Victory and Honor
W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
Putnam, Aug 9 2011, $26.95
In 1945, as the Axis powers were heading to defeat, OSS. Lieutenant Colonel Cletus Frade fears the politicians and the American people will want to turn isolationist in a sort of Fortress America. He knows the OSS mission is winding down as the agency is to soon be disbanded even as he and others try to prevent the Nazis from escaping to Argentina where they are welcomed. Also a U–boat is heading to Japan with atomic bomb secrets.
However, Frade’s biggest concern is the Soviet Union at a time when OSS agents are being offered employment by the other federal alphas. As Frade works a top secret operation to ascertain what Stalin plans to do now that his Red Army has entered Berlin, he and his agents know the risk they take because if something goes wrong their country will slaughter them as combat casualties just when the third world war is beginning to heat up.
The third Griffin-Butterworth collaboration and sixth Honor Bound WW II espionage thriller (see Death and Honor, and The Honor of Spies) reads for the first third of the novel more like a non-action historical setting the environment of the switch from combat to “peace”. That overly extended opening is fascinating but also slower than a glacier. The story line picks up speed especially following Frade and his dedicated men working in the field against what appears to be the next hostility while many back home and some in the cold desert the sunken OSS agency sort of like contemporary employees leaving base closure locations rather than move.