I've had more time to read of late than I've had in a long time. That's because as we moved our home, my office also moved. Previously, I was close enough to the hizzouse to head to m'crib for lunch. Now? Well, it's just not feasible anymore.
So on days when I'm not working through lunch, you can find me in the breakroom reading while munching my turkey sandwich.
Of late, there has been a common theme to the books I am reading.
A few week's ago, I finished Lewis Perdue's Daughter of God. DoG is the second of Perdue's novels I have read (the first being Slatewiper), and I must say I believe I am hooked. Daughter of God has a lot going for it... art history, religious conspiracies, and Nazis.
I'm a sucker for Nazis. And if you can throw in some lost Nazi gold to the mix, I am in heaven!
And oh, BTW, DoG has lost Nazi gold, too.
A brief digression... Daughter of God was entertaining, thrilling, and did that thing that only the best novels do - it made me question what I believe and why I believe it. I'm still mulling some of that. Probably will post about that later...
Back on topic, now.
Finishing DoG, I was hungry for a bit more of the Nazi party. So I picked up Barnaby Conrad's Last Boat to Cadiz, a novel about Martin Bormann, Hitler's right hand man. The book begins with Bormann's flight from the Fuhrer Bunker into neutral Spain at the end of the war in hopes of making it to safety in Argentina. The book caught my attention because it quotes several non-fiction books I've read concerning the hunt for Martin Bormann. It's always nice to feel like you're an expert on the subject, eh?
Mr. Conrad was American Vice Consul in Spain during the war years. The names he drops in the book are people he knew. The scenes he describes are landscapes he walked. And it shows. His prose is descriptive and brings you right into the Spain of WWII.
Conrad's ability to tell a surprising story is not represented here. Every scene was predictable.
Still, I enjoyed the book. I wouldn't recommend it, but I don't regret reading it. I attribute that to Conrad's honest portrayal of those people he knew. And my love of Nazis.
Next on my reading list was the "non-fiction" Aftermath: Martin Bormann and The Fourth Reich about author Ladislas Farago's South American encounter with Herr Bormann. The book was written back in '74 and also quotes some of the non-fiction I've read on the subject. The book has been characterized as something less than reliable. It's a big book and I am still working through it. Interesting read.
A movie that I have seen dozens of times and - obviously - very much enjoy is The Boys from Brazil. Lawrence Olivier stars as an aging Nazi Hunter and Gregory Peck plays Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz Angel of Death. Having never read the book on which the film is based, I downloaded the audiobook from Audible. Without a doubt, one of the worst quality recordings I have ever heard.
I honestly believe the narrator made his recordings while sitting in his living room. I could hear dogs barking in the background that didn't relate to the daring Doberman ending. There were times when I think he was drinking coffee. Other times, when I would have sworn he was eating lunch.
Oddly enough, a very enjoyable reading of the work. I know! Freaky.
So as you can see, I have been neck deep in Nazis the past few weeks. Why is that, you ask?
I think it's because Nazis make the best villains. Outwardly, some of them can seem gentlemanly, aristocratic, polished, and artful. But inside, they are monsters capable of the most gruesome acts of horror. They have a dream. They have a plan. They are the righteous heroes in their own stories, due victory by right of birth. With cold determination, they will crush anything, anyone standing in their way.
Terrible, awful people these Nazis.
You have to love hating these guys and in so doing, you allow yourself to feel a little morally superior. I'd never join the Nazi Party, you say. I'd never do those things.
So there's a feel good element, too.
And if you throw in some lost Nazi gold? You got yourself a bestseller!