Secret Honor Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 2000
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Don't be deceived by the blockbuster size of W.E.B. Griffin's third installment in the Honor Bound series. Secret Honor is an intricate book that reveals a remarkable attentiveness to historical detail and characterization. It is also a top-notch thriller set in Griffin's quasi-fictional version of WWII.
The plot is woven with so many threads, all of them worthwhile, that it actually feels more like a chronicle than a novel, but the central story takes up the continuing adventures of OSS agent Cletus Frade. Frade, a U.S. Marine whose father was almost the president of Argentina, was raised in Texas and now uses his father's special status in Argentine society to penetrate Nazi plans for South America. This time, however, Frade is not so much fighting the Nazis as supporting them. While one group, Himmler among them, is secretly stashing funds in Argentina to prepare for an escape when the Reich finally crumbles, a second group, including a German general and his son, are actually plotting to assassinate Hitler. Meanwhile, the OSS is on the verge of ex-communicating Frade, given his unwillingness to reveal the identity of the son, code-named "Galahad."
The details are what make this book: Cletus Frade is imprinted on the mind, clad in grease-stained khaki trousers, spouting Spanish-Texan four-letter epithets, and sporting cowboy boots as he repairs his father's ravaged old Horch touring sedan at Estancia San Pedro y San Pablo. Particularly engaging is Griffin's account of Argentine upper-strata social "politics," as Father Welner steers Cletus into his inevitable marriage. Reading Secret Honor, one enters many vividly drawn places--from Nazi secret meetings to Argentine estates--that bring this pivotal era to life. Finishing the book leaves one feeling a rare combination of sadness in leaving close colleagues behind and exhilaration at having witnessed history being made. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
This third entry in the military/espionage Honor Bound series, focusing on the Argentine-German connection during WWII, will intrigue newcomers and have Griffin's long-time fans queuing up for the next installment. In 1943, the Nazi-ordered assassination of Jorge Frade, the anti-Axis president of Argentina, has left the country in a tense mood, which is exacerbated by the murder of two Nazi officers during a night beach landing, part of the top-secret Nazi Operation Phoenix. The aborted mission was crucial to a plan to free the Argentine-interned crew of the Nazi ship Graf Spee, but it turns out that the slain officers had also extorted ransom money from Jews in concentration camps and arranged for their passage to Argentina--without the Reich's knowledge. Cletus Frade, the 24-year-old American-reared son of the slain president, has returned to Argentina as heir to his father's vast estates and financial holdings. But Cletus is also an OSS (CIA precursor) agent, and a chance meeting with Major Hans-Peter von Wachstein, a Nazi pilot attached to the German embassy, results in their friendship. Peter feeds secrets to Cletus in exchange for help in moving Peter's family's funds to Argentina, where they hope to live after the war that he and his father (a close aide to the Fuhrer) believe is wrong and already lost. When Himmler launches an investigation to find the embassy spy who scuttled Operation Phoenix, Cletus struggles to protect Peter's identity and deal with the rising power of pro-Axis Juan Peron. Griffin adroitly shifts among German, American and Argentinian cultural milieux and fills the plot with believable romance, intrigue and diplomatic fencing, while capturing the horrors of war and the crucial role of intelligence agents. He nicely explains the Reich's need for Argentina as safe harbor to replenish its U-boats and to stash funds for postwar Nazi emigration. What will happen to the SS, Cletus and the surviving cast promises an equally exciting sequel. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Cletus Frade, is a magnificent hero who has intensity, likeability, and charm. The secondary characters are richly developed and are as interesting in many cases as the hero. In fact the character of "Hans Peter (Galahad)" is even more interesting than the main hero, I wish Mr. Griffin would write a series with him as the main character.
This is a transition book in this series, and as such does not have the excitement or drive that it might other wise have, this does not make this a bad book, it's not, in fact it's very good, but just not as good as the first two, and hopefully the next in this series.
OVERALL SCORE: (A-)
PLOT: (A-), CHARATERS: (A+), DIALOGUE: (A-), SETTING: (A), ACTION/COMBAT: (C), ANTAGONISTS: (A-), ROMANCE: (A-), SEX: (Light), AGE LEVEL: (PG)
As a piece of historical fiction, the novel brought interesting insights into the involvement of Argentina with Germany during WWII; however, the detail of many evil German officers, their blind devotion to The Fuhrer, and the litany of what officer reported to whom, and their rank and titles, etc. was boring beyond belief. I kept waiting for something big to happen, and it never did.
I have been a fan of Griffin for many years, especially his Brotherhood and Corps series, and expected a much high caliber of character development and fluid plot progression than was evident in Secret Honor. I slogged through the book only because I kept recalling how engaging some of Griffin's earlier books had been, and thought that this one would "kick in" at any time. I won't give up on this author yet, but this was not the Griffin I had learned to savor.
After reading this book I find myself thinking about the characters, and wondering when the fourth in this series will be forthcoming.
This is a great book, and a great historical novel. Read this book and read this series! You will thoroughly enjoy it!
I also agree with another reader who commented that he was tired of the fact that all of W.E.B. Griffin's books are centered around a wealthy individual who elects to serve in the military to do his country a big favor. These "heroes", who are totally independent throughout his books, continually refuse to follow orders from his superiors, and do as they please, free from any discipline which might follow. As a 22+ year military retiree, I can assure you that it just doesn't work that way.
While I won't necessarily say that I won't read any more of W.E.B. Griffin's books, I will say that it is highly doubtful that I will waste any more money on one. There are too many other authors out there that will give you more than your money's worth.
Most recent customer reviews
Griffin proved himself to be a champion of military suspense with "Honor Bound" and "Blood and Honor. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2004 by Gail Cooke
I hardly read before reading this book. I read Secret Honor when it first came out, and loved it. The plot is fast paced and constantly keeps the reader guessing until the end. Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2003
A very disappointing book. I did not find anything about a plot to kill Hitler and there was less intrigue and less suspense than what is found in the Boy Scout's Handbook. Read morePublished on April 9 2001 by Donald G. Schimpff
I've enjoyed all three books in this series, but this one wasn't as good as the first two. There was lots of detail but in the end I thought "ok, so what happened? Read morePublished on April 1 2001
Although I am an avid reader of W.E.B. Griffin military books,this whole series is turning out to be a real disappointment to me. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2001 by Rodger Raubach
Not one of Griffin's best efforts. Little action and excessive attention to the boring details of aristocratic life on both sides of the conflict.Published on Feb. 3 2001 by Joe Cercone
While I would agree that this is one of Griffin's weaker entries, it is still substantially better than the best of most other authors. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2001 by Dennis R. Cohen
This is by far the weakest of Griffin's novels, and I have read them all. It is "the Rich and Famous in Argentina", filled with unnecessary, lengthy descriptions,... Read morePublished on Dec 28 2000 by Steven C. Holland