Orders from Berlin
By Simon Tolkien
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312632144, 320pp.)
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
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“Tolkien’s writing has a timeless quality [and] the haunting undertones of other great masters.” –USA Today
A compelling thriller laced with Simon Tolkien's signature writing style, praised by the LA Times as “half Christie and half Grisham”
With the publication of The Inheritance, Simon Tolkien was lauded as a naturally gifted storyteller who possesses a terrific command of language and a unique perception into the darker sides of human nature. Now, Simon takes readers back to the case that started it all for Trave, the hero of his last two critically acclaimed novels.
It’s September of 1940. France has fallen and London is being bombed day and night. Almost single-handedly Winston Churchill maintains the country’s morale. Britain’s fate hangs in the balance and the intelligence agencies on both sides of the Channel are desperate for anything that could give them the edge.
Albert Morrison, ex-chief of MI6, is pushed over the banister outside his London apartment. He falls to his death at the feet of his daughter, Ava, but it is too dark for her to see the attacker before he escapes. Two Scotland Yard detectives attend the crime scene: Inspector Quaid and his junior assistant, Detective Trave. Quaid is convinced that this is a simple open-and-shut case involving a family dispute. But Trave is not so sure. Following a mysterious note in the dead man’s pocket, Trave discovers that Morrison was visited by Alec Thorn, deputy head of MI6, on the day of his death. Could Thorn—who is clearly carrying a flame for Morrison's daughter—be involved in a plot to betray his country that Morrison tried to halt, and if so, can Trave stop it in time in this gripping and intelligent thriller?
SIMON TOLKIEN was a successful criminal law barrister in London before moving to California with his wife and two children. He is the grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien.
Praise for Orders from Berlin
“Jack Higgins fans will enjoy Tolkien’s exciting third suspense novel featuring Det. Insp. William Trave… Heartfelt evocations of the horrors of war, in particular the effects of the bombing raids on Londoners, show Tolkien has upped his game.” –Publishers Weekly
“In the early years of World War II, a plot as ingenious as it is outrageous unfolds in London and Berlin… Satisfying twists and authentic WWII elements should keep readers engaged.” --Kirkus
“Tolkien effectively layers into the tale a wealth of fascinating historical detail, including meaty appearances by Churchill, Hitler, and Gestapo head Reinhard Heydrich…the richness of the characters and the vivid sense of daily life in the midst of history carry the day in high style.”
“Orders From Berlin is a novel that is as historically rich and evocative as it is suspenseful and riveting…[Mr. Tolkien] transports the reader flawlessly across the line from history to fiction…compelling.”
—Santa Barbara News Press
“Tolkien, a former barrister, writes with the keen and penetrating eye of a man well used to seeing beneath surfaces and with the imagination of someone who’s at home with both history and literature.”
—Santa Barbara Independent
“Historical thriller fans will enjoy the sleuthing into the potential assassin’s motivations, the conflicts between characters, and the well-researched portrayal of war-torn London.”
“Filled with action and taut suspense, readers will believe they are in London during the Nazi air blitz as the raids impact the case. Orders From Berlin is a strong whodunit wrapped inside a powerful espionage thriller.”
---The Mystery Gazette blog
Praise for The King of Diamonds
**Named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Fiction Mysteries of 2011**
"Compulsively readable. As Tolkien lays out a story that's grounded in diamond-dealing and the Holocaust, the tension builds with inexorable strength. And Tolkien's nuanced portrait of the Traves is a compassionate study in the travails of marriage. Crafted with cunning and imbued with menace, The King of Diamonds adds luster to Tolkien's growing reputation as a brilliant star in the thriller firmament." --Richmond Times Dispatch
"A thick web of family tensions and psychological dysfunction with a whodunit chaser, Tolkien's third novel (The Inheritance, 2010, etc.) is elegantly written, with Masterpiece Theatre pacing and embellishments." --Kirkus, starred review
“Another literary success for [Simon Tolkien]…The claim comparing Simon Tolkien to Agatha Christie and John Grisham is not to be taken lightly. The ironic part is just how true this statement is. The King of Diamonds combines a deeply layered mystery with several interesting characters along with the intrigue of criminal trails and police chases. Set against very real historical context like the Holocaust and the hunt for Adolf Eichmann… gives much credibility to a great read and a thoroughly engaging thriller.” –Bookreporter.com
Critical Acclaim for Simon Tolkien and The Inheritance
“Tolkien’s writing has a timeless quality [and] the haunting undertones of other great masters of mystery.” –USA Today
“A fine novel. A thinking person’s Da Vinci Code.” --Chicago Tribune
“Simon Tolkien’s grandfather is J. R. R., but his new novel owes more to Agatha Christie—and Dan Brown.” --New York Times
"A deft combination of Agatha Christie manor-house whodunit, Erle Stanley Gardner courtroom drama and Dan Brown thriller, The Inheritance is nonetheless unique to its creator. And Tolkien, with this compelling read, proves himself worthy—and then some—of his literary pedigree." --Richmond Times Dispatch
“Display[s] a narrative skill that the author of The Lord of the Rings would surely have recognized and admired.” --Philadelphia Inquirer
“A first-rate writer…Written with great surety and absolutely compelling.” --Booklist (starred review)
“This second novel (after The Final Witness) by J.R.R. Tolkien's grandson is a legal thriller, World War II historical novel, and Da Vinci Code treasure hunt all rolled into one… an absorbing 1950s-era mystery.” --Library Journal