A tense and enthralling historical thriller in which British Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming attempts to foil a Nazi plot to assassinate FDR, Churchill, and Stalin.
November, 1943. Weary of his deskbound status in the Royal Navy, intelligence officer Ian Fleming spends his spare time spinning stories in his head that are much more exciting than his own life - until the critical Tehran Conference, when Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin meet to finalize the D-Day invasion.
With the Big Three in one place, Fleming is tipped off that Hitler's top assassin has infiltrated the conference. Seizing his chance to play a part in a real-life action story, Fleming goes undercover to stop the Nazi killer. Between martinis with beautiful women, he survives brutal attacks and meets a seductive Soviet spy who may know more than Fleming realizes. As he works to uncover the truth and unmask the assassin, Fleming is forced to accept that betrayal sometimes comes from the most unexpected quarters - and that one's literary creations may prove eerily close to one's own life.
Brilliantly inventive, utterly gripping and suspenseful, Too Bad to Die is Francine Mathews' best novel yet and confirms her place as a master of historical fiction.
©2015 Francine Mathews (P)2015 Penguin Audio
"Absolutely marvelous! This novel masterfully weaves fact and fiction into a high-pitched thriller that keeps us spellbound from the very first pages. Great plotting, exotic locales and historical characters who positively come alive on the page, with some delightful sly winks along the way." (Jeffery Deaver)
"In this complex, remarkable, and suspenseful novel, Francine Mathews combines the genius of Ian Fleming with the drama of World War II and concocts a stunning tale of intrigue and deceit." (Jed Rubenfeld)
"[Ian] Fleming is a complex character with an active imagination and a store of hidden courage. Replete with recognizable characters from history, this look at a crucial period of World War II will satisfy history buffs and mystery lovers alike." (Library Journal)
Hmm - I wouldn't discourage them from reading it but I wouldn't particularly recommend it.
The real characters - Fleming, Churchill, Pamela Churchill et al - in the plot were partly why I bought the book in the first place. The were all such intriguing and larger-than-life people that they do a lot of the work for the writer. The actual plot was pretty transparent from the start.
The narrator was mostly ok but from the beginning he mispronounced words - e.g.'vac' should rhyme with back, not bake. When someone keeps doing that, I spend the next few minutes wondering why no-one on the production team corrected the narrator. Very distracting.
"One of the Best I've listened to in a long while.."
My favourite genre, so I have a bias, but entertaining, realistic historical fiction. I finished this in short order wishing there was more.
"Solid but safe follow up to Jack 1939"
This is a good thriller, particularly for those with WWII history as an interest. I liked how Ian Fleming is the chief protagonist and sort of comes up with the 007 character as he navigates through the treacherous climate of the Tehran Conference. Superb voice work. The drawback of the book was the fairly predictable antagonist, which made it a little less suspenseful.
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