'Veiled in Shadows' is the first book by Australian Allan Russel.
It is the story of a half-English half-German 'Princess' who calls herself "Katharina..... My second name, it seems less pompous and more German than Victoria. My daddy calls me Victoria Chesterfield, but I prefer Katharina von Brunnenstadt." Bold, beautiful and intellegent, we first meet her through the eyes of a young Nazi officer who thinks he is saving her from a wild boar, but ends up having his head chewed off for destroying a breeding boar.
She proceeds to fall in love with the Nazi officer remarkably quickly, but just before the outbreak of World War II abruptly breaks off their engagement and moves to England. In England, she meets a young fighter pilot, and despite loving him, turns down his proposal because she loves another. She follows her cousin into the English Secret Service, and defects to Nazi Germany under very mysterious circumstances. To say much more would be to give the plot away, but her ambivalent actions keeps you guessing till the very end.
Allan Russel knows a thing or two about creating and maintaining suspense. Who is Katharina/ Victoria? What does she stand for? What is she fighting for? Who is she fighting against? You get conflicting pieces of evidence and despite the prologue seemingly having told you everything, nothing falls into place till the last chapters.
What made the book even more engaging was the fact that the story emerges through multiple points of view, none of them Katharina/ Victoria. She is 'Katharina' to her German lover, and 'Victoria' to her English lover. Her subjects in Baravia call her 'Princess', and her cousin calls her 'Vikki'. She is different things to different people, but all of them love her.
I am not a fan of war fiction, but I am glad I read this book, and I would without hesitation recommend it to anyone.
Al has already started work on his next book- can't wait.show more
by Rayna Iyer