Featured: The Man from Section Five by Jana Petken

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Jana Petken has delved into the murky world of espionage in the pre-world war two era when the streets of London are filled with spies.

Brinley Knight has a photographic memory. Bored with his mundane job, he accepts an offer from MI5 to become a full-time spy in a shadowy world of espionage.

As Britain stands at the edge of war, Brin learns to his cost that ‘defending the realm’ means duty before family.

London, 1937. A sniper kills an accountant in a quiet London neighbourhood. Weeks later, the police find two dead German agents in a disused warehouse across the river.

South of France, 1938. An English diplomat is found dead at the hotel hosting the Jewish Refugee Crisis Conference. MI5 believes the Abwehr is responsible for all four deaths.

Berlin, 1938. Ursula Engel, an ambitious German actress, is out of a job after the Gestapo detain her Jewish cast members and close the theatre. On a trip to France, she meets the charming Gregg Talbot, but is he what and who he claims to be?

Hitler’s fifth columnists in Britain emerge from the darkness, as Germany’s military might eyes new territories east of the Rhine.

German spies: aristocrats, politicians, wealthy businessmen, anti-Semites, and fascist groups operate in opulent dining rooms and in the back alleys of London’s East End.

Menacing predators, they hunt for information that could aid the Führer’s ambitions and stoke fires of division between the Jews, Communists, and British fascists.

Britain is already at war, as the government tries to hold the political parties and the British public together before the streets of England burn with hatred and revenge.

Jana Petken

Meet Jana Petken:

Jana Petken is a historical fiction author and screenwriter.

She is critically acclaimed as a bestselling, gritty author who produces bold, colourful characters and riveting storylines. She is the recipient of numerous major international awards for her works of historical fiction.

Before life as an author, she served in the British Royal Navy. During her service, she studied Naval Law and history.

After the Navy, she worked for British Airways and turned to writing after an accident on board an aircraft forced her to retire prematurely.

Review by Cassie:

Jana Petken has delved into the murky world of espionage in the pre-world war two era. This is very different from her family sagas that I have read before, usually set within the times of war and conflict.

This looks at Section Five, known also as MI5 one of Britain’s security departments in the years leading up to World War 2. What I read had me delving into some of the historical past facts…as in her other stories, Petken has researched her background carefully.

I was shocked to see what poor state Great Britain’s secret service was in at that time. In times of war, great emphasis and resources had been thrown at protecting the state, yet between wars a rundown threadbare service. And what chance security of the nation?

Setting: !937/38 – pre-war Britain. Their own fascist organization called the British Union of Fascists is in full swing and depicted well, with their leader, Sir Oswald Mosley, courting the fascist developments and leaders in Germany and Italy. In hindsight such a dangerous organization and time period.

Section Five tries to get a person inside the movement to examine whether treason is being committed. The end of this book is not the conclusion of the story, yet neither does it end on a cliff-hanger, I’m pleased to say. Though I shall be somewhat impatient awaiting the second part of this story.

Character development: As in all previously read books of Jana’s, I find her character development to be excellent. Believable and true to the social class and historical period the story is set in, from the working class to the aristocrat.

I have quite fallen for our unsung hero, Brinley Knight. Then Sam Grafton, is he a rat, double-agent, triple agent  – the jury is still out despite what we learn of him. Ursula Engel, I have mixed feelings about, beautiful but fickle. Will she be the Section Five equivalent of Mata Hari, and is there a budding romance in the offing? Again I shall have to wait and see.

The plot kept my attention, made me curious, and wonder right to the end.

Why is there a new boss change?

Who is to be trusted?

Has Brinley got it in him for the nastier side of espionage? He seems such a nice guy for such a deviant occupation.

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