Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Intriguing Step Back into History with The Banker Spy

Hello again, dear readers!  Have I got a good read to present to you today - you betcha.  If you love World War II history like I do, you will be able to follow the events in The Banker Spy as if it were all happening once again.  Eerie!  So now I give you William G. Byrnes' The Banker Spy.

Book Summary:
The Banker Spy weaves history into a contemporary thriller about ex-lovers who become entangled in a web of international intrigue. Investment banker Peter Armstrong believes he’s left his past in the States. He has an exciting new job in London and is managing the largest equity offering in European history. Behind him are an incident at his old employer and a broken engagement. He thinks his only problem is his client—an automobile company desperate for cash. Then he receives a phone call from his ex-fiancée, Dayna Caymus, a beautiful and unpredictable CIA agent. When Peter discovers that his client is secretly working for the German government the two ex-lovers enter into an uneasy alliance which their past sometimes helps and sometimes hurts, all the while sorting through their feelings for each other. Dayna puts her mission first, leading Peter into a labyrinth of deception and conspiracy. Peter loses his client, his job, and almost his life as they race to learn Germany’s secrets—secrets that could start a nuclear war.

My Review:
As a lover of history, cars, and speed, the opening autobahn chase scene immediately catapulted me into this story, from the crash of a high-speed Porsche to the introduction of the high-stakes intrigue.

Meet our "banker spy", American Peter Armstrong - a man with a challenging past both in his career and his personal life.  Peter is fired after a large deal he pushed through for a friend turns south.  The sting of rejection reminds him anew of his failed engagement, ended by a calloused phone call.  Then a European bank handpicks Peter to oversee the largest international equity transaction offered by a European company, the prestigious Storch Motors.  Storch's CEO has a reputation as a tyrant, but he also has ties to the current German chancellor, which brings with it certain perks.  The Storch CEO bristles at all of the unnecessary inquiry as Peter questions the overall purpose for the massive cash influx into the company - and also the reasons for the chancellor's involvement.

Chancellor Denker secretly idolizes Hitler, but this information could defeat his reelection bid if the general public were made aware.  From the initial meeting with Peter in Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" to revitalizing and utilizing old underground research and construction facilities for missile development, Denker lives to realize the reunified Germany's return to the glory of the Third Reich.  He just never anticipated the tenacity of Storch's new banker, who questions every anomaly hidden in the company's financials.

When ex-fiance, Dayne Caymus, comes waltzing back into Peter's life, he's immediately suspicious of her desires and what she's doing in Germany, especially considering she's an agent for the CIA.  As this femme fatale enters the scene, Peter's life gets turned upside down - again.  But this time his life and the lives of tens of thousands are at stake.

I enjoyed most every aspect of this well-written, nicely plotted and paced story.  The characters were well fleshed-out and neither flat nor one-dimensional, with difficulties shaping their pasts, potential life-altering decisions in their presents, and hopes for the future.  The twists and turns kept coming, and once the action ratcheted up it didn't slow down.  Being a World War II history buff, I loved "visiting" the old tunnels and elaborate underground Luftwaffe facilities, hangars, and camouflaged airstrips.  It's truly amazing what human ingenuity accomplished to advance technology on both sides of the pond during that troubling time in our history.

The comparisons and similarities between Adolf Hitler and the fictional Chancellor Denker's antics, such as with the Sudetenland/Eastern Border Territory, were well managed and would be fairly simple to define by most readers with any knowledge of the era.  However, I felt the usage of Hitler's questionable ancestry and possible Jewish roots by the Denker character to be a bit over the top.  There was also one scene where Peter was mysteriously released from detention, which would never have occurred under the Nazis.  That felt a bit unrealistic.  However, the next time he was detained, the situation ended up being pretty intriguing in how it played out.  Ultimately it made up for the previous dismissal.

I believe anyone who loves a good international thriller will find the action and intrigue in The Banker Spy enough to keep them reading until the morning's wee hours.  It did me!

And now I'm once again dreaming of the day I can open her up full-throttle and roar all-out along the autobahn.

William G. Byrnes's Bio:
Bill Byrnes was an investment banker with Alex. Brown & Sons for 17 years. After that he was a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Finance and, subsequently, member of the Board of Regents at Georgetown University. He's founded three companies and has served on the boards of six public companies. He holds degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Michigan. His interests include European and Mesoamerican history, wine collecting, and automobiles. He's happiest around the water and on the tennis court. Bill, his wife, and their two poodles divide their time between Washington, DC and West Palm Beach, FL.

You can follow the Tribute Books blog tour here
Format/Price: $2.99 ebook
Publisher: Publish Green
ISBN: 9781938296345
Release: August 27, 2012

Kindle buy link ($2.99):


  1. D A, I think it's time to rev up those engines and hit the autobahn. What do ya say? :)

    Thanks for the detailed and insightful review. I always enjoy your analysis of a good book.

  2. Feel the burn!

    This was a real pleasure to read - thanks for including me in the tour.