Review: Spies of the Midnight Sun: A True Story of WWII Heroes (World War Two Series Book 3) by Samuel Marquis

It’s not very often that I read nonfiction or just plain history books. A book really needs to stand out for me or be in my specialized interest area, for me to review it. I have a Masters in History so reading history nonfiction is something I did for a long time and while I like it, I still have flashbacks about college papers and thesis critiques.

So that’s what I thought I was getting into with this book….nonfiction. Dry, scholarly, researched history. I mean, it has ‘true story’ written right in the title—and I just assumed that it would be an informative book, but devoid of personal stories—which I was ok with since that’s what I expected going in. However, imagine my surprise when this book read like a thriller with romance! The joy and relief was REAL!

SPIES OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN is the true story of legendary British safecracker and spy Eddie Chapman, the British Double Cross Spy System, and Norwegian female Resistance operatives Dagmar Lahlum and Annemarie Breien. Known as Agent Zigzag, the most remarkable double agent of WWII, the fearless and roguishly handsome Chapman fell in love with and spied alongside the stunning 20-year-old model Dagmar Lahlum in Occupied Norway.

Based upon recently released historical records from British and Norwegian archives, this WWII adventure and romance tale illuminates for the first time the intimate relationship between the two spy-lovers as well as the wartime exploits of Lahlum, Breien, and the Norwegian Resistance to liberate Norway and combat the Gestapo’s bloodhound investigator, Siegfried Fehmer. The contributions of Dagmar Lahlum and Annemarie Breien to the Allied war effort are many and incontrovertible—and yet history has never properly recognized these courageous Resistance women for their achievements. Until now. This book is their story and the story of the colorful Eddie Chapman in their efforts to defeat the Nazis (summary from Goodreads). 

This book was excellent. It was about very unique characters that aren’t known in the larger historic narrative. And yes this book is nonfiction, but it really reads like fiction. I suspect that  the author is meticulous in his research and that he reads all the boring stuff so we don’t have to and then creates this informative and exciting story!

I have never read anything by this author and I also noticed that this was a part of a series. I obviously didn’t read the other books in the series and I was not lost in the least. His research is wonderfully executed and organized. I was very impressed with his ability to take a lot of facts and unknown characters and come up with this story. Is there creative license or fictionalization happening in the story and with the characters? Sure, but the historic information within the story is so extensive, that I hesitate to even think of this as ‘historical fiction’.

Here is a book that I pegged for a slow read, when I actually finished it in a matter of days. It was engrossing, interesting, and well done. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. It was an easy 4.5 star review for me since the research and perspective were interesting–add in the thrilling pace of this book and you have a very readable and different story!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book:  Spies of the Midnight Sun: A True Story of WWII Heroes (World War Two Series Book 3) by Samuel Marquis

  • Kindle Edition, 420 pages
    Published May 29th 2018 by Mount Sopris Publishing
    ASIN B07CV4GFKQ
  • Review copy provided by: publisher/author in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own

Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5

Genre: nonfiction, WWII

Memorable lines/quotes: 

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