. The FBI agrees, and when Gordon is found dead in jail, the Bureau dispatches Nat to track down the material, which has also piqued the interest of several dangerous competitors. As he follows a trail of cryptic clues left behind by Gordon, assisted by an attractive academic with questionable motives, Nat’s quest takes him to Bern and Berlin, where his path soon crosses that of Kurt Bauer, an aging German arms merchant still hoarding his own wartime secrets. As their stories—and Gordon’s—intersect across half a century, long-buried exploits of deceit, devotion, and doomed resistance begin working their way to the surface. And as the stakes rise, so do the risks . . .
Dan Fesperman’s travels as a writer have taken him to thirty countries and three war zones. Lie in the Dark won the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first crime novel, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows won their Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller, and The Prisoner of Guantánamo won the Dashiell Hammett Award from the International Association of Crime Writers. He lives in Baltimore.