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Review: Bodyguard of Deception by Samuel Marquis

PDF: ISBN 978-1-943593-15-6 Bodyguard of Deception: Volume One of the World War II Trilogy
Samuel Marquis
Mount Sopris Publishing, March 2016
Kindle: ISBN 978-1-943593-13-2
ePub: ISBN 978-1-943593-14-9

Reviewed by Wesley Britton

This review first appeared at

It was only three months ago when I reviewed Samuel Marquis’s novel, The Coalition, which I described as injecting fresh air into the genres of political conspiracies and assassination thrillers.

In somewhat similar ways, Marquis offers unexpected twists to World War II dramas in Bodyguard of Deception, the first of his World War II trilogy. In the opening pages, German spy Eric Von Walburg is picked up in the North Sea by a U-Boat captained by Eric’s brother, Wolfgang. Eric has discovered the secret timing of the D-Day invasion and knows that the network of German spies in England has been compromised. He’s under orders to report his findings to General Rommel despite Wolfgang’s pressures that he be told what Eric knows. But when the U-boat is sunk and the brothers become POWs, the mission for both becomes the need to escape and radio the intelligence to the Fatherland.

Because British intelligence, at first, doesn’t know who they have, both Von Walburgs are transferred to a POW camp in Colorado. Several things happen. For one matter, they learn their long estranged mother, now named Katherine Templeton, now considers herself an American and owns a nearby ranch and hotel. For her ranch, she hires out gangs of the POWs which results in the family having a quiet reunion, of sorts. Next, some 50 prisoners break out of the camp due to a tornado and an underground tunnel. So the brothers, accompanied by a diehard, bloodthirsty Nazi, rush to Katherine’s ranch even as authorities begin their relentless hunt for them. Will their mother help their cause? Or will she turn them in? What Eric and Wolfgang don’t know is that Katherine is an O.S.S. agent under the ruthless thumb of the glory-seeking FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover. It doesn’t take long for the FBI, British authorities, local law enforcement, and armed citizens to join in the hunt for Eric, Wolfgang, and their colleague all across the wilds of Colorado as the Germans try to find a way to radio their secrets home.

That Rocky Mountain setting is one distinction from most World War II stories usually set in Europe, sometimes in Africa, and occasionally in the Far East. The family relationships take on a special dimension as Eric and Wolfgang, at first, represent two kinds of Germans. Eric is fully patriotic to his country but despises the Fuhrer while Wolfgang is closer to Nazi ideology. As time progresses, Wolfgang loses this devotion, but the brothers fall under the pressure of a gun-toting true believer.

And that’s a major theme of the book, the differences between loyal Germans who want the war to end on German terms as opposed to the far more ruthless Nazis willing to kill innocent civilians for the glory of Adolf Hitler. There’s the inner duel of Katherine Templeton who wants to, and is forced to, help find her sons, but she wants them captured, not killed. And there’s the rather typical turf wars between competing intelligence services more interested in claiming the scalps for themselves and less so accomplishing the collective goal.

Likely, many readers will be surprised by the setting, the good German, bad German dichotomies, and the fact-based revelations that at one time, D-Day could have gone either way. As usual, Marquis’s descriptions are vivid, believable, and true to the time period.

I have really only one complaint. I have nothing against happy endings, but the book’s epilogue stretches credulity. At least mine. So, excluding Marquis pulling together the loose ends with such a positive note, Bodyguard of Deception is an intriguing launch to his new trilogy. I’ll wager the next entry won’t occur in America’s heartland. But I expect that, once again, we’ll venture into the unexpected.

Book Two of Wesley Britton’s Beta-Earth Chronicles—The Blood of Balnakin—coming soon!
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