Review

We Shall Not Sleep

by Anne Perry

With
war finally coming to an end, leaving millions dead and the
landscape of Europe forever changed, Anne Perry concludes her World
War I spy/mystery saga. This five-book series paints the themes of
honor, loyalty, betrayal, heroism, good and evil on the large
canvas of world war, but it also develops storylines of daily life
on the battlefields and at home. 

It is now November 1918, years into a war that was only supposed to
last months. And the war is coming to end. Members of the Reavley
family --- Joseph, the army chaplain; his brother Matthew, the
Secret Intelligence Service officer; and their sister Judith, the
ambulance driver --- are together under dire circumstances as they
strive to unmask the Peacemaker. They now have the means to find
out exactly who he is and bring him to light. The Peacemaker has
already cost them their parents, friends and others of importance
to England.

A messenger dressed as a Swiss priest comes to see Matthew with
news. They now have an ally against the Peacemaker in Germany. This
man, Manfred von Schenckendorff, is willing to come across enemy
lines to London and expose the Peacemaker to tell the Prime
Minister. His own country will be betrayed by this decision, but he
hopes his defection will help with the peace process. When Matthew
is asked where Manfred should come through on the Western Front,
Matthew sends him to Yrpes where Joseph is stationed. When Matthew
tells Joseph what he knows, Joseph can hardly believe it and
questions if it's true.

The Peacemaker has big plans for England, Germany and Europe. He
has argued that the greater end justifies the smaller ugliness of
his means. And he reminds the war reporter Mason of just that point
when he visits. Mason takes this philosophy to mean that the
Peacemaker had used means that he despised, which allows Mason to
continue to sympathize with him.

Mason has been a supporter of the Peacemaker's plans because of the
horrors they both experienced in the Boer War. Mason returns to the
Western Front to report on the end of the war and renews his
acquaintance with Judith Reavley. He has come to realize that the
Peacemaker is an armchair warrior using other people's blood for
his own purposes. In this case, the Peacemaker's plan is one of
domination of the Western World by governments who believe as the
Peacemaker does.

Meanwhile, Manfred arrives in Ypres with a bayonet injury to his
foot. As Joseph and Matthew wait to take him to England, a nurse is
murdered. She was a flirt and not well liked; anyone could have
killed her. Was it a German prisoner? Or one of their own
soldiers?

A civil policeman investigates, and the commanding officer requests
Joseph's help.  However, when Matthew is arrested for her
murder, Joseph and Judith work together to find the real killer. In
their race against time to get Manfred to London, they find
evidence that frees Matthew --- only to have Manfred arrested. As
they dig deeper, the private lives of the nurses and troops lead
them to uncover the murderer.

With the murder solved, the three Reavleys, along with Manfred and
now Mason, borrow an ambulance in order to catch a boat for London.
Perils await them as they make the trip, but they arrive to see the
Prime Minister. They have the necessary evidence, testimony and
knowledge to identify and make their case against the
Peacemaker.

Anne Perry has honored this time in history with her series. The
struggles portrayed by the characters --- both those of impeccable
character and those who are flawed --- are memorable. The overall
series mystery of the Peacemaker's identity keeps readers on the
edge of their chairs all the way to the end. The underlying
tensions of a world at war bring to the audience an awareness of
the costs of war, government decisions during chaotic times and the
toll on humankind. WE SHALL NOT SLEEP (along with the entire
series) will stay on this reviewer's shelf and is definitely worth
a yearly read.

Reviewed by Jennifer McCord on January 24, 2011

We Shall Not Sleep
by Anne Perry

  • Publication Date: April 10, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345456602
  • ISBN-13: 9780345456601