Four violent deaths, French double agents, an escalating fraud case – DCI Frank Merlin sets out on his most complex case yet.’
Merlin At War is the first book I have read by author Mark Ellis. Published by London Wall Publishing on 6th July 2017, I was lucky enough to receive a gorgeous hardback to review.
My intention had been to read this novel over the Summer but life got a little too hectic so it’s only now that I got around to picking up my copy.
I am so delighted I did!!
Read on to see why..
War rages across Europe. France is under the Nazi thumb. Britain has its back to the wall.
In London, Scotland Yard detective Merlin investigates a series of disturbing events – a young girl killed in a botched abortion, a French emigre shot in a seedy Notting Hill flat, a mysterious letter written by a British officer, gunned down in Crete.
With action spanning Buenos Aires, New York, Cairo and Occupied France, Merlin and his team are plunged into a dark world of espionage, murder, love and betrayal.
Can I just say from the offset that both the cover and size of this novel are perfect. The images are striking, with the German march on Paris portrayed on the upper half and a night scene in London of a man with his hat pulled down over his face on the lower half. Immediately there is an atmosphere evoked that just draws the reader in between the covers. Having not read a DCI Frank Merlin novel before, I was intrigued.
Mark Ellis has written two previous novels in this series, Princes Gate and Stalin’s Gold, both set during the early years of the Second World War. In Merlin At War, the year is 1941. The Vichy Government is in situ in France under the occupation of the German army. Churchill is faced with the Blitz that ravaged London. America is on the verge of declaring war on Germany, to help put a stop to the Nazi invasion across Europe. The world is in turmoil.
For DCI Frank Merlin and Scotland yard, criminal activity is at an all time high. Crime grasps the opportunity that the chaos of war brings.
Merlin At War opens with a dramatic scene, as English soldiers attempt an escape off the island of Crete under German aerial bombardment. With his dying breath, an English Officer urgently passes a letter to one of his compatriots, a letter that contains some very important information. This letter eventually makes it’s way back to London…but what are it’s contents?
Meanwhile, a body of a young woman is found in a hotel room in London. She is the victim of an abortion that was very tragically mishandled. DCI Merlin and his team are soon on the case, as a second body is discovered of a French national found in a Notting Hill flat.
It is up to Merlin and his team to solve these crimes and work out if and how they are all connected…..
DCI Frank Merlin is a very affable individual. Following on from major personal tragedy, he is now living with Sonia, a Polish immigrant.Their relationship is very obviously one of love from the outset, as they seem to have achieved a perfect balance in a world gone a little crazy.
Merlin, with an excellent work ethic, is determined to get to the bottom of this convoluted case. With calmness in his home life, he is able to give his undivided attention to the facts as they reveal themselves.
As details are uncovered, the reader is taken on a global journey. From Argentina to Northern Ireland, from London to Cairo, from Crete to Paris, I was almost expecting complimentary air miles after completing this novel.
Merlin At War is quite a complex novel. We get an insight into the war machine, with Charles de Gaulle , Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill all getting a mention. This is a book bursting with historical facts, all wrapped around a story that needs to be read with focus and concentration. For me personally, Merlin At War was not the type of novel I could fly through. This is a book that you appreciate and take your time with. There are numerous characters and there is quite a complex plot-line, moving across Europe and beyond.
DCI Merlin and his Scotland Yard team are an incredible group, all working away against the back drop of bombs and war. I thoroughly enjoyed it and most certainly recommend it to all history buffs and any individual with a fascination for this period in our past.
Merlin At War has a very authentic feel. As a reader you are completely immersed in a bygone era, as you imagine the chaos and turmoil that existed during those frightening years.
Merlin At War is foremost a detective novel. If you love a thrilling espionage-style story, like John Le Carre, then I expect this is right up your street.
Filled with duplicity, secrets and murder Mark Ellis has written an exciting novel full of nostalgic imagery, with an intriguing story at it’s core.
Purchase Link ~ Merlin At War
About the Author:
Mark Ellis is a thriller writer from Swansea and a former barrister and entrepreneur.
He is the creator of DCI Frank Merlin, an Anglo-Spanish police detective operating in World War 2 London. His books treat the reader to a vivid portrait of London during the war skilfully blended with gripping plots, political intrigue and a charismatic protagonist.
Mark grew up under the shadow of his parents’ experience of the Second World War. His father served in the wartime navy and died a young man. His mother told him stories of watching the heavy bombardment of Swansea from the safe vantage point of a hill in Llanelli, and of attending tea dances in wartime London under the bombs and doodlebugs.
In consequence Mark has always been fascinated by WW2 and in particular the Home Front and the fact that while the nation was engaged in a heroic endeavour, crime flourished. Murder, robbery, theft and rape were rife and the Blitz provided scope for widespread looting.
This was an intriguing, harsh and cruel world. This is the world of DCI Frank Merlin.
Mark Ellis’ books regularly appear in the Kindle bestseller charts.
He is a member of the Crime Writers Association.
Website ~ http://markellisauthor.com/
Twitter ~ @MarkEllis15