Flowers from Berlin
Noel Hynd
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Flowers from Berlin

Noel Hynd
Stealth Press
448 pages
December 2000
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the people of the United States were divided in their opinion on the war in Europe. Many favored an isolationist approach to the war, while others saw U.S. military intervention as inevitable. Most prominent among those who believed in the latter view was President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt was in his second term of office in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland and Austria. His opposition to the war was a clear threat to Hitler's plans, as was his willingness to supply weapons to England. Roosevelt's departure from office by any means possible would have relieved some of the worries of the captains of the Third Reich.

Curled Up With a Good BookStealth Press gives us a "what if?" look at World War II with its reprint of a 1985 thriller by novelist Noel Hynd. Flowers From Berlin tells the story of an American isolationist who turns traitor and the three people who try to prevent him from killing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The book starts off slowly but gathers momentum as it moves from background material on the main characters to the actual hunt for the Hitler sympathizer. Using impeccable credentials to cover his crimes, the American operative feeds information to German intelligence and sabotages British ships carrying war material from the U.S. to Britain. His ultimate scheme, to plant a bomb on the President's yacht, is aided by a high level agent in the U.S. government. Information from a German defector eventually leads to his capture, but the bomber escapes custody and accomplishes his mission before his three pursuers have a second chance to stop him. The presidential yacht explodes only hours after Roosevelt steps on board.

Flowers From Berlin takes an interesting look at a scenario that could have changed the course of World War II. Hynd gives readers a view of the early British and American intelligence systems and the FBI's role in hunting down saboteurs and spies. Written from multiple viewpoints, the story shifts between spy and pursuers in a satisfying fashion. The book is obviously not meant to reflect historical accuracy in all its details, but it is a good tale nonetheless from a writer whose later works earned him much acclaim.

© 2002 by Mary V. Welk for Curled Up With a Good Book

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