A Sticky Web of Intriguing Espionage
- Book: To Live Another Day
- Location: Maputo (Lourenço Marques)
- Author: J R Rogers
J. R. Rogers’ novels always teach the reader fascinating bits of history, geography, and espionage from the first half of the 20th century while taking the reader across continents and oceans to learn lessons from tragic protagonists set amid nefarious characters. In fact, some of his protagonists ARE the nefarious characters, –predators driving a dismaying narrative and leaving a swath of ironic consequences for their prey across continents and oceans. But in To Live Another Day, Aleece and Rudolf Bamberger are the impalas at the watering hole.
The misadventures of these innocents begin in Paris, Aleece’s home, where she teaches math and her German husband Rudolf works as a chemist in a perfumery. Life is good. They are happy and secure, –that is, until rumors of Hitler’s advance become credible. Rudolf is Jewish, and like others in Hitler’s sights, he and Aleece hurriedly put together an escape to where they are sure to be far beyond Hitler’s reach. Many choose North America, but the Bambergers flee to the Portuguese colonial port town of Lourenço Marques in neutral Mozambique along the east coast of Africa on the Indian Ocean, where all they want is to live another day.
The Bambergers are surely innocent as they begin life anew in Lourenço Marques. But what keeps the reader spellbound into the wee hours of the night is whether, with predators ahead and behind, the Bambergers are also shrewd enough to get all they want. Rogers maintains this suspense all the way to the end by weaving a sticky web of intriguing espionage through competing subplots, misjudgments, and bumbling of a diverse cast of international characters, leaving the reader with good cause to hope that their web will succumb to their own subterfuge. Does it?
The reader is distracted by the suspense. But in the aftermath as pulse returns toward normal, one ponders and realizes that once again Rogers has not only entertained, but educated.