A German spy story, vastly ingenious and full of thrills, poison gas, and taxi cabs.
possesses the imperialistic spirit, and a great empire can scarcely survive without it."
"Arrant nonsense!" was the vigorous reply. "A great empire, from hemisphere to hemisphere, can be kept together a good deal better by democratic control. Force is always the arriere pensee of the individual and the autocrat."
"These are generalities," Julian declared. "I want to know your opinion about a peace at the present moment."
"Not having any, thanks. You're a dilettante journalist by your own confession, Julian, and I am not going to be drawn."
"There is something in it, then?"
"Maybe," was the careless admission. "You're a visitor worth having, Julian. '70 port and homegrown walnuts! A nice little addition to my simple fare! Must you go back to-morrow?"
"We've another batch of visitors coming, - Stenson amongst them, by the bye."
Furley nodded. His eyes narrowed, and little lines appeared at their corners.
"I can't imagine," he confesse
Some interesting moments and characters but melodramatic, a plot too dependent upon coincidence, and loaded with propaganda in a defense of Britain in WW I. Un-needed propaganda one would think, for it was published in 1920.
This is a very uneven effort from the author, who does an excellent job setting the stage in the first part of the book with an interesting sprinkle of main characters - a sophisticated, slightly black sheep of a younger aristocratic son, a Labour MP, and a beautiful half-Russian woman. The initial espionage and mystery elements are enough to seize the reader's attention. However, the propagandistic and bombastic elements begin to grow and by the end almost completely dominate the book. The story in the end comes across as a patronizing attempt to win over the "toiler" class to finish off the war effort, with some truly awful soliloquies in the last part. Not entirely a waste of time, but I'd have given it a pass if I'd known in advance what I'd be getting in the end.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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