3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: Between Silk and Cyanide : The Story of SOE's Code War (Hardcover)
This book is an enigma.
I couldn't put it down, literally, much to my Wife's ire and I am suffering as a result from sleep deprivation. It comes as no surprise to learn that the author became a famous screen writer for he has the ability to get a reader quickly turning the pages in order to try and find out what happened next. The suspense of the book gave me palpitations.
The story Mark's tells is terrifying, the seemingly casual waste of human life by continuing to send agents into Holland when there was significant evidence to show that the ring had been captured, is so awful that it beggars belief. Yet the tale is told with simple humour, with much conviction and with a continued belief in the just cause of SOE's work despite all the problems.
However, the book is an enigma because it left me with an itch, as the author himself might have said, that I just can't put my finger on to scratch. A couple of the previous reviewers have touched on it but I was uncomfortable with the ease at which Marks quoted conversations that took place 50 years ago verbatim. I am sure that Marks would have had great difficult in keeping a diary which would have been a serious security risk that I believe that he must have taken some poetic license, perhaps a lot?
It also bothers me that throughout the book Marks talked about "Tommy" Yeo-Thomas as a very special friend with whom he shared a close relationship; yet in Mark Seagrave's biography of "Tommy", Bravest of the Brave, Leo Mark's name did not appear once.
It's also a bit odd that none of Marks' reports could be found, despite extensive searches, in the SOE archives after the time period for the Official Secrets had lapsed. If the story is to be fully believed the author single-handed, and against much opposition, changed the established coding practises of the SOE, no mean feat, and yet there is no official record of it?
Maybe I am being unfair, but my concerns do not detract from the fact that this book is incredible exciting, harrowing, uplifting and compelling and that I will be highly recommending it to my nearest and dearest.