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Historical Thriller – The Book Spy

The Book Spy by Alan Hlad

Melissa B. (dragoneyes)


This is a fictional account about a true event where librarians from America were sent to neutral cities to gather information from the written word via microfilm. It is quite an interesting subject and one that I have not heard of until now. The author seemed to do a good amount of research to compile this book and give us a glimpse into this part of history.

Our main character, Maria, a librarian, is determined to help the Allies in the war effort. She finally gets her chance when she and 2 other librarians are sent to Portugal to microfilm any information that can help. There she meets a bookseller named Tiago. With his help she is able to get the publications needed. He is also doing his part by helping refugees with forged papers. When Maria is asked to become a spy, she can’t say no. From there, things get chaotic and everyone’s life is changed.

Although I enjoyed the story the characters were my biggest complaint. I liked them. Who wouldn’t like them? They were perfect in every way possible. Except if you were a bad guy, then you were really, really bad. You were either flawless or flawed. There was no in-between. I couldn’t help laugh at how ridiculous it all seemed.  Especially with Maria. She was perfect in every way… strong, pretty, polite, smart, etc. She had no flaws. Characters stand out more when you can relate to them. No one is perfect. So, where the characters were likeable, they were not believable. The story itself is able to curb this fault and make it a satisfying story.

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