Cover image for The bookworm : a novel
Title:
The bookworm : a novel
Author:
Silver, Mitch, 1946- author.
Edition:
First Pegasus books edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Pegasus Books, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
xi, 292 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"Europe, 1940: Posing as a friar, a British operative talks his way into the monastery at Villers-devant-Orval just before Nazi art thieves plan to sweep through the area and whisk everything of value back to Berlin. But the ersatz man of the cloth is no thief. Instead, that night he adds an old leather Bible to the monastery's library and then escapes. London, 2018: A construction worker makes a grisly discovery--a skeletal arm bone with a rusty handcuff attached to the wrist. Was this the site of a long-forgotten prison, uncharted on any map? One observer knows better: it's all that remains of a courier who died in a V-2 rocket attack. The woman who will put these two disparate events together--and understand the looming tragedy she must hurry to prevent--is Russian historian and former Soviet chess champion Larissa Mendelova Klimt, 'Lara the Bookworm' to her friends."--Jacket.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781681776415
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Why did Hitler chose not to invade England when he had the chance?Europe, 1940: It's late summer and Belgium has been overrun by the German army. Posing as a friar, a British operative talks his way into the monastery at Villers-devant-Orval just before Nazi art thieves plan to sweep through the area and whisk everything of value back to Berlin. But the ersatz man of the cloth is no thief. Instead, that night he adds an old leather Bible to the monastery's library and then escapes.London, 2017: A construction worker operating a backhoe makes a grisly discovery--a skeletal arm-bone with a rusty handcuff attached to the wrist. Was this the site, as a BBC newsreader speculates, of "a long-forgotten prison, uncharted on any map?" One viewer knows better: it's all that remains of a courier who died in a V-2 rocket attack. The woman who will put these two disparate events together--and understand the looming tragedy she must hurry to prevent--is Russian historian and former Soviet chess champion Larissa Mendelovg Klimt, "Lara the Bookworm," to her friends. She's also experiencing some woeful marital troubles.In the course of this riveting thriller, Lara will learn the significance of six musty Dictaphone cylinders recorded after D-Day by Noel Coward--actor, playwright and, secretly, a British agent reporting directly to Winston Churchill. She will understand precisely why that leather Bible, scooped up by the Nazis and deposited on the desk of Adolf Hitler days before he planned to attack Britain, played such a pivotal role in turning his guns to the East. And she will discover the new secret pact negotiated by the nefarious Russian president and his newly elected American counterpart--maverick and dealmaker--and the evil it portends.Oh, and she'll reconcile with her husband.


Author Notes

Mitch Silver was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island. He attended Yale (B.A. in History) and Harvard Law School ("I lasted three days. I know the law through Wednesday, but after that..."). He was an advertising writer for several of the big New York agencies, living in Paris for a year with his wife, Ellen Highsmith Silver, while he was European Creative Director on the Colgate-Palmolive account. A previously published novelist (In Secret Service, S&S/Touchstone), Mitch and his wife Ellen live in Greenwich, Connecticut and have two children: Sloane is a nurse at Wake Forest Medical Center and Perry is an actor and the drummer for Sky Pony, a band in New York. Mitch also won the American Song Festival Lyric Grand Prize for "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed." His blood type is O positive, and he always writes his biography in the third person. For more info, please go to mitchsilverauthor.com.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A Russian professor of geopolitical history, Lara Klimt, known to friends as the bookworm for her obsession with research, becomes the focus of deadly attention after acquiring six Dictaphone cylinders containing WWII secrets recorded by Noel Coward, who did espionage work for Winston Churchill during the war. Lara's small world of archives and classes changes abruptly as she realizes that Coward's revelations extend into today's world and a plot hatched by the presidents of the U.S. and Russia. Although the modern-day story is a bit far-fetched, the historical frame, including an alternate view of why Germany turned its wartime focus from England to the USSR, proves fascinating; the pace is agreeably fast; and the intelligent, capable Klimt makes an engaging lead character. Readers might also like Lucy Ribchester's The Amber Shadows and William Christie's A Single Spy, both 2017.--Baker, Jen Copyright 2017 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Silver follows his well-received debut, 2007's In Secret Service, with a disappointing conspiracy thriller. In Moscow, Russian scholar Larissa Klimt (the bookworm of the title) is researching documents seized by the Soviets from Hitler's bunker-which makes her the perfect person to analyze six Dictaphone recordings "of testimony by one of the men who started the Great Patriotic War": playwright and composer Noel Coward. Coward did spy for the British in real life, but in Silver's telling he was also part of a disinformation campaign designed to persuade Hitler to focus on Russia and leave the Allies alone. Meanwhile, in London, an odd discovery on the site of a 1944 V-2 rocket strike presents another part of the puzzle for Larissa: the wrist bone of a person who was likely a spy courier, based on the rusty handcuff attached. Anthony Blunt, Ian Fleming, and John F. Kennedy also make cameo appearances, but the use of actual people doesn't make this misguided rewrite of the history of WWII any more convincing, and it takes a snarky, light tone that doesn't serve the material well. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.