It’s 1959 and a simple error in a bank transfer from Switzerland triggers a chain of events that uncover a plot to launch a nuclear assault on China and the USSR. Some 14 years after it has ended, the world is beginning to shake off the shadow of the war. With Hitler defeated there seems to be a brighter future ahead but all is not as it seems. Hitler lives, hidden in exile in South America, and a cabal of nefarious traitors and collaborators are scheming to return him to power.
LEGACY OF ATONEMENT is a gripping thriller that revels in the terrifying notion of what could have happened if WWII had ended in an alternative way. Though the premise of Hitler having escaped from his bunker has been used in numerous previous works, author Stephen Maitland-Lewis founds his novel on meticulously researched material which lends enough credibility to his seemingly outrageous plot to lure the reader into sympathetic supposition. Like the best of alternative histories, the fun is in playing along with the “What if?” while setting aside how unlikely the set-up may be. And like top quality sci-fi, the fantasy and conjecture of past (and future) worlds allows a skillful author to probe the state of the contemporary world. Maitland-Lewis is a capable and engaging writer and though the story is firmly set in an imagined past, it is not too difficult to see the reflections of modern society’s seemingly unshakeable troubles with anti-Semitism and fascism. The fictitious characters are well conceived and finely drawn. The named figures of the past are more than cardboard cut-outs and demonstrate that the author has put time into ensuring that their roots are firmly set in the historical record. The plotting is neatly paced, building momentum as it proceeds, with enough twists and surprises to satisfy lovers of both alternative history and Cold War thrillers. As the book races towards its conclusion, most readers will have long forgotten any misgivings they may have had about the fantastical scenario on which the novel is built.
Full of high drama and exciting twists, Stephen Maitland-Lewis LEGACY OF ATONEMENT is a page-turning thriller which reimagines the events from the Second World War and its immediate aftermath.
~Kent Lane for IndieReader