Skip to main content

The Enemy of My Enemy: A Clandestine Operations Novel


The Enemy of My Enemy: A Clandestine Operations Novel

THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY is book five in the Clandestine Operations series, which W. E. B. Griffin writes with his son, William E. Butterworth IV. Their latest thriller begins in the early stages of the Allied-Russian occupation following the armistice to end World War II. Justice Robert H. Jackson is appointed by President Harry S. Truman to oversee and conduct courtroom trials of former German SS officers. A cadre of Russian and American military officers is ordered to track down any SS men who are still on the loose for prosecution in Nuremburg.

Truman meets with Jackson and Captain Souers, USNR, to discuss the escape of two alleged SS war criminals from American hands in Germany. Odessa, a suspected Nazi organization, is believed to have given these men access to escape the Tribunal Prison. Captain James Cronley, the young officer who captured them (and whose nickname is “Super Spook”), is working undercover with OSS agent Cletus Frade in Argentina. Truman orders Cronley back to Germany with specific instructions to recapture the escapees. Cronley’s original capture ran into complications with the Austrian authorities, who tried to secure them for trial in Austria, outside of the Nuremburg trials. Now, Cronley will work with Russian General Ivan Serov, a former NKGB agent, who is involved in their occupied German sector.

"Griffin and Butterworth write a lesson in history, flavored by colorful personalities.... THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY exhibits a hard fact of wartime --- that trust is a cherished but evasive objective."

Cronley’s past assignments for OSS --- a presidential appointment dealing with SS personnel during the war --- expand to eliminate Odessa’s operations. Odessa has successfully smuggled former Nazi officers with families to countries that will shelter them from extradition, such as Switzerland and Argentina. Many riches stolen by the Nazis have disappeared from Germany, France and Austria --- their conquered lands --- prior to the war’s end.

Griffin and Butterworth write a lesson in history, flavored by colorful personalities. Cronley is considered a maverick, unbound by rules, acting with both enthusiasm and diligence. Even he knows when he has gone too far. His duty dictates that he acts as chief security officer to Justice Jackson, but he is given leeway to bring the SS men back for trial. When he meets the entourage that has flown back to Germany from Argentina, another surprise greets the young captain.

Ginger Moriarty, the widow of Cronley’s fallen comrade, joins his group, along with her baby, Bruce. Father Jack McGrath, a Jesuit priest, is along for the ride as well. His expertise in studies of maverick religions may help the Vatican leaders fully understand that Odessa has duped its hierarchy into holding certain Odessa monies. Before his suicide, Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler had hidden secrets that reveal the establishment of a religion for SS members alone. Gold, securities and other valuables may rest in the fortress of a castle in Bavaria.

Bolstered by those he trusts, Cronley sets out to solve the riddles of escaped prisoners, hidden treasure, the unraveling and elimination of Odessa, and the destruction of a rogue religious order. Meanwhile, he falls in love with Ginger, much to the distress of his military superiors. Undeterred, he announces his engagement to her. In the days ahead, Ginger will be with his group, willingly giving her opinions and advice. She and her son will share a place in the safe house provided by Cronley’s team, and work with Colonel Mortimer Cohen, who is in charge of operations.

The reader can identify with the “hows and whys” of events as they may have happened during the postwar years. Distrust of the Russians is culled from their history as conquerors. Politics of the nearby nations of Austria and France enter the fray when decisions about criminal prosecutions are made. Griffin and Butterworth depict the various positions from both political and humanitarian standpoints. THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY exhibits a hard fact of wartime --- that trust is a cherished but evasive objective. Captain Cronley matures within himself and his assignment, working through personal and public traumas. Fans can only anticipate the next Griffin/Butterworth collaboration.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 18, 2019

The Enemy of My Enemy: A Clandestine Operations Novel
by W. E. B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV