For decades after World War II, the notorious Nazi leader Martin Bormann was reportedly sighted again and again in several South American countries. He was regarded as the highest-ranking Nazi to have gotten away. The CIA and the West German government failed to find him, despite trying for decades. Even Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal believed Bormann was hiding out somewhere in South America.
Though Bormann’s remains were discovered in Berlin in 1972, it was only in 1998 when the bones were conclusively identified as his by genetic testing. Meanwhile, the mystery surrounding his disappearance gave rise to a virtual cottage industry of thrillers based on the premise that Bormann had lived. Jack Higgins’ brilliantly-plotted thriller Thunder Point, is undoubtedly one of the best novels to emerge from that mistaken notion. And it’s certainly one of Jack Higgins’ best thrillers.
Thunder Point (Sean Dillon #2) by Jack Higgins (1993) 368 pages
@@@@@ (5 out of 5)
From Hitler’s bunker to the Caribbean islands
Thunder Point opens in Adolf Hitler’s bunker under the Reich Chancellery on April 30, 1945. The Führer has just hours to live before his suicide. There’s time only for him to pass along instructions to his Secretary, Martin Bormann, to set in motion the plans to keep the Third Reich alive indefinitely.
The action then abruptly shifts to the early 1990s. A mercenary and former Irish Republican Army soldier named Sean Dillon has taken on an assignment that will place him at the mercy of the British intelligence services. Dillon sees himself as “the last of the world’s great adventurers.” His enemies see him as a soldier of the IRA in his day, master assassin, “better than Carlos the Jackal” and “the man of a thousand faces” who had trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Thus, when a top-secret agency that reports directly to the Prime Minister forces him to accept a dangerous job in the Caribbean, he’s happy to accept it. We’ll soon learn that Dillon’s assignment is closely connected to the mission Bormann set out on that fateful last day of April 1945.
About the author
As I write, the author known as Jack Higgins is 89 years old. (He is British, and his real name is Henry Patterson.) The first of his novels was published in 1959. According to Wikipedia, “His 85 novels in total have sold over 150 million copies and have been translated into 55 languages.” Thunder Point was the second of the 22 novels in Higgins’ Sean Dillon series, published from 1992 to 2016.
In other words, Jack Higgins had been writing for more than three decades when Thunder Point was published. The man knew how to seize readers attention and keep them glued to the page until the very end. This novel is undoubtedly one of Jack Higgins’ best thrillers.
For additional reading
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- The 10 top espionage novels reviewed on this site;
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- Top 10 mystery and thriller series.
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