The Silent Assassin is a short but good story written by Tom R. Hughes. It is the fifth in his World War II series. It is a simple tale of bad guys, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
When a Western Union messenger delivery boy has his money stolen, he and his partner decide to go into the woods to look for it. This is their first outing together. They pick a small trail through dense forest, and when they reach the trail head the trail turns to mud.
There they find a lone German who can’t move because of the bandages over his eyes and asks him for help to get rid of his “black jacket”. He tells them that there is a spot of interest on the front of his uniform and explains that there are a map and some papers inside it. As they walk toward the spot, he tells them that to get the map, they must cross the stream. They are not sure that he is telling the truth, but their curiosity gets the better of them and they follow the directions he is giving them.
The trail leads to a stream that is made up of a thick moss that serves as a trail but is cold and slippery when the men step onto it. They cross the stream and take their time walking around a bend where they see the spot of interest that the German told them about. Just as they are about to enter it, a flock of birds descend from the air and makes the trail slick.
Then comes the moment of truth as they approach the log cabin where the map is kept. They cautiously look inside the box, hoping to see something useful. Instead, they find an old money counter that shows up to sixty years ago. They realize that they have been had and are extremely disappointed.
The Silet Assassinwas nominated for the Royal Society of Literature Medal and World Fantasy Award. It won the Terry Blair Award and the Los Angeles Review of Books Book Award. It was a New York Times bestseller and became an instant favorite.
In addition to the extensive synopsis below, I will describe the main characters briefly, as well as the setting and story. This story takes place in the early 1940s and features Germany and Russia as antagonists.
Hitler was a brave German who was willing to risk everything to protect his motherland. As a young man, he served in the German Navy, was a known Nazi, and was in the Gestapo. As a young man, he loved to paint and also had dreams of being a writer. On September 1, 1939, he signed a peace treaty with the Soviet Union that ended World War I.
Sam Goudar is a young American painter living in England, married to an English girl named Frances. He often paints animals in nature scenes like water lilies, fairies, and birds.
Joseph Stalin was a self-proclaimed communist who was also a leader of the Soviet Union. He was born in a peasant family and raised in the Communist movement. He has a slight Indian accent and liked to paint with a brush. During World War II, he was caught spying by the Germans and sentenced to death.
The story of the Silent Assassin is an interesting story of both European and American history. It may be entertaining and a bit amusing for those who are more mature, but it is light reading and an enjoyable read for those who enjoy stories of adventure and intrigue. Although it has a lot of historical information and details, the story is not hard-core and does not try to “break” any laws.
It is a good read and even light reading for those who enjoy it, although it might not be for everyone. Overall, it is well written and a fun read.