In the dark-themed alternate history THE DARKEST HOUR, we
saw how Britain would have fared if the Nazis had won World
War II, through the eyes of an ordinary London copper.
Continuing the tale in THE BRITISH LION, author Tony
Schumacher picks up the pieces in snowy 1946.
Rossett, the policeman, has been severely injured while
aiding the escape of a Jewish boy with a group of
dissenters. Now he will pay the penalty, possibly alongside
Koehler, the SS officer who failed to block the escape. In
this world where doctors can be threatened with shooting
for disobedience, Rossett feels that he has nothing to lose
anyway - no job worth doing, no self-respect, no humanity
except what he could regain by helping a child. Koehler
considers that he is part of a machine and what happens to
removed persons is not his concern.
As a cover-up of previous events, Rossett is allowed to go
back to policing. But few people want to work with him. The
criminals are swaggering and the judges are open to
persuasion; there's a resistance movement adding to the
black market and crime. The Nazis are still fighting a
remnant of the Russian Army and the continued war is used
as justification for atrocities and shortages. Desperation
causes atrocities by the resistance too.
The startling and somewhat creepy spectacle of London's
famous locations draped in swastikas, with rifle-holding
grey-clad soldiers patrolling gets us really into this
story. Koehler is a father, and by following his wife and
child through an abduction attempt, the author makes us see
past the daunting uniform. Rossett is the policeman
Koehler turns to after a murder and abduction are reported,
with an American connection. Lindbergh is in power in the
US. Rossett takes the chance to be a copper again.
THE BRITISH LION is the kind of thriller in which, when someone owns a
cat, you start worrying for the cat's safety. Anyone could
be the target of unexpected violence; the undercurrent of
dread and lack of respect for the rights of others is
totally convincing. When we meet an American, Frank King,
he muses that at least Hitler saw off communism; and the
Americans like winners so they work with Hitler, and his
puppets King Edward and Moseley, rather than the vanquished
Churchill. So the scene is established strongly by using
actual figures and opinions of the day. A further doom
appears to be looming as the Nazis force captive scientists
at Cambridge to work on a bomb. Rossett has never heard of
this programme, but he is going to be entangled with Ruth,
a talented physicist, as a result of his enquiries.
THE BRITISH LION is a vivid and haunting look at life under
an authoritarian regime, which reflects our need to fight
against the enemies of freedom in today's world. Tony
Schumacher has also evoked the 1940s with his settings and
furnishings, from Mauser handguns to Aga cookers, and his
work will reward study by anyone interested in the period.
Containing strong language and violence, THE BRITISH LION
is for adult readers and will appeal to fans of fast-paced
thrillers and alternate histories.
In this crackling alternate history thriller set in the
years after World War II—the riveting sequel to The Darkest
Hour—London detective John Rossett joins forces with his
Nazi boss to save the commander’s kidnapped daughter as the
Germans race to make the first atomic bomb.
With the end of the war, the victorious Germans now occupy a
defeated Great Britain. In London, decorated detective John
Henry Rossett, now reporting to the Nazi victors, lies in a
hospital bed recovering from gunshot wounds. Desperate to
avoid blame over the events that led to the shooting, his
boss, Ernst Koehler, covers up the incident. But when
Koehler’s wife and daughter are kidnapped by American spies,
the terrified German turns to the only man he trusts to help
him—a shrewd cop who will do whatever is necessary to get
the job done: John Rossett.
Surviving his brush with death, Rossett agrees to save his
friend’s daughter. But in a chaotic new world ruled by
treachery and betrayal, doing the right thing can get a man
killed. Caught between the Nazi SS, the violent British
resistance, and Americans with very uncertain loyalties,
Rossett must secretly make his way out of London and find
Ruth Hartz, a Jewish scientist working in Cambridge. Spared
from death because of her intellect and expertise, she is
forced to work on developing the atom bomb for Germany.
Though she knows it could end any hope of freedom in Europe
and maybe even the world, Ruth must finish the project—if
she, too, wants to survive.