" The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering, but fighting well."
In the third book in this superb series A Game of Lies Hannah returns to Berlin for the 1936 Olympics posing as a Swiss reporter Adelheid Zinsli and lover of SS officer Lars Lang. Hannah has been collecting Nazi secrets from Lang and smuggling them back to Switzerland and sending them on to London.
Hannah arranges to meet her mentor, Peter Weill, at the Olympic Stadium, but he dies in front of her.
"There is a certain package that she can't deliver. But you can."
Hannah will risk her life as she contacts old friends some of whom may in fact be new enemies as she attempts to find that package. He relationship with Boris has broken down over her repeated dangerous trips to Nazi Germany, and all she has is her beloved Anton living safely in Switzerland, and the fabricated relationship with Lars Lang. Is Lang genuinely anti-Nazi? What work does he do for the SS that leaves him seeking solace in the bottle?
A Game of Lies is a meticulously researched historical thriller written in the first person present tense which brings high tension and immediacy to the narrative. Author Rebecca Cantrell blends real life characters such a Berlin socialite Bella Fromm into her fictional story. And I really liked the way she has added some glimpses of young Anton and his life at school in Switzerland.
Exactly the honor code to which Anton subscribed, as did his hero, Winnetou the Apache brave from Karl May's books.
The story is a thriller but also raises some emotional questions for Hannah Vogel especially when she visits her old friends, Fritz and Bettina.
Now she spoke so casually of sending them off to be indoctrinated. Would I have become so inured to the Nazis that I would have sent Anton marching off in a brown uniform so easily had we stayed?
A Game of Lies does something some books fail to do, it successfully conveys the atmosphere of fear prevailing in Nazi Germany. It also relates, amidst the thrilling spy story with its twists and turns, the background story of an Olympics that is thankfully remembered more for Jesse Owens four gold medals than the Nazi propaganda.