About The Second Midnight
• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (January 28, 2020)
From the international bestselling author comes a World War Two tale of one boy’s fight for survival in Nazi Europe
A secret mission…
1939. As Europe teeters on the brink of war, Alfred Kendall is tasked with carrying out a minor mission for the British Intelligence Service. Travelling to Prague, he takes his troubled young son, Hugh, as cover.
A terrible choice…
When Hitler invades Czechoslovakia, Alfred is given an ultimatum by the Czech Resistance. They will arrange for him to return to England, but only if he leaves his son Hugh behind as collateral.
A young boy stranded in Nazi terrain…
Hugh is soon taken under the wing of a Nazi colonel – Helmuth Scholl. But even though Scholl treats Hugh well, his son, Heinz, is suspicious of this foreigner. And as the war across the continent intensifies, they are set on a path that will ultimately lead towards destruction…
I really enjoyed this World War II / Historical Fiction read that deals with a father son relationship, espionage, allegiances, and relationships. This book was originally published in 1987 and reissued on Jan 28, 2020, and is a part of a trilogy, but is essentially a standalone.
In ‘The Second Midnight’, it tells the story of a young boy, Hugh Kendall who is in a fractured relationship with his father, Captain Kendall, who works with the British Intelligence. The book is set in the midst of the second World War, 1939 Europe. From London, the Kendall’s travel to Prague on an assignment. However, Hugh was left behind with the Resistance as Hitler invades the city. Learning to fend for himself, Hugh learns to survive on his own and even learns to speak the language, both Czech and German. Hugh saves the life of Nazi Colonel, Scholl who in gratitude takes him in and treats him as part of the family, and live alongside the Scholl children, Magda and Heinz. Though Hugh eventually returns to England, his past will continue to follow and haunt him.
Through Taylor’s writing, we see the events of the war through a boy’s eyes. Hugh’s need to survive taught him how to adapt and blend in. I loved the story line and the complex characters in this multi layered story lines surrounding the war and the Kendall family. I enjoyed the writing and the espionage element of the story. It was an enjoyable read. Taylor is a new author to me and I found his writing to be intelligent and complex. I highly recommend this book for those that enjoy a HF read focusing on the Nazi and WWII time period.
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About Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor is the author of a number of crime novels, including the ground-breaking Roth Trilogy, which was adapted into the acclaimed TV drama Fallen Angel, and the historical crime novels The Ashes of London, The Silent Boy, The Scent of Death and The American Boy, a No.1 Sunday Times bestseller and a 2005 Richard & Judy Book Club Choice.
He has won many awards, including the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, an Edgar Scroll from the Mystery Writers of America, the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award (the only author to win it three times) and the CWA’s prestigious Diamond Dagger, awarded for sustained excellence in crime writing. He also writes for the Spectator and The Times.
He lives with his wife Caroline in the Forest of Dean.