Alain Dewitt's Reviews > Xpd

Xpd by Len Deighton
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's review
Sep 20, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011
Read from September 20 to 27, 2011

This was a suspense thriller that was almost completely lacking in action and suspense. The characters are a melange of good guys (British SIS (aka MI-6) and CIA) and bad guys (Nazis and Russians) but the plot is never really fleshed out. The book concerns some Nazi documents that are hidden at the end of the war (along with a cache of Nazi gold) that have damning evidence of how Churchill tried to sue for peace in the dark days of May 1940. And while this would be an embarrassing admission, it's never quite clear why it's so all-fired important that these documents not come out. After all, the war has been over 35 years (at the time of this writing).

Trapped in the middle are the remnants of 'Kelly's Heroes'. A platoon of American soldiers that discovered and secreted the documents - along with the gold - and now have both sides after them. The good guys - who want to suppress the release of the documents - and the bad guys - who want to use them to embarrass the good guys and undermine democracy in Europe, especially West Germany.

The characters aren't particularly unique or memorable. The writing is competent enough; it's the plot that isn't fully fleshed out. And the book is also lacking in the tradecraft and technical details that make for a compelling espionage thriller.
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