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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Legacy of Atonement by Stephen Maitland-Lewis is an edge-of-your-seat, espionage thriller set during the Cold War. When Daniel Lavy’s enjoyment of a football game on television is interrupted by the unexpected arrival at the front door of his estranged niece Giselle, it sets in motion a train of seemingly unrelated events that threaten the very existence of peace in a post-World War II world. Giselle is seeking her uncle’s help after being fired from the Geneva Bank where she worked after a simple mistake on a wire transfer. When Daniel agrees to help her, they uncover a plot that spans the world and threatens world stability. From Geneva to Hong Kong, to Argentina, Paraguay, and the United States, ex-Free-French partisan Daniel, his comrade Guy Broussard, Giselle, and Daniel’s ex-wife Claudia seek to expose the awful truth to the world; that Adolf Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun did not die in that Berlin bunker in 1945 but indeed are alive and well, planning another attempt at world domination, from South America.
Legacy of Atonement is a chillingly realistic portrayal of a world living on the edge as both the Soviet Union and China sought to spread the message of universal communism around the world. Author Stephen Maitland-Lewis creates a scenario where some in the West were so desperate to destroy the communist threat that they were willing to sacrifice democracy for fascist rule and who better to serve their needs than the most fanatical of them all; Adolf Hitler. The main characters, Daniel, Giselle, and Guy, are realistic and believable. Daniel, driven not only by idealism but also by the threats to his missing twin boys being held at Hitler’s compound in Paraguay, is a beautifully well-rounded character; the archetypal hero. He is well-matched by his duplicitous partner, Guy Broussard. I particularly appreciated the portrayal of the chaos in the United States government as various factions, with immense power and access to unlimited funds, were able to subvert and direct operations that would horrify almost all of its citizens. This is a fast-paced, exciting, and immensely satisfying spy thriller that I can highly recommend.