Vienna after the second World War changed in many ways and the war criminals that tortured, mutilated and cremated innocent people walked the earth. Some were found guilty and put to death while others were never arrested and yet they lurked in the depths of deception. Jack Marshall and Walker served during the war and are now working for the Company. With the help of analyst Leslie, who works undercover and hoped to gain intelligence from infiltrating Hitler’s inner circle, recruit former Nazi’s with information that can help our country stay ahead and afloat in the atomic race. But there is much more to this espionage and subterfuge as someone out there finds these men related to Hitler and takes them down one by one.
The Nazi’s provide the backdrop for what is going to occur, and their own secret agents have their own goals and agendas. The story is told in different viewpoints as we learn more about Jack Marshall, his role as the company station chief, Walker who fought along side him and a dangerous man named Sheldon claiming to be a former Auschwitz detainee and presently a tailor who the company men is taking out former Nazis. Leslie is smart and of course like I said not what she appears to be, and Tania was being attacked and raped and Sheldon takes her in hand, rescues her and tries to protect her but what secrets does she hold within herself? Marshall’s goal as part of the Company is to find out who has information that our country would deem useful and hopefully find some. But, will they secretly not prosecute these people in order to get the information needed? What exactly is Sheldon’s role and is he really a tailor as we hear his voice tell how he disposed of the dead bodies claiming he never had anything to do with the killings.
Getting to know Sheldon we hear him with Tania the young girl he saved, and we begin to see many different sides of this man as she is not so innocent and uses her feminine wiles to try and lure him in. He feels responsible for her and she explains her relationship with her father and why he has gone missing. Having to trust him will not be easy but he makes it clear from the start that she needs to trust someone and their discussion about his past and his relationship to the war and the Jews, comes out loud and clear as you begin to wonder just what role he really did play.
While Marshall meets with Sheldon in his place of business and even orders some apparel made from him you can tell that each one has underlying secrets and that Sheldon knows what happened to Whittaker and that placing Marshall with some Russians that might help him learn the truth might enlighten him to whether Whittaker has gone to the other side and is a traitor or just missing? Meeks is the overseer from Washington who believes that Whitaker might be have gone to the other side. Things will spiral out of control as 1948 Vienna has changes drastically and the population is now partly Russian, Nazi, British, Americans, war criminals, war heroes and those that fall prey to others whether innocent or not.
When Walker decides to meet with Leslie things heat up but then Marshall summons him to a special café and the unheard truth about Leslie is revealed and now, he must decide to believe what he’s told or not. Whittaker has disappeared and when Marshall learns about his debts and his gambling situation the reader learns that he might not be on the side of the Americans or British but on the side of the Russians and the coin that Sheldon gave him might be at root of what Whittaker is after. Six Constantine coins and one, the sixth the most valuable has something missing on it that the others do not making it priceless. Is that what he’s after and the piece of paper and the information that Marshall has plus another written by Leslie leaves readers wondering whose side she is on and what Walker will do next.
The British are watching the Americans and want to recruit Nazi scientists to help further their own country’s research. Each side has their own selfish motives and interests. The research into the history of the Nazis and how they treated the prisoners is extensive and the methods of how they injected things to kill prisoners is described and chilling starting with Chapter One and the first death of a Nazi war criminal which starts Marshall on his mission to learn more and deal with Sheldon.
Things spiral further out of control when Walker learns more about Leslie and has a special dinner with her realizing that she is not what she appears to be. Sheldon next meets with a vicar and two others and we learn more about his alliance with the British, the Russians and the fact that he just might know more about Whittaker and more. When Walker learns more about Leslie and is ambushed by two British men, we learn the truth about Meeks and Whittaker and the result is a serious loss as someone close is sacrificed and more about Leslie is learned.
Sheldon has his own secrets and crosses to bear and where his allegiance lies remains to be the coin is not the issue, the ribbons stolen from Marshall’s unit are prime and the information about where the many Nazi’s are being sent is vital to Meeks and his minions. Trying to take out Walker and Leslie might prove fatal for some, but just where is Meeks and what will be done when the truth about his actions are revealed?
Things never turn out as they seem and Jack and Walker wind up in the clutches of someone, they thought they could trust as the tables are turned and the ending is near. Walker and Leslie had their short time together. Sheldon decided to take Tania as his responsibility. But, with the Company changing locations and then Walker and Leslie parting what will their final destinations be? What will happen to the missing coin? Where will the roads take them next as we get to see the final scenes as Jack plays out his game of chess and the final hands are dealt.
The final showdowns will surprise readers and the result of the significance of the coin, those who will pay for their misdeeds and the end show for Walker and Marshall will shock readers. The final chapter lets you know that they might change locations, the players might stay the same and yet some new ones added as the Company Files Continues very soon.
As we learn the truths behind the Nazi’s that were executed and those that still linger in the distance and are not immune to what someone will hand out as their fate, the truth behind the ribbons and what they hold for the Company, the truth behind Sheldon and what they learn about him and what is next in their future still remains to be seen as the future has yet to be told. Characters that are unique and different and some that many would like to know more about as the series continues.
Fran Lewis: MJ magazine/MJ network/Just reviews