Raptor by Stephen Phillips
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Raptor is a WW1 historical novel and opens in 1915 with the second battle of Ypres. Edgar Smythe is is an engineer, yet he finds himself deep within the fighting, ending up gassed and wounded.
Returning to England to recuperate, Edgar and his family lodge in Folkestone. He needs the help of his sister until his eyesight returns. As a pair they are approached by Colonel Cockerill and asked to join a secret investigation team who are searching for intelligence leaks at the frontline.
Edgar and Agatha undergo espionage training and are then sent to France posing as American journalists. Their forged American passports allow them to cross the enemy line and head to Brussels for clues, but they are picked up by the Germans. Held captive, Edgar is tortured until a daring rescue plan is mounted.
A cat and mouse adventure back and forth across Europe follows as the pair try to return to England, first with a hostage and then alone, but the elusive “Raptor” still evades exposure. They return to their French base and prepare to flush out their quarry with the help of friends.
I like reading war adventures, but for me they need to be full of tension and the horrors of battle. I need the writing to make me believe that the situations were raw and filled with fear and anxiety, but I felt this lacked both emotion and suspense. I believe the storyline, in this book, would benefit from slimming and sharpening to capture the harsh realities and desperation that war caused amongst those involved.
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On the first day of the Second Battle of Ypres, a young officer receives life changing injuries. But the war has not finished with him. On repatriation to the Kent coast at Folkestone, he and his sister become involved in the ‘Great Game’ of espionage and counter espionage. Sent to the continent to try and find a traitor within the British ranks, they quickly find themselves on the wrong side of the front line, chased by the head of German intelligence, a distant cousin who has designs on the sister which are inconsistent with his role.
Chased across Europe, they eventually gather sufficient information to be able to identify the traitor, known to the enemy as Raptor. But that is where their troubles begin …