PRINCE OF SPIES by Alex Gerlis

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The Richard Prince Thrillers, Book 1

From the publisher:

Find the truth; risk everything. A gripping WWII spy novel full of intrigue and peril from a modern master.

1942: A German spy comes ashore on a desolate stretch of Lincolnshire beach. But he is hunted down by a young detective, Richard Prince. The secret services have need of a man like him…

In occupied Europe, Denmark is a hotbed of problems for British intelligence. Rumours of a war-ending weapon being developed by the Germans are rife.

Sent to Copenhagen, Prince is soon caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Dodging Gestapo agents, SS muscle and the danger of betrayal, his survival – and the war effort – hangs in the balance.

Gripping and intense, Prince of Spies is the first in a new espionage series that will delight fans of Alan Furst, Philip Kerr and John le Carré.


Alex Gerlis initiates a planned series of novels revolving around Richard Prince, who is by vocation a detective in London. His activities are picked up in the midst of World War II in 1944. Prince already has earned a reputation as a hard worker, a very intelligent and savvy detective and one with a bright future in police work. He has the idea that he would like to do more, increasing his own reputation and earning promotion from the agency he works for.

The opportunity arises in a big way when Prince masterminds the capture of a Nazi spy that has secretly entered the country and who tells of secret weapons the Nazis are developing which could let them win the war. The center of the activity by Germany seems to be centered in Denmark, which is currently occupied by the Nazi army.

The British deem it necessary to get an agent into Copenhagen to begin investigating the facts about the planned weapon. Prince is fluent in Danish due to having lived in Denmark at one point in his youth. He is approached by the British Secret Service and asked if he will take on the mission. Nervous, but anxious to further develop his skills Richard accepts the assignment and is smuggled into Copenhagen.

The events depicted take Prince into Denmark, Germany, and a neutral Sweden while searching for information on what type of weapon is being developed and then where the manufacturing process is centered. Along the way, he meets a woman assigned to help him in Denmark which leads him into a love affair. In addition another woman, actually a member of the German upper class, and the wife of a high-level German army officer who is helping the British due to her distaste for Hitler’s regime has occasion to provide aide to Prince. She takes a liking to him while at the same time getting rid of her husband because of his views on the current German path which include a disdain and slaughter of Jews. This hatred reflects Hitler’s official position and his need to cleanse Germany of Jews and other groups selected for use as scapegoats who are believed to have caused a major recession in the country.

The portraits of Richard Prince, the two ladies he is involved with, and several people involved in the story’s evolution are well done. They act bravely, are motivated by their cause and feel anxiety and fear as would be normal in a titanic stress situation as is war. After an interesting read, it is no surprise that the ending finds Prince accepting another assignment and getting ready to reenter war-torn Europe again.

3/2020 Paul Lane

PRINCE OF SPIES by Alex Gerlis. Canelo Action (March 19, 2020). ASIN: B082FZQHTX. 352p.

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