England, 1943. The German Enigma code has been cracked and the Allied forces are close to winning the crucial Battle of the Atlantic. Suddenly, the code is changed and it is obvious that there is a traitor in the midst. Code-cracker Tom Jericho then finds that his girlfriend Claire has gone missing, leaving incriminating evidence in her room and a full-scale search begins to find her. But Tom cannot believe that she was the betrayer and sets out to find his own answers. With support from Claire's curious roommate Hester, he uncovers a mystery that goes far deeper than the Enigma codes. He discovers a secret that both the Gestapo and the British government are strangely united in their efforts to keep, a secret that could be dangerous in the wrong hands and a secret that shames those fighting on both sides. This book is an absolutely amazing historical detective story. Harris's debut, "Fatherland" was unputdownable and vastly intriguing but this book goes one better. In "Enigma" we are presented with the world as it was nearly 60 years ago, and an England tired by War. Symbolising this fatigue is our hero Jericho, a young man press-ganged into helping to crack the Enigma cose and almost killing himself in the process. After a short rehabilitation he arrives back at the Bletchley code-cracking centre to prove his worth and finding himself embroiled in a mystery in which the enigmatic woman he has fallen for is strangely implicated. Harris creates a flawed hero and an unconventional heroine in the shape of Hester Wallace, who together discover that the disappearance of Claire and the discovery by the Germans that their code has been cracked are linked to a shameful secret hidden in the forests of Eastern Europe. Readers may be shocked to discover that what is uncovered is a true story but the arguments for the British cover-up are strong if not excusable. Whatever your feelings, this book is a page-turner. Harris is a master storyteller and his characters are utterly believable and compelling, the world he creates is almost Dickensian in its vividness and the final few pages will pick you up and sweep you along with their shocking twists and turns and their tragic elements. This book is not without its humour but the overall tone is rather bleak, perfect for the era in which it is set and for the subject matter it deals with. When finished you will want to pick it up and read it all over again because the World it presents is so cold, cruel and distant, yet so staggeringly real.
49 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?