Review: His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal

hmh1 “For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, whip-smart heroine Maggie Hope returns to embark on a clandestine mission behind enemy lines where no one can be trusted, and even the smallest indiscretion can be deadly.World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive—a black ops organization designed to aid the British effort abroad—and her first assignment sends her straight into Nazi-controlled Berlin, the very heart of the German war machine. Relying on her quick wit and keen instincts, Maggie infiltrates the highest level of Berlin society, gathering information to pass on to London headquarters. But the secrets she unveils will expose a darker, more dangerous side of the war—and of her own past.”Goodreads

His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal is the third installment in the Maggie Hope mystery series. I adored the first two books in this series and was delighted when I received an ARC of His Majesty’s Hope. I was not disappointed as I read of Maggie’s latest escapades in Eastern Europe. After completing her training with the SOE (think of them as Winston Churchill’s top-secret uber-spies), Maggie is dropped by plane into Berlin, where she has two missions to complete – which she pulls off with flying colors. An over-eager Maggie decides to stay on in Berlin despite orders to leave, seeking a position within the Nazi machine which will allow her to gather information for her country. Obviously, much chaos ensues. While navigating through this crowd of historically-famous Nazis, Maggie is reunited with her mother, Commandant Clara Hess, for the first time since infancy (and is reunited with another whom she had thought lost to her forever) and struggles to survive amid this world of hatred and danger.

I found this particular book to be somewhat… darker, I guess you could say, than the previous two books in the Hope series. As always, Macneal has meticulously researched her subject matter and her characters fit seamlessly into the history she portrays. The history shared here, however, is just much more sinister and in-your-face than in her past books. In His Majesty’s Hope we are confronted with the reality of Hitler and his eugenics programs for physically and mentally disabled children and the maltreatment of the Jewish people within Berlin. The effect that this mission has on Maggie is strong, and the changes this later brings about in her were surprising but ultimately fit with the darker theme of the book. I am anxious to see how her character will have worked through these issues in MacNeal’s fourth book in this series, due out in 2014. Argh, do I really have to wait so long?!

His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal is expected to be released for publication on May 14, 2013. I strongly suggest you be ready and waiting!

4 out of 5 stars

Who I would recommend this book to: My old friend Justy, who always enjoyed a good mystery and who, like Maggie Hope, is a tall, beautiful woman who can kick butt.

Source: ARC from Bantam Books/Random House (via FirstReads giveaway)

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