W.E.B. Griffin and his son, William E. Butterworth IV, have
collaborated on a fast-paced novel about the heroes of World War
II, a return to the popular Men at War series. "Wild Bill"
Donovan is the head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and
has the job of networking his agents to the best of their
abilities. The action moves around the world, in chronological
order of events, from Sicily, London, New Jersey, Texas, Oklahoma,
New York and Algiers. Major Richard M. Canidy is the first agent
Donovan has to reign in from overzealous proceedings in his recent
past. Canidy went solo on a mission to Hungary and now must face
the consequences for his rogue actions.
Timing is important in February 1943. German U-boats have sneaked
into Atlantic waters, wrecking havoc close to American shores.
Highly trained, Hitler's SS units have been successful in landing
agents in the United States to detonate bombs in areas of high
civilian concentration. These enemy saboteurs will make their
presence known and instill fear in the public. Canidy, his boyhood
friend Eric Fulmar, and agent Stan Fine have been called in by
Donovan to locate and eliminate the suspected saboteurs. Canidy's
summons, however, carries the undertone of rebuke for his Hungarian
escapade. Canidy fully expects to be assigned a desk or, worse, to
be fired. But Donovan has a different agenda for his rogue
The authors profile real personalities of the times, alongside
their fictional agents, to bring the reader directly into the
story. The well-documented rivalry between FBI Director J. Edgar
Hoover and the OSS office is on display in THE SABOTEURS. Hoover
soft-pedals the explosions on American soil to contain terror in
the public. Hoover's harassment of citizens with possible
anti-government sympathies is played against the tactics of the
OSS, a direct-action approach. An FBI agent suffers embarrassment
by Fulmar's superior physical ability in one comical scene.
Canidy's assignment is to invade German-occupied Sicily and to
evacuate a scientist, Dr. Rossi, whose life is in danger. The
doctor's colleagues have been infected and murdered with a deadly
Yellow Fever virus. Before Rossi is deposed likewise, his brilliant
mind can be used against the Germans; he has knowledge about
developments in atomic fission.
Canidy finds himself aboard a vessel owned and navigated by
mobsters from New Jersey, fishmongers who conceal illegal activity
by legitimate business on the Atlantic loading docks. These Mafia
personalities are well-developed characters and do elicit sympathy
during the read. The mob's heyday is colorfully drawn, with
historical accuracies about well-known, incarcerated mobster
leaders. Canidy is at their mercy in order to land successfully on
Female characters round out the list of players in the story. Ann
Chambers is the love interest in Canidy's life, a string constantly
pulling him to London, her base of journalistic operation; she's
the missing equation in his quest for happiness. A German actress
beguiles Fulmar and becomes a target in his hunt for the German
saboteurs. One of the same Germans being hunted by the OSS himself
falls for an American, a prostitute abused by her employer.
THE SABOTEURS is a compelling story based on real tales from World
War II and is dedicated to their memories. Any reader who relishes
pages from history will enjoy this return to a successful premier
series. The one regret is that the book is too short. One thirsts
for more and hopes that Griffin and Buttterworth will compile and
release many more.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 23, 2011