Island Reich by Jack Grimwood – Book Review

Island Reich by Jack Grimwood – Book Review

Island Reich by Jack Grimwood

Island Reich

Author – Jack Grimwood
Publisher – Michael Joseph
Pages – 544
Released – 27th May 2021
ISBN-13 – 978-0241348314
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover audio
Rating – 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.
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July, 1940. The Nazis launch their invasion of Britain – starting with the Channel Islands . . .

And soldier turned safecracker Bill O’Hagan gets an offer: hang for his crimes, or serve his country.

The mission – land on occupied Alderney, impersonate a local, steal the invasion plans, escape. He almost believes they’re not lying to him.

In Portugal, the former King, Edward, Duke of Windsor, receives an altogether different proposal from Germany: ease the invasion and he’ll get his throne back. But Edward will not readily betray his country . . .

An embittered former king. An unreformed thief.
And a secret upon which the fates of nations lie . . .

Review by Stacey

Island Reich is the first book that I have read from author Jack Grimwood and I must say I like his style of writing. The book is huge and has 189 chapters, though given that most of them are super short (my favourite kind), and quite often were just a page or two you can see why there are so many.

The book blends fact and fiction to bring to life the story of WWII Germany’s invasion of the Channel Islands, specifically Alderney, as they believed this would help them cross on to the British mainland, and events including the Duke of Windsor, former King Edward VIII who abdicated in 1936, and his wife Wallis Simpson as they move throughout Europe, eventually settling in Portugal and are both hurt, angry, and resentful of the British government and royalty at the way they feel they have been treated.

The story begins in 1940 where we meet ex-soldier Bill O’Hagan as he is tasked, after some persuasion and offered the choice of help his country or be hanged, to go to Alderney to pretend to be one of the residents and farmer from Africa, Sir William Renhou who happens to have sided with the Germans. He is to make an impression on them and get his foot in the door so that he can crack open a safe and remove the contents. He didn’t expect to find the real William’s wife, Daisy, to be at the family home, along with a Jewish child who is pretending to be her niece and their housekeeper.

The British government is also keeping a close eye on Edward and Wallis as they feel they are being swayed by the enemy and may cause a huge risk to the country should they decide to side with the Germans.

Island Reich is truly fascinating and because it entwined facts with fiction I learned copious amounts of information about this period in history and the abdication of King Edward VIII including the issues that presented themselves afterward.

I was completely engrossed in the story and loved the letters, etc that were scattered throughout from various persons, including Winston Churchill and foreign ministers. It took me quite a while to get through the book for two reasons, its huge size and that to fully understand the plot you need to comprehend every aspect that is going on which makes for slower reading.

The book is totally enthralling, it has such depth to the scenes, and this is one historical fiction novel that I won’t forget in a hurry.

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Author Info

Jack Grimwood Island Reich

Jack Grimwood, a.k.a Jon Courtenay Grimwood was born in Malta and christened in the upturned bell of a ship. He grew up in the Far East, Britain and Scandinavia. Apart from novels he writes for national newspapers including the Times, Telegraph, Independent and Guardian.

Jon is two-time winner of the BSFA Award for Best Novel, with Felaheen, and End of the World Blues. His literary novel, The Last Banquet, as Jonathan Grimwood, was shortlisted for Le Prix Montesquieu 2015. His work is published in fifteen languages. He is married to the journalist and novelist Sam Baker.

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4 Responses

  1. DJ Sakata says:

    This sounds divine – I don’t mind reading war stories when they are like this.

  2. Jo Linsdell says:

    I like historical fiction especially connected to the world wars so this one appeals to me. Sounds like it was a really good read.

  3. Thank you DJ. Good to hear you love the sound of the book.

  4. Thank you Jo. Glad to hear that you like the book and that it appeals to you.