1919 – The truth has never been in such short supply
Ex-flying ace James ‘Max’ Maxted’s attempt to uncover the secret behind the death of his father, Sir Henry Maxted, has seemingly ended in failure – and his own death.
Unaware of Max’s fate, the team continue to pursue their only lead, travelling to Japan in search of a mysterious prisoner held by Sir Henry’s old enemy, Count Tomura. Once there, they encounter former German spymaster, Fritz Lemmer, now rebuilding his spy network in the service of a new, more sinister cause.
The quest Max embarked on in Paris will reach its dizzying end at Tomura's castle in the mountains of Honshu - and the full truth of what occurred thirty years before will finally be laid bare…
Set shortly after the action of 2016's The Corners of the Globe, Edgar-winner Goddard's solid third James Maxted thriller finds the former English WWI flying ace in Japan pursuing the enemies responsible for the death of his diplomat father: German spymaster Fritz Lemmer and Japanese diplomat Tomura Iwazu. A plan to expose Lemmer's spy organization takes an unexpected deadly turn, and by the end, his companions scattered and his preparations destroyed, Max must face his greatest enemy alone. Characterization and dialogue are top-notch, but the Japanese setting stays largely unremarked, save for numerous references to the oppressive heat, and lacking in period details. Max and Lemmer make great foils, though Tomura is barely a presence even on his home turf. The tentative climax prepares the way for the next installment. Readers will look forward to seeing these characters spar again.
The Ends of the Earth
Readers who are familiar with Mr Goddard’s work will not be surprised by the many mind-boggling interalionships among a host of charachters. Their lack of surprise will extend into the pace and compulsion to read on as this last of the trilogy takes its thrilled audience towards the finale that does not really happen. We are left wondering what will become of Max (James) Maxted will get up to next as we will surely discover because Goddard has created a chrachter in a story that has left far too many loose ends. And, despte some of the implauabilities (eg what did all these people do for/with luggage?) and repeated coincidences of vey dubious credibility, we are all going to buy and read on when the 2nd trilogy merges. I was very disappointed by the ending, I found it a compelling read.