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Traitor's Gate

(Traitors #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  307 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Conrad de Lancey has seen enough of evil: the shadow of fear on the faces of innocents; the roar of tanks through empty streets; the sudden lull before the slaughter begins. Franco's bloody insurrection taught this Englishman all about hell.

Arriving in his mother's country, the now Nazi Germany, Conrad is sick at heart. Even Berlin - infamous haven of decadence and vice -
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 1st 2013 by Head of Zeus
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
According to the author’s note at the end of the book, there was a Wehrmacht plot to assassinate Hitler in 1938. That event serves as the foundation for this novel. I hesitate to called it alternate history for reasons that will become obvious at the end.

The protagonist, Conrad is an idealist and a zealot. We first meet him during the Spanish Civil War where he and two other comrades have just shot three members of the Spanish brigade who were about to rape some nuns. The Catholic Church had al
Ant Koplowitz
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
I really wanted to enjoy Traitor's Gate by Michael Ridpath, but to be honest it was a bit of a struggle. The underlying premise of a pre-invasion of Czechoslovakia plot to overthrow and arrest Hitler was a good one, but it was let down by some leaden writing and flat characterisation. At times it as so clunky I thought I was reading Five Have a Fantastic Time with the Nazis; there were too many instances of 'Quick, there's a spy' and 'How are we going to crack the secret code', for my liking.

S.J.A. Turney
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There will be those of you out there who watched Valkyrie and loved it.

Traitor’s Gate does the same thing but better.

There will be those who hated Valkyrie.

Traitor’s Gate is more accurate and more tense. You will prefer it.

There will be those who’ve never seen Valkyrie.

Don’t bother. Read Traitor’s Gate!

I’m not an avid reader of the WW2 era, nor a student of the period, though I’ve delved here and there. I’ve watched a number of movies based on the period, including some from the German point of
Tina Tamman
I have a friend who doesn't like certain genres (crime for one) and makes the point of defining the genre of a book very early on in our discussions of books. Why I thought of her in connection with this novel is that I'm not sure whether I like thrillers, whether I like the genre. However, there is occasionally in me a yearning to read something exciting, which is what a thriller promises by definition.
This novel seemed to fit the bill. I had bought a copy on somebody's recommendation, liked th
Margarita Morris
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of Michael Ridpath until I heard him interviewed on the The Creative Penn podcast. I checked him out because I was interested in his spy thrillers and I'm very glad I did. Traitor's Gate is a meticulously researched novel about a German plot to overthrow Hitler in 1938. It is based on fact, with some fictional characters thrown in, and is an excellent history lesson in how the British government's policy of appeasement caused the plot to fail so that Hitler survived. It's a boo ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018-reads
One of those books which had false advertisement in their blurb. This book fell so short from about “deceit, danger, plots, paranoia and intrigue”.

The writing was shocking. One minute the author is saying something and literally 10 pages later he is contradicting himself.

The characters were flat and very indecisive, which you would not expect from the blurb.

Very, very disappointed.
Wilde Sky
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Before the start of WWII a plot is hatched to kill Hitler.

The basic idea was good, but I found the writing / dialogue / characters all a bit clunky.
This tale should have been more entertaining that it was. The writing was fairly flat as was the characterisation. Plus the hero is a little too "what ho, chaps!" to take seriously. Conrad does what Conrad wants to do, regardless of the potential consequences for others. It's also hard for the author to build up tension surrounding the main plot line, given that everyone picking up this book is likely to know what actually happened to Hitler in the end. I don't think I'd pick up other Ridpath bo ...more
Cathy Hayes
Feb 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014-books
Really disappointed in this book - the subject (the plot to kill Hitler and avoid WWII) was something I'm interested in and I was looking forward to reading it. However, it reads more like a romantic novel than a thriller and the main character acts like a Boy's Own hero, racing round causing havoc yet getting away with it, escaping the clutches of the Gestapo on a number of occasions. Not sure why I persevered to the end, it didn't get any better as it went on... ...more
Vilmos Blumenschein
Great story line, an easy book even for somebody not so familiar with the history of nazi germany. Recommend it for anybody who likes true history novels!
Vicki Deakin
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action
Conrad de Lancey has seen enough of evil: the shadow of fear on the faces of innocents; the roar of tanks through empty streets; the sudden lull before the slaughter begins. Franco's bloody insurrection taught this Englishman all about hell.

Arriving in his mother's country, the now Nazi Germany, Conrad is sick at heart. Even Berlin - infamous haven of decadence and vice - salutes fascism. Himmler's black-shirted troops rule the city, and every German arm bears a Swastika. But does every German
Ches Torrants
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Near the beginning it seemed heavy going. The German names and details, probably authentic and well researched, were tiresome and difficult for an English reader. But the characters and the situations hooked my interest. The author has given us a poignant fantasy, perhaps similar to real-life conspiracies that might have been. There are twists as the central character looks for ways to survive, at least long enough to kill Hitler. We know that he failed, but the ending has some surprises.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A plot to kill Hitler, in 1938. The need to convince the UK government to let Hitler declare war on Czechoslovakia so that German generals would stand up to the Fuhrer. What could possibly go wrong?

A mix of real life characters and storylines, and even a love triangle between a British agent, a half Jewish woman and a Gestapo officer, the story weaves towards the somewhat predictable ending - if you know your pre war history that is.

A good read, but predictable.
Kay Smillie
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A decent prewar thriller based in 1938 Germany. Fiction but based on a what might have been scenario in an attempted coup to get rid of Hitler. Will most definitely appeal to those with a deep interest in that period of history. Not bad at all.

Ray Smillie
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enthralling story with a mixture of fact and fiction!

A fast paced piece of fiction laced with fact. It is well written and detailed with believable characters.
At times one had doubts whether the principal persons would ever survive.
Mike Taverner
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
It was good - a period piece of 1930's culture as well as being an interesting historic story ...more
Peter Jochinger
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable read with a nice touch of WW2 history.
Of course Hitler was not removed from power in 1938, yet Ridpath constructs a story taut with page-turning tension that makes you forget you know the outcome, or anyway, to hope they will succeed. The blending of fact and fiction is very well done, and Ridpath's depth of research worn lightly, to convey a strong sense of time/place without coming over like a school history book. Ridpath even plays a little with the better known aspects of history, teasing the reader with Chamberlain's famous 'pi ...more
David Lowther
The plot of Traitor's Gate, covering the period leading up to the Munich Agreement in September 1938, dealt with issues that really interest me. Telling such a momentous story and wrapping it around a thriller is a very good approach and, up to a point, it works here, as does Ridpath's inclusion of many real-life characters alongside a number of fictional ones.

What I didn't like were some of the portrayals of the real-life characters. Neville Chamberlain was a cold, calculating and arrogant man
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have liked all the other books by this author, so even though German war books aren't generally my thing I bought this one when it was released. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it. Yes, it's about the immediate build-up to WW2, set in Berlin and involving all the different German police and military organisations and lots of plotting and counter-plotting, but the story is told in terms of the people involved and their backgrounds, relationships and values. Perhaps predictably, one of the them ...more
Derek McCabrey
Michael Ridpath expertly weaves various strands of historical fact ams characters along with his own inventions, to create a story that sits well in the realms of plausibility. The main character, Conrad, is a rather resouceful, if reticent, anti-hero who is pledged to bring down the snake of the third reich by cutting off its head. So what is wrong with that you might ask: the story is well-told and is rich in historical reference to make the reader wonder, at some point, if such a plot did in ...more
Evan Harte
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Although this book is very fast paced (never boring), I did feel that things went by too fast. I found myself longing for more character development, especially of Conrad and Anneliese.

I also felt that the minor characters in this novel (and there are several of them) are not memorable. Because of this, I found myself losing track of who is who and what department (Gestapo, Wehrmacht, secret police, etc.) they are a part of.

Because of this, I only rate this novel a 3/5. That being said, the nove
Anthony Irven
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a good read! Partly based on fact and using an amalgam of characters from pre war Germany in the 1930s, Conrad our hero and all round good guy plots and plans the assassination of all round bad guy, Hitler!
Will Conrad murder Hitler and save the world from war as he is tracked down by the brutes who inhabit the Gestapo. It builds to crescendo, and well we all know what really happened and that is the way it turns out here! They reach the inner sanctum of Hitler and just walk away!
Humphrey Hawksley
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Amid colourful and well-drawn characters, Michael Ridpath dissects divisions within the British and German governments in 1938 as war looms over Europe. As Traitor's Gate unfolds we see the blur and conflict of loyalty to country, friends, family, institution and personal values. None is clear. The conversation between Conrad de Lancey and the British ambassador to Berlin, Sir Nevile Henderson is enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck in fury. This masterful novel is drawn from fact ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This was the first electronic book I had read and I'm not sure if I struggled with that or the writing style as I had immense difficulty finding the enthusiasm to pick it up ( I'll give Ridpath the benefit of the doubt as I've read one of his books before and enjoyed it, so I'll blame the format.) It was interesting enough in both an educational and entertaining sense but it seemed Ridpath tried too hard with the language of the day, sometimes making me feel I had a young adults book in my hands ...more
Khoa Dang
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
An intriguing historical fiction novel with rich description of events and solid depiction of each character's life, emotions, thoughts and actions that are shaped by the outcome of events beyond the reach of individuals. As a fan of historical fiction, I found this book quite fascinating, not to mention the breath-holding moments when the people risked life and limb in their effort to confront and defeat the evil that was looming over Europe's political landscape- an element of thriller skillfu ...more
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Germany, WW2, generally not my first choice, but I am glad I made it. The story sheds light on a failed coup to overthrow Hitler. I found it interesting to learn about the number of Germans, within the military and secret service, who were united to remove an evil man from power. It is a story with layers of characters that paint a new light on the resistance. Obviously I knew what the outcome would be, but Micael's writing kept me hoping for a change in history. ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great historical novel! I really would have liked to have given this book 5 stars and it deserves this for a superb gripping plot. sheer entertainment value and quality writing. For me 5 stars is for books that really touch my heart and stay with me and this misses out for this reason only. If you like Philip Kerr and David Downing and their depiction of 1930's Berlin then this is easily as good. Very highly recommended, one of the best books I have read in recent years! ...more
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent and thrilling page-turner set amongst the high-flying, cloak-and-dagger world of diplomacy and conspiracy in Nazi Germany on the brink of war. Conrad de Lancey is your stereotypical young English gentleman abroad, refusing to let his conflicting emotions and ideologies dampen that infamous stiff upper lip. Although the writing can fall a little flat at times, and the denouement lacking, the build-up of suspense is masterful and it is a very entertaining read.
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
spy thriller based in late 1930's Germany around time of the munich crisis and based in berlin and the initial plot to dislodge hitler from power as to avoid a pending war. this novel is loosely based on real events and feel the sinister ways of the third reich as the plotters aim in their pursuit of their goals. ...more
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Before becoming a writer, Michael Ridpath used to work as a bond trader in the City of London. After writing several financial thrillers, which were published in over 30 languages, he began a crime series featuring the Icelandic detective Magnus Jonson. He has also written five stand-alone thrillers, the latest of which is The Diplomat’s Wife, published in February 2021. He lives in London.

And if

Other books in the series

Traitors (2 books)
  • Shadows of War

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