The Honest Spy – Andreas Kollender

A fictionalised version of a true story, although I didn’t know it until after I had finished reading it. This book was another of my successful 99p Amazon daily deal books.

The book is about Fritz Kolbe, a low-level diplomat in the German Foreign Office just as the Nazis are coming into power. He wants to remain in South Africa, away from a regime he despises, but the Ambassador persuades him to return home.

Eventually, despite not being a member of the Nazi party, Fritz finds himself working in a job that makes him privy to some of the secrets of the regime. He goes to the American Embassy to offer to spy and they take him on. As Fritz becomes more trusted by his Nazi boss he is able to pass more information to the Americans and become one of their most important spies.

Fritz also falls in love with a woman, Marlene, in the ruins of Berlin. They try to make a life for themselves after the war but Fritz is seen as a traitor and Marlene is injured. Fritz escapes and lives in seclusion in Switzerland until 2 journalists find and interview him.

I thought this was a really interesting book. As a “normal” person you can imagine the horror of a person, like yourself, finding themselves in the middle of a maelstrom and hating what is happening. I can’t imagine myself doing anything about it, unlike Fritz. Not knowing that this was based on a true story, until I’d finished the book, I kept questioning “would someone really do this?” as I was reading it. Turns out they do and did!

I didn’t particularly like the idea of Fritz’s story being told to the journalists; they kept intruding at inconvenient times when I wanted to know what happened next. When they did work was when I started wondering what had happened to Marlene.

It was interesting to read about a WW2 spy who remained in Germany and who spied for USA rather than Britain. I would like to read a more factual account of Fritz Kolbe’s life but as a starting point this was a good beginning and, like some of my other 99p bargains, an unexpected treat.

Click here to find out more about the real Fritz Kolbe

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