The Red Eagles was David Downing’s first “real” novel and showed the talent and interest in spies and World War II that later became the popular Station series. While the characters in the series, which took place over more than two decades, were fully developed, those in the earlier effort were more wooden, more like symbols of what they were representing. Nevertheless, here it is, reprinted after having made its first appearance almost three decades ago. And now the author has turned his attention to World War I.
Needless to say, despite the initial criticism, the novel is extremely interesting, based on an imponderable supposition: Stalin demanding development of an atomic bomb, despite the Soviets’ inability to develop one for a decade or more, to place it on a par with the United States in a post-war era; and development of a deceitful plot to steal purified U-235 from the United States to make the weapon while implicating the Nazis as the culprits. Of course, this action takes place in 1944, long before the Rosenbergs betrayed the United States by turning over atomic secrets to the Reds.
The plot is well-developed, and the activities of the German and Soviet agents are described in great detail. The tale is inventive and the story is worthy of a writer who has the talent to, and did, develop into a first-rate novelist. On its own, it should be read, especially to see the beginnings of what was to become a more polished effort, and is therefore recommended....Continua