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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All 's Fair in Love and War, 2 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell (Your Face Tomorrow Trilogy) (Hardcover)
An alternative title for a review of this phenomenal final part of the trilogy could be, "One should never tell Anything to Anyone", a dictum of Sir Peter Wheeler(SPW), retired Oxford don, spy during WW II and the Spanish civil war. He was close to members of an ultra-secret group charged with "black propaganda" that created chaos in Germany during WW II. He gives this advice to the trilogy's hero Jaime (etc.)Deza, who works for a 21st-century version of this ex-WW II agency, which has co-opted its staff of no more than seven on SPWs say so, regardless of nationality, no oath required. Privatisation of intelligence gathering is only one of many themes in this trilogy. Blackmail is just one of many tools in the trade's business.
Words can kill. This volume provides plenty of evidence: slips of the tongue, false accusations, a bright idea to discredit an SS-officer, and the horrible consequences, wished for or not. The trilogy's key message is that to win a war requires total determination, anything and everything is allowed, despite there always being innocent victims. In smaller campaigns like scaring away a competitor for the love of the mother of one's children, the application of fear and violence also requires absolute determination. Who in this murky line of business is determined enough and can also cope with the collatoral damage? And if not applied properly, what will survivors do? Deza is put to the test in this final volume...
This third volume and the entire trilogy strive to be a very deep piece of work. It turns out to be more(auto-)biographical than expected when I began Part One: JM wrote two books on his life as a lecturer in Oxford prior to the trilogy starring SPW, who turns out to be a real person after all.
The principal moral of the trilogy is that Western society can no longer cope with and suffer through another very big conflict, as the British did during and after WW II. I will reread Marias' trilogy next year, hoping to understand perhaps 70% of its content. Ultimately, this trilogy is about the Western world today, having become soft, silly, totally ignorant of its roots and fundamental ideas and values, which were fought for, again and again, in history. I understand JM's message, but do not agree with his worldview.
No one is safe as viewed from JM's perspective. Least of all Deza, who at the end of the tale, will have to remain on guard, sleep with one eye open.
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