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    Review of HOLLOW CROWN by David Roberts


    Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2002

    In 1936, Hitler is marching the Germans toward war, Franco is beating back the Republicans in Spain, and the English upper class is trying to hold onto a terrible secret--the new King, Edward, has fallen in love with a divorced woman, Wallis Simpson and is talking about marrying her. Lord Edward Corinth is called in to help with a vital task. The King's former mistress has stolen letters the King wrote to Wallis--letters that go beyond matters of the heart to discuss his sympathies toward the Nazi cause. If they fall into the wrong hands, not only the King, but the entire English monarchy may fall.

    Edward agrees to help, but before he can persuade his friend to return the letters, she is killed and the letters vanish. Edward is the leadins suspect. Together with his friend, communist and newspaper reporter Verity Browne, Edward tries to get to the bottom of the mystery. But, can he trust even his friend Verity or will she, when she learns the truth, tell the Communist Party the truth about the letters and lead to the very overthrow that Edward has tried to prevent?

    Author David Roberts writes convincingly about the fascinating period between the first and second world wars. The depression has radicalized all of Europe and both fascists and communists march and clash in the streets. With its message of power and elitism, fascism is popular with the upper class, even the King. Verity's struggles with her loyalties to country and party ring true. Edward is charmingly elite, yet cannot avoid the attraction toward the energetic Verity.

    HOLLOW CROWN combines a critical period of history with convincing and detailed characters and a solid mystery to deliver a satisfying and compelling read.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 3/16/03

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