Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels, Writing

Cracking good reads for winter

The forecast in the UK for this weekend, and indeed the forseeable future, is rain and drizzle with the occasional downpour!

I hate this time of year, but the only consolation for the evenings drawing in so early is that it feels an absolute *necessity* to curl up with a good book. In my eyes, Frederick Forsyth and John le Carré are the all-time greats. No doubt I will revisit my favourites in the coming weeks, but are there any other cracking good reads you can recommend?

By way of thank you, here’s the first chapter from Out of Mecklenburg. You can read it either by clicking here or simply scrolling down the page. Happy reading!

1

Monday 23rd June 1941
German Foreign Office, Berlin

It was terse, wholly unexpected and positively unnerving:

LEAVE CANCELLED. REMAIN IN YOUR OFFICE.
By Order, Doctor Alfred Wehmen, Assistant Under-Secretary of State.

Carl von Menen read the memo again and again, each time the author’s signature sending a shudder of fear surging down his spine. Wehmen, the spirit of Machiavelli. Why the hell hasn’t Clarita phoned me?

Convinced that the lid had been lifted on his clandestine life, von Menen paced impatiently back and forth the entire length of his office, wanting desperately to call a number at Wittenberge, but thinking better of it. If Wehmen has the merest hint of my covert activities, he’ll have alerted the switchboard and ordered all my outside calls logged.

He sat down, took a deep breath, picked up his phone and dialled an internal extension. There was no reply. Over the next three hours, he tried the same number repeatedly. No reply.

An hour later, his phone knelled into life. He reached hesitantly across his desk, lifted the handset and brought it slowly to his ear, as if he were half-expecting to be shot in the back of the head.

‘Von Menen,’ he said cautiously.

‘Carl, it’s me.’

Von Menen sprang to his feet. ‘Thank God! Where’ve you been? I’ve been phoning you for hours.’

‘Shopping; he gave me a few hours off.’

‘But I’ve been ordered to stay in my office and you knew I’d planned to leave early today. Why didn’t you phone me?’

‘Er… yes, sorry about that… but he wants to see you, immediately, with all your files.’

‘All my…! Why?’

‘No idea, but he was very insistent.’

Von Menen replaced the receiver and stared at the ceiling. He knows… Wehmen knows.

Continue reading “Cracking good reads for winter”

Character profile, Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels

Manfred von Leiber

“‘Uncle’ Manfred von Leiber, a confirmed bachelor whose hair had turned prematurely grey at the age of thirty, was a handsome, robust and genial individual with a sharp and incisive wit… It was von Leiber who had instilled in von Menen his love for the sea, taught him how to sail, explained the complexities of terrestrial navigation and instructed him in the use of nautical instruments. It was a very special relationship.”

Manfred von Leiber is a Vice Admiral of the German Navy, based at U-Boat Headquarters in Bernau, but he is first and foremost a close and trusted friend of the von Menen family.

Continue reading “Manfred von Leiber”

Character profile, Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels

Katrina and Jürgen Lanze

Katrina Lanze, née von Menen, was born in 1915 and is two years younger than her brother Carl. Although recently married, she still lives at the family home in Mecklenburg because her husband Jürgen is often away on duty.

Jürgen Lanze is a Lieutenant Commander in the German navy. Like Manfred von Lieber, his remit is U-boats, and he is often needed at Lübeck.

When we first meet Jürgen, Carl congratulates him on his Knight’s Cross, but he downplays the attention. He is highly skilled but modest and is far more concerned about the safety of his crew than earning medals.

Continue reading “Katrina and Jürgen Lanze”

Out of Mecklenburg, Sales and marketing, Spy novels

On the shelf

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your book “in the wild” and on the shelves in bookshops. I felt my heart skip a beat when I saw Out of Mecklenburg: The Unwilling Spy on display in the fantastic independent book shop City Books.

Out of Mecklenburg spy novel at City Books Hove

Continue reading “On the shelf”

Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels

Berlin, 1941

Carl von Menen is 28 years old, suave, wealthy and a rising star at the German Foreign office, yet he lives a duplicitous and dangerous life: he abhors the Nazis and wants Hitler dead, but his expectations of seeing a Nazi-free Germany shrink to despair, when he is unexpectedly assigned to Buenos Aires to keep a watchful eye on the emerging United Officers Group (GOU), a pro-Nazi/Fascist faction of military officers, led by the aspiring Colonel Juan Domingo Peron.

In Buenos Aires, von Menen is sucked into a cauldron of treachery, deceit, military revolutions and murder, heightened by the agony of his secret ideology, the long-reaching tentacles of the Gestapo and his clandestine dealings with Colonel Filipe Vidal, a man with a devious and sinister agenda.

Continue reading “Berlin, 1941”