Operation Raven

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In 1940, German SS General Reinhard Heydrich hatches a plot, without Hitler’s knowledge, to kidnap the British princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, and deliver them to Hitler. The British outcry against such an act would mean a clamoring for an end to the war. Heydrich sends his psychopathic SS agent Uwe Eilders, armed with a phenomenal plan, to accomplish this mission. Eilders has already passed himself through enemy lines when word of the plan is leaked to Admiral Wilhelm Canaris of Germany’s Secret Service.

Canaris fears reprisals in the form of the United States declaring war against Germany, so he tells Hitler of the plot and gains the Fuehrer’s veto of it. Eilders receives word of the cancellation of Operation Raven, but in his fury and with his twisted mind, he decides he will assassinate the young princesses to bring glory to the Germans.

When Hitler realizes that Eilders is intent on completing his mission (little realizing that murder is now the intent, not just kidnaping), he sends his own German intelligence agent to cooperate with an operative from Scotland Yard to find the killer. The alliance is top-secret, for the agreement to cooperate with the enemy in wartime is treason. Superintendent Harry Jones of Scotland Yard and Colonel Ulrich von der Osten of the Wehrmacht’s Abwehr service begin their uneasy alliance and follow a trail of deaths from London’s East End slums to its Belgravia mansions in their tracking of Eilders.

The suspense is riveting, the plans believable, the outcome uncertain. The portrayal of war-torn England, its fears and its weaknesses, as well as the position of the Royal Family in Britain, are intricately and effectively woven into the adventure. An excellent read that is difficult to put down.