The novel opens during early World War II. A man dressed as a monk is seen entering a monastery which is not his own located in Germany. He is carrying a book and actually doing his best to sneak it in, hiding it from the monks that live there. He finds a place in which religious tomes are kept and proceeds to place it with the others, clearly in a section designed to allow for the discovery of the item when required.
The plot of the novel starts to unfold with the appearance of people famous during the period under discussion. These include Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward and the infamous Adolf Hitler. A scheme is hatched by Noel Coward to prevent the Nazis from launching an invasion of England. Interestingly enough, the plan relies on something written in the book left in the monastery.
The book shifts to Moscow, Russia after the end of the war with Larissa Mendelova Klint, a college professor doing research instead of going on summer vacation like most of her colleagues and students. She comes across references to the book hidden during WWII unearthing an outline of the scheme hatched by Noel Coward. Fascinated she launches a full scale search for the book and enters full force into that task.
Silvers novel flows smoothly bringing the reader from the mysterious placement of the book through the initiation of the plot and termination of those events. The ending of the novel terminates with a trip to Moscow by the President of the United States. And in a very neat way, events provide a logical setup for another book with Larissa M Klint. A very well done novel indeed.
2/18 Paul Lane
THE BOOKWORM by Mitch Silver. Pegasus Books (February 6, 2018). ISBN 978-1681776415. 352p.