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Ambrose Lincoln is one of the government’s prized operatives, a trained assassin, a man whose past is continually erased by mind control tactics and shock treatments. His days have no meaning. He no longer fears death.
As far as he is concerned, a man without a memory is a man who’s already dead.
From Germany come rumors of a mad man threatening to rule Europe and maybe the world. On the Night of Broken Glass, his brown shirts and storm troopers move into Baden-Baden and begin their methodical termination of the Jews.
In America, so far away, the violence is nothing more than a protest over a Jewish boy who murdered a German diplomat because the Third Reich had removed and maybe killed his family. It was simply a case of vandalism that got out of hand.
No one is concerned, and the American government wants to keep it that way. No one in Washington wants to go to war with Hitler, and President Roosevelt continues to preach neutrality.
But word is leaked that one Jewish photographer took pictures of the rampage of brutality and murder that night. He was killed, but his daughter is in hiding with the film.
Ambrose Lincoln is dispatched to Baden-Baden with one charge. Find the film and bring it back. It will tell the truth. It will uncover the lies. The photographs will reveal to the world the sadistic threat that exists for everyone if Hitler’s mad march isn’t stopped.
His mission is to uncover the deadly secrets that his own government doesn’t want him to find, secrets that can change history.
Review by Jim Ainsworth:
Ambrose Lincoln is not your ordinary hero—far from it. In another Lincoln mystery-thriller, Caleb Pirtle places his protagonist in another critical time and place in history.
“The Night of the Broken Glass” in Baden-Baden, Germany, was a pivotal event that contributed to the start of the Second World War. The night was precipitated when a young, orthodox Jew assassinated a German Embassy official in France to call attention to the plight of the Jews being systematically expelled from Germany and their properties taken.
Hitler used the killing as an excuse to bring violence against Jews into the street and frame it as an uprising of the German citizenry outraged by a Jew’s killing of a high-ranking German official.
However, the storm troopers who poured into Jewish neighborhoods and commercial districts wore their distinctive brown shirts and carried swastikas as they smashed windows and set fire to Jewish businesses and homes and slaughtered innocents.
They weren’t worried about the Jews having weapons to fight back, but they didn’t count on a brave photographer with a camera. The Germans, in collusion with some Americans who wanted to avoid war at all costs, sought to frame the event as little more than property destruction. But the five rolls of film taken by the photographer showed the real carnage and senseless killing. Their release in America and all over the world could bring war. Enter Ambrose Lincoln.
In his trademark sparse writing style, Pirtle wastes no words. There are no parts you will consider scanning or skipping, because every word counts and every sentence is packed with powerful prose and action. And the characters are unforgettable.
G. K. Chesterton in Everlasting Man said, It’s not enough to be told about something that happened or a historical fact, we want to know what it felt like. One cannot know what this tragic event felt like, but when you finish this book, you will have come as close as possible.