Top critical review
Marred by elementary technical gaffes about radio, by an excessively chopped up timeline that undermines suspense.
3 April 2019
It is inexplicable why a technically ignorant author did not either read up on radio or use an appropriate editor. Not only do the blunders occur throughout this novel, they are intrusive and affect the plot.
It is gauche to lift an incident ("He fixes radio by thinking") straight out of Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman s autobiographical stories and assign it to a child half Feynman s age at the time, as if to make Werner twice as smart.
The radio blunders are also historical. Elementary research would have shown that Grundig did not make radios until after the War. It is anomalous to have a Nazi officer own an American Philco while German Telefunkin and Siemans radios of the period were just as complex, and as emphasised in the book, it was unpatriotic to own a US one. Dirty cardboard cutout Russian rapists have crude and contemptible radios. In fact, Russian army field radios were either supplied by the US or close copies. None were "milled out of steel".
Though Werner s radio location team hunted in areas with the German armies and SS extermination squads that massacred prisoners, Jews, Poles and Russian civilians alike, there is no mention of this.
The historical setting of wartime France, particularly after 1943, is unrealistic because the roles of the Resistance, collaborators and the Vichy government are ignored. As D-day approached it would have been dangerous for lone German officers and soldiers to wander about, especially if they were robbing French civilians. No acts of sabotage are recounted, yet the Hotel of the Bees which housed an 88 never lost power or supplies. By the way, bumblebees do not make honey.