Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Honest Spy” as Want to Read:
The Honest Spy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Honest Spy

by
3.95  ·  Rating details ·  10,039 ratings  ·  476 reviews
During one of history’s darkest chapters, one man is determined to make a difference.

In the tradition of Schindler’s List comes a thrilling novel based on the heroic true story of Fritz Kolbe, a widowed civil servant in Adolf Hitler’s foreign ministry. Recognizing that millions of lives are at stake, Kolbe uses his position to pass information to the Americans—risking hims
...more
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published November 1st 2017 by AmazonCrossing (first published July 3rd 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Honest Spy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Todd His daughter is fiction. The real-life Fritz Kolbe left his second wife and his son in Cape Town. The son, Peter, met with his father again after the …moreHis daughter is fiction. The real-life Fritz Kolbe left his second wife and his son in Cape Town. The son, Peter, met with his father again after the war, at ~18 years of age, and eventually became a geologist and settled in Sydney. Fritz eventually married his third wife, a nurse (who had stayed behind in Berlin).(less)
jeanne Thanks. I just found your answer; have a kindle reader but it isn't very easy to operAte for this 90-year-old gal. Now can hardly remember the book . …moreThanks. I just found your answer; have a kindle reader but it isn't very easy to operAte for this 90-year-old gal. Now can hardly remember the book . Will review.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,039 ratings  ·  476 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Honest Spy
Geza Tatrallyay
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book! A real page-turner that kept me reading well into the night. Based on the story of Fritz Kolbe, perhaps the greatest spy ever, it paints a very realistic picture of life in Berlin during the war, and the disgust of one man at the heart of the German office who decides that he cannot stand by and watch all the horrors of the Nazi regime and does something about it. Through a friend in Switzerland Kolbe manages to get in touch with the OSS operatives stationed in Bern, and ...more
G.J.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-thriller
I liked this book but did not love it, I am not sure if the translation has to take some responsibility for this, but the writing style did seem a bit odd at times.
I found it rather difficult to like Fritz Kolbe, if all the deeds he did are indeed all based on fact then he undoubtedly was a brave man and deserves recognition for this.
Cold War Conversations Podcast
Well written fictional account of relatively unknown WW2 spy.

Written by German author Andreas Kollender, this book is based on the life of Fritz Kolbe a member of the German Diplomatic Service during World War 2 who had access to top secret information. He provided this information to the Allies for ideological reasons and not for personal gain and smuggled hundreds of top-secret files to American intelligence from 1943 onwards, continuing undetected until the end of the war.

Allen Dulles, who b
...more
Steve
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Not your everyday WWII spy novel, and by no means perfect, but a sufficiently gratifying pick from the Kindle First heap and a relatively quick read.

As for genre, this seems to be a mash-up between historical fiction, a garden variety page-turning spy novel, and ... something else, but I'm not sure what. On one level, the novel chronicles - and, apparently, takes any number of liberties with - the career of a (subsequently) celebrated spy, an actual historical figure, of whom there, apparently,
...more
Peter Jones
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
ABOUT THIS BOOK-During one of history’s darkest chapters, one man is determined to make a difference.

In the tradition of Schindler’s List comes a thrilling novel based on the heroic true story of Fritz Kolbe, a widowed civil servant in Adolf Hitler’s foreign ministry. Recognizing that millions of lives are at stake, Kolbe uses his position to pass information to the Americans—risking himself and the people he holds most dear—and embarks on a dangerous double life as the Allies’ most important sp
...more
Ellen Trautner
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Thank goodness I didn't have to mark this as abandoned! Halfway through reading this, I dropped my Kindle and it stopped working. For months it kept turning itself on and off, wouldn't hold a charge, etc. It was very sad, not least because I hate abandoning a book, unless it's terrible. Then I'm okay with it.

Anyways, after six months, my Kindle started working (mostly) and I was able to finish. Points that I was able to pick it up and get right back into it. I remembered most of the characters a
...more
george mance
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed it very much. Good tension leading to a surprise twist at the end. Glad it was based on a true story of an uncommon hero.

If you like WWII drama, this is a book you can't put down. Who doesn't like a wartime love story .
Steve Harding
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting and important read. We and future generations should NEVER be allowed to forget what happened in the Great Wars.
The book was well written, although I found the switching between the two timelines confusing at times.
Petesea
An OK, WW2 espionage tale that became a little too circular of a story in the last third of the book. I really enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book about Berlin, the Foreign Office and Bern. Maybe the relationship with Marlene was too much of a stretch for me.
Brad
Someday ... I imagine pretty soon ... we'll see the story of Fritz Kolbe, The Honest Spy, in movie theatres. Christoph Waltz, with his head shaved into male pattern baldness -- or better yet Ulrich Mühe -- should play Fritz Kolbe. If a Yankee actor is chosen, which one more than likely will be, they should go with Woody Harrelson, but the producers will surely go with someone more bankable, sexier, someone a US audience can believe as a romantic lead and a man with the guts to steal top secret N ...more
Lynn
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Annoyingly histrionic main character does things like stab pictures of Hitler with a fork. Along with the spying of course.
Brenda Styer
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Doing what is right regardless of the outcome

The incredible story of Fritz Kolbes espionage during WWII as a foreign diplomat within the German Government. He paid s terrible price for his acts of courage
M. LeeAnne Finney
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great story it kept my attention. I liked the main character staying true to his beliefs and not cave in and join the nazi party. I hat d marleen left in the end.

These stories need to me told. What goes on in between the lines is what the story is about Very well wrote.
Charles  van Buren
 A powerful, well written novel, October 15, 2017

Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: The Honest Spy (Kindle Edition)

It is easy for those of us of the 20th and 21st centuries living in Western democracies to say that the Fritz Kolbe of this novel did the right thing. That he should have had no moral qualms about betraying the evil Nazis. It was not so evident from his or other Germans' point of view. He was not a Nazi but he was a German. He was not betraying just the Nazis but hi
...more
Brad
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fact Can Be Better Than Fiction, But Fiction Can Improve Fact

This novel does a fine job of weaving an interesting fictional narrative around the real life and accomplishments of Fritz Kolbe. After initially wanting to match the story to reality, I finally let myself become engrossed in a very well told story. Even though I knew some of what had to occur by the end, the telling kept me wondering if it would ultimately stray to far. The story kept me reading even when I was too tired to continue.
Elizabeth K. Walker
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Keeper

I recommend this book to all my fellow spy novel lovers. This account balances the fictional portrayals that improvise and romanticize with the awful reality of the sacrifice of those who truly lived the life.
David Highton
A true story in novel form, so not really non-fiction. Certainly not as good a book as Schindler's Ark
Kaye
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a gripping story, told somewhat simplistically. Based on a real-life WWII espionage case, the book portrays a German man who avoids the nationalistic frenzy of the Third Reich. Fritz Kolbe is depicted as a man for whom the ties of family and friendship transcend social pressures to conform. He is an unlikely hero, one whose company I enjoyed. Still, it felt a bit as if I were being led along and educated as I read. I was given a Netgalley advanced reader's copy of this book.
Mary Sue Wilson
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent

Well written. Full of intrigue. A love story. Most of all, a story about doing what's right despite the danger. The true story of a German spy who took great risks to make a difference in WWII.
Robert C. Dillon
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting story

Very well do about a German diplomat that risked so much because of his hatred of the Nazi's and Hitler. The book chronicles how he was able to smuggle vital secret German documents to US intelligence.
Sandy Bailey
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow!

I could not put this book down! I could not help wondering how someone could do all of the things Fritz Kolbe did. He was a hero in his own right with the bravery and fortitude that he exhibited standing up to the Na,I Regime.
Annette Jordan
Based on a true story, this is the fictionalized account of Fritz Kolbe, who used his position in the civil service to pass on information about Reich activities, including locations of important industrial complexes, and even a detailed map of the Wolf's Lair, Hitlers alpine hideout, to the Americans. Forced to return from South Africa to Germany, having left his young daughter behind for her own safety, Kolbe struggles with his conscience when evidence of the appalling Reich policies , includi ...more
Tony Bezilla
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great and important historical novel

If you are a student of history or simply enjoy historical novels you will love this book. It is an accurate depiction of the life of the most important spy of WWII for the fledging American OSS (predecessor to the CIA). It also offers interesting insights into the minds of two of the most important American intelligence operators in US history: Allen Dulles and William Priest. The English translation leaves the reader with a few notable grammatical quandari
...more
Adrian Lawrence
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not your usual WW2 novel. I get it's historical fiction but I'm left wondering what elements were fiction. Some parts seem to fit better with fiction than history. Firstly, I can't see Kolbe reaching the position he did without being a Nazi Party member. Being a member would certainly attracted less attention to himself. Many times he appears frustrated to the point of recklessness that I struggled to imagine he would survive. Anyway, minor gripes, it a great book with plenty of suspense and giv ...more
Carl  Palmateer
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I had a hard time getting through this. The book suffers from not being sure if it wants to be a biography, a novel, a history book, a polemic or whatever. The story of Kolbe is compelling and their are parts that are good but it deserves a better treatment. Whether the continual hints of some big unrevealed secret or the author saying all that was foreshadowing it just didn't mesh.
Kevin Stilley
A spy novel based upon real historical figures must eventually have some suspense and intrigue, right? One would think so -- but evidently not. I kept waiting and waiting, but this book never became interesting in the least. Not recommended for anyone.
skip thurnauer
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Honest Spy was an Amazon recommendation that I am glad I snatched up. It is the fictionalized account of Fritz Kolbe, a German foreign office employee during WW II. Kolbe was stationed in S. Africa when hostilities in Europe broke out. He was opposed to the Nazi regime and their fanaticism when he was called back to the Fatherland. Even though he refuses to join the party, Kolbe's new position exposes him to high-level correspondence from the Nazi high command. He approaches the British with ...more
Carolyn
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those historical fiction books that sticks as closely as possible to the truth, using real names with fiction only to fill in the gaps in the record. Superbly written. The hero, Fritz Kolbe, is a German who hates Nazism but finds himself in an important government office because of personal connections. He has access to secrets about troop deployments and battlefield strategies, and after major battles with his conscience, he becomes a spy for the Americans, meeting Allen Dulles o ...more
LindaJ^
This novel/thriller is based on the real-life spy Fritz Kolbe. Kolbe was a German civil servant, an assistant to a couple of ambassadors, who never joined the Nazi party. He hated the Nazis and what they were doing to his country. He want Hitler to be defeated so he decided to give critical and secret information to the Allies, specifically to the US's OSS. He wasn't recruited; he was not paid. He tried the Brits first but was turned away. He became Allen Dulles' most important spy, operating un ...more
Aristidis Marousas
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely historical fiction read

This was a very nice read about the slightly fictionalized story of a German citizen turned spy during the second world war. Definitely recommend to anyone interested in WW2 stories, fictionalized or otherwise. In a few places it did feel like the narration jumped around a bit without warning. Not sure if that's because of the translation or was part of the original writing. Beyond that, a smooth read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Coming Clean
  • Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
  • John Adams
  • The Enemy (Jack Reacher, #8)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
  • Into the Wild
  • Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
  • Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy
  • I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
  • The Silver Music Box (Silver Music Box, #1)
  • Bossypants
  • Daughters of the Night Sky
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
  • Night  (The Night Trilogy, #1)
  • The Air Raid Killer (Max Heller, Dresden Detective, #1)
  • Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
See similar books…

Related Articles

While dealing with her husband's illness, this debut author turned to the refuge of Jane Austen's work. That refuge turned into her highly anticipa...
80 likes · 11 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“There is a price to pay,” he says, “for doing what’s right.” 1 likes
“Who really knew what doubts and conflicts raged within people? The dangerous ones were those who felt no conflicts at all. They were not living beings—they were nothing but ticking clocks.” 1 likes
More quotes…