Codename Lazarus is a very interesting espionage story set during the last years of the thirties and the early stages of the Second World War.
The author has gone to great trouble to ensure authenticity and the sense of time and place is convincing. The dialogue is contemporary and, in a way, Codename Lazarus feels like one of those golden age detective stories so beloved of the British Library.
The plot is convincing although there are one or two co-incidences towards the end which do raise the eyebrows but, so what? this is a story and these co-incidences lead us to an exciting climax.
Most of all the novel is written in an-easy-to-follow style and is very enjoyable.
David Lowther, author of The Blue Pencil, Liberating Belsen and Two Families at War, all published by Sacristy Press
by David Loather
It has been some time since I have seen a good WW2 movie or read a good WW2 book. For that reason, when I came across Codename Lazarus by A.P. Martin, I was unable to resist the temptation to give it a try. And was that ever an inspired choice? Right from the outset I was captivated by the brisk, efficient writing, the meticulous attention to detail, the fiercely authentic milieu, historical and social, in which the story is set.
In the early chapters, the author effortlessly encapsulates the rise of Nazi Germany in the late 1930s with an absorbing mix of narrative, dialogue and action. Add to that the author’s erudition, his intimate knowledge of the Germany’s language and culture, and the reader is captivated by a tale that never loses its unmistakeable air of truth.
Codename Lazarus is the gripping story of a young English university lecturer whose experience of Germany and his knowledge of the language have made him an ideal candidate for a hazardous, off-the-book, undercover role on behalf of the British Government. There is a slow build–up of tension as the young spy infiltrates himself into a number of groups of British Nazi sympathisers, knowing the one mistake might cost him his life.
I suppose I could say that in the first half of the book the excitement is largely cerebral. It is like a living chess-game. Initially nothing appears to be happening as the protagonists ease slowly forward towards their inevitable confrontation, keeping a close eye on the enemy’s moves, making one’s own moves with heart in mouth. As other players enter the fray, the apprehension mounts, and the reader can see the lurking dangers, the possible traps, and all sorts of possibilities for catastrophe, that hover on the fringes of the action as pawns are sacrificed and the opposing forces move closer and closer to checkmate. This book may not have the frenzy of the breakneck thriller, but the taut trepidation which underpins the seemingly calm progress of the novel’s events contains its own gut-clenching brand of suspense. The finale, however, when the key protagonists clash in the thrilling denouement, leaves the realm of foreboding and catapults the reader into real and heart-stopping action.
This is a long book that allows the author to look at some of the events of the Second World War, and he often does so with an original eye. His recounting of the horrors of the terrible defeat of the British Expeditionary Force and the miracle of Dunkirk, as seen through the eyes of a German spy who has infiltrated the retreating army, is masterfully conceived.
Kudos, also, to the author for eschewing the boring, repetitive, blow-by-blow bedroom couplings that seem de rigueur for the modern novel but which add nothing to the story. Martin’s restrained treatment of the inevitable sexual liaisons that arise, maintains the story’s decorum, and absolutely nothing is lost by this constraint.
Codename Lazarus is an utterly absorbing page turner that kept me awake long into a couple of nights until I finished it. It has regenerated my taste for WW2 novels and while I may not be fortunate enough to find writers who can spin tales as brilliantly as AP Martin, I am still encouraged to search for some exciting reads, among which, I hope, will be a new book by this very accomplished writer.
by Amazon review
Wow, this is a ride and a half. I was immediately transported to the authors world. Here is a detail rich universe full to brimming with fantastical creatures and unexpected turns. Hold onto your hats.
by Joseph Patterson
Originally found a little difficult to get into, but was soon hooked... Reads like a ken follett novel, an enjoyable read and hopefully a first in a compelling series!!
by NetGalley reviewer
I really enjoyed the second half of this novel when the pace moved up a notch and there was much more danger and intrigue.
The first half seemed to follow along a well trodden path of stories written about the time leading up to WWII and I found the writing a little slow. I wanted to get on with the danger – the real spy stuff.
Martin uses real world events to create a sense of time and place but I found some famous names were dropped into the story that had no relevance to the scene or plot.
I liked how Martin tied the three main characters together, in a very convincing and believable way, for an explosive ending.
Worth a read for those new to spy thrillers but probably not for hardcore WWII buffs.
by Veronica Joy (NetGalley)
I was born and spent my entire working life in the North West of England, where I taught at school, college and university levels. I became Head of Department of Social Sciences at a University, specialising in the study of social inequality, social mobility and sport. During my academic career I published many sociological studies on these themes.
When the opportunity came to take early retirement, my Swiss wife and I took the decision to leave England and move to the Swiss Alps, where we have lived since 2013. It had been a dream of mine since boyhood to live in the mountains and, as fluent speakers of German, my wife and I found our beautiful home in a small, yet easily accessible village high in the Bernese Oberland.
Now also a Swiss citizen, I love the opportunities for year round hiking and walking, which are on our doorstep and the convenient position of Switzerland for visiting France, Italy, Germany and Austria. While I feel fully at home in Switzerland, however, I cannot shake the habit of listening to on line commentary of all Bolton Wanderers' games during the football season!