Like the work of John le Carré and Alan Furst, The Engineer is both a powerful and compelling thriller – and a thoroughly-researched snapshot of the era, giving the reader a detailed insight into the people and places, political and cultural climates, heroics and atrocities of the Second World War. And like the best of John le Carré, the novel is morally complex, with 'good' and 'evil' being relative, not absolute terms. The book - the first of a proposed trilogy known as Chronicles of Love and Honour - is undoubtedly complex and, in its unflinching condemnation of the British and American forces, highly controversial. Yet author Jan KuÅ›mirek expertly crafts the material to deliver an unashamedly intelligent work of historical fiction that serves as much as impassioned re-evaluation of the Polish war contribution as spy novel.
Tadek “Teddy” Labden is a young boy of Polish descent growing up in the idyllic but tough countryside near Calgary, Canada. He finds that try as he might he cannot escape his immigrant past and the mystery of his father's record in Eastern Europe. As he gets older, Tadek becomes aware of his perceived inferior social status attached to immigrant groups. His need for acceptance leads him to yearn to be ‘English’ and his Engineering scholarship to Cambridge enables him to taste the good life of the thirties. World War Two looms and Teddy joins the Air Force, soon being seconded into the Secret Service due, as he discovers to his surprise, his father’s past involvement with British espionage. As a Polish speaker he is sent to Warsaw before the outbreak of war to keep tabs on the Polish Air Force and to obtain plans of their new aircraft. Witnessing Poland abandoned by the British to the Axis powers, Teddy decides to take unexpected sides with consequences that put his life in danger from the Russian agents embedded in MI6. He becomes involved in the fringes of the political assassination of the Polish Prime Minister, risking everything to try and find out who gave the orders. Teddy is helped by a variety of friends to survive in a world of intrigue hidden from ordinary men and women. The Engineer is a powerful, meticulously researched historical spy thriller and the first part of the Chronicles of Love and Honour trilogy, which concerns events and personalities that moulded the lives of the ordinary people in Europe during the first half of the twentieth century.
The first in a trilogy of novels, this definitely bodes well for the next instalment.
-- News Of The World, August 2009
Publication date: 27/03/2009
Publisher: Derwen Publishing
|Publication date:||27th March 2009|
|Genres:||Action Adventure / Spy, Literary Fiction, Thriller / Suspense,|
Jan KuÅ›mirek, 64, bases his series of wartime thrillers on his own experiences and those of his family as Polish émigrés. Through his father, who had served in the Polish Underground, Jan had his eyes opened at an early age to the atrocities perpetrated upon the Poles. Jan enjoyed a highly successful career within the cosmetics industry and is regarded as one of the world's leading clinical aromatherapists. He was encouraged to write fiction by his crime novelist uncle Kenneth Royce, who instilled in him a keen attention to detail in his work.More About Jan KuÅ›mirek