Posts Tagged ‘robert goddard’

 Spring, 1919. James ‘Max’ Maxted, former Great War flying ace, returns to the trail of murder, treachery and half-buried secrets he set out on in The Ways of the World. He left Paris after avenging the murder of his father, Sir Henry Maxted, a senior member of the British delegation to the post-war peace conference. But he was convinced there was more — much more — to be discovered about what Sir Henry had been trying to accomplish. And he suspected elusive German spymaster Fritz Lemmer knew the truth of it.
Now, enlisted under false colours in Lemmer’s service but with his loyalty pledged to the British Secret Service, Max sets out on his first — and possibly last — mission for Lemmer. It takes him to the far north of Scotland — to the Orkney Isles, where the German High Seas Fleet has been impounded in Scapa Flow, its fate to be decided at the conference-table in Paris. Max has been sent to recover a document held aboard one of the German ships. What that document contains forces him to break cover sooner than he would have wished and to embark on a desperate race south, towards London, with information that could destroy Lemmer — if Max, as seems unlikely, lives to deliver it.

The Corners of the Globe: The Wide World Trilogy #2

Robert Goddard

Bantam Press

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Stephen Litten

Spring, 1919, and former RAF pilot James “Max” Maxted is on the trail of the German spymaster Fritz Lemmer. But Max is playing a dangerous game, that of double agent. He wants to avenge the murder of his father, Sir James Maxted, killed recently in Paris and to take down the spy ring that Lemmer has constructed before, during and after WWI. His first task is to recover the Grey File, held by a German Captain aboard one of the battleships interned at Scapa Flow. Max knows this is a test and that Lemmer doesn’t entirely trust him.

Thus opens the second of Goddard’s The Wide World trilogy. The story flits between Max, his associates in Paris, and his family. All must face threats from hostile parties as they attempt to get to the crux of their own mystery. Naturally, a lot of this was foreshadowed in the first volume, The Ways of the World.

Goddard has a generally breezy style well suited to the political thriller/whodunnit and I found this novel to be a satisfactory page-turner. The characters are fairly well rounded and not complete stereotypes. The plot moves at an acceptable pace, and the mystery stays mysterious – kind of important as this is the middle book of a trilogy.

I liked The Corners of the Globe and want to read the finale, The Ends of the Earth in which I expect the main protagonists to have a Japanese vacation.

the ways of the worldJames ‘Max’ Maxted served as a pilot in WW1 and intends to set up a flying school on his aristocratic family’s land. His father, Sir Henry Maxted, is in favour of the idea but his brother Ashley, who will inherit everything, is not.  Sir Henry is a former diplomat and is asked to meet with delegates in Paris in 1919 to determine the outcome of the peace process.  While there he falls from an apartment roof in a dodgy part of the city.

Ashley and Max travel to Paris to find out about their father’s death and deal with the red tape to get his body home.  Max is unsatisfied by the official explanation and determined to find the true cause of his father’s death.  His fried Sam Twentyman, who Max is setting up his business with, travels to Paris to help and the action begins!

Though slow to start with the story gets exciting and a breathtaking adventure follows.  The plot is cleverly constructed, an espionage novel that shows the decadent side of Paris society in the late 1910s.  Factual history merges with the fictional story and you can see the setting as though you were there.  Max is a brave, determined hero and Sam is a likeable sidekick, engaging and courageous.

The book is gripping, with lots of twists, double-crosses, triple twists, and clever manipulations.  I’m really looking forward to the next in the trilogy.

Transworld Publishers

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan