FOR INTRIGUE THAT KEEPS YOU GUESSING
One woman is betrayed; the other, sacrificed. What happens to them triggers a chain reaction of double crosses that alter the outcome of World War II.
On the eve of World War II, American journalist Lee Talbot witnesses Hitler’s experiment in “total war,” the bombing of Guernica in northern Spain, and foresees the horrors Nazi Germany will unleash on the world if Hitler’s nuclear labs develop the atomic bomb first. She joins Churchill’s secret operation to sabotage Hitler’s experiments but ends up babysitting the king of England’s cousin, a distinguished pianist, Lady Grace Talbot, who fancies herself in love with an SS officer she meets on concert tour in Berlin. When her parents die in a London bombing, Lady Grace joins Lee’s team of operatives, but someone within Churchill’s project is betraying his missions to the enemy. When Grace is the only one a Danish physicist will trust to help him escape with his atomic formula from the Gestapo in Copenhagen, Lee discovers Grace’s mission has also been compromised and replaces her at the rendezvous with the Danish Resistance. The Gestapo then arrests Lee, but once the Gestapo commander thinks the traitor has tricked him and the physicist is gone, his ruthless hunt for Grace begins. The SS officer Grace loves hides her in a convent before his attempt to rescue Lee fails. In the ensuing chain reaction of double crosses between the British and Nazis, what happens to these two women exposes a secret England wants buried forever.
1. How does the author set up the plot?
2. What role does music play through the story?
3. What historical event brought the two women together? How did it affect them? How did if affect you, the reader?
4. Why are Lady Grace and the SS officer instantly drawn to each other, and what in their nature bonds them so loyally through the war?
5. Why is Lee so starved for love? How does this affect her relationships with men?
6. Why is the horse such a significant symbol throughout the story?
7. How are Lee and Grace alike? How do they differ? What inner conflict does each woman have to overcome through the story?
8. Do you agree or disagree with this statment and explain your reasons: Events through the story draw the two women into a friendship that becomes so close they are almost mirrors of each other.
9. Why did British Intelligence use codes in radio broadcasts during World War II?
10. Why did the traitor betray Grace to the Gestapo in Denmark?
11. Did you realize who the traitor was before the author revealed it? How does the author foreshadow his exposure?
12. Why was Project Amanita so important to the outcome of the war?
13. Since the story was based on true historical events, did you find any scenes that changed your perceptions of the war? If so, what were those specific scenes?
14. The “ring of light” is a significant symbol. Why? What does it mean to you?
15. How does the author treat male characters in the story?
16. SS Colonel Ketmann was modeled after a real Nazi officer. What drove his evil? Did the author succeed in showing his vulnerabilities? How?
17. Of the German characters who appear in the story, which one most represents the average German trapped under Hitler’s regime? Explain your choice.
18. Why was Hitler able to mesmerize the German people into following him so blindly?
19. Select one scene in the story you remember most. Why did you choose it?
20. Discuss the characterizations of Quinn Bergin, Erich von Lohren, Sir Fletcher McAlister, Rolf Haukelid, Tobias Baldur-Meyer, the Danish physicist Dr. Nielsen and Morgan Saunders? Who did you like the most and why? Of these characters, which one gained your sympathy more than the others and why?
21. Lee affects the men in relationships with her. What about her draws them to her? How do the following change because of her relationship with them: Quinn Bergin, Rolf Haukelid, Ludwig Ketmann, the guard Max and Morgan Saunders?
22. What role do children play in the story? What lessons do we learn from their involvement?
23. How does the author show the public’s reaction to people who have endured wartime trauma?
24. Which love story affected you the most and why?
25. After reading the story, how do you explain what drives Grace and Lee to be so brave under devastating wartime conditions?
26. What happened to the traitor that shaped his ultimate betrayal? Why did he still feel justified in the end?
What question would you like to ask the author? You can email her. Please put Reader Discussion Question in the subject title.
1. Which Bible verse does Grace quote the most to Lee? Why?
2. Why does Grace not try to convert Lee to her Christian faith?
3. What happens to Grace that makes her question her faith and God?
4. How does Erich von Lohren regain his faith in God?
5. Since Lee does not have Grace’s faith, what sustains Lee through the dark days of her interrogation and torture?
6. Why does Lee refuse to surrender to God?
7. How does the author show God’s forgiveness in the story?
8. How does Lee’s spiritual sensitivity change through the story?
9. If Lee was your friend, how would you try to overcome her distrust of religion and her disillusionment in God?
10. How did each of the Bible verses quoted below apply to the story?
REFERENCES TO BIBLE VERSES FOUND IN THE NOVEL:
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; for He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. —Psalm 91: 5,11
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life …will be able to separate us from the love of God.” —Romans 8:38,39
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. —1 Thessalonians 5:11
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. —Romans 8:28