A Great Historical Novel – Number 70 Berlin by William Le Queux

As far as political novel and spy stories are concerned journalists enjoys the privilege of firsthand experience in political matters. They actually can approach anything in the political scene like an insider. This brilliant novel by Number 70 Berlin by William Le QueuxA Great Historical Novel - Number 70 Berlin by William Le Queux, a famous British journalist is a good example of that. As a writer of many capacities William Le Queux has been prolific in producing close to hundreds of stories and novels besides writings of non-fiction genre. Some of his novels went beyond the test of time and became regarded as modern masterpieces among spy thrillers and novels with a political theme at the backdrop. Number 70 Berlin is through and through a gripping social commentary just following the aftermath of First World War. The writer’s continuous obsession with war and social perspective of military thinking continued in this novel as well, only it became more social and individual in expression.

History and social drama well breached

As a political journalist William Le Queux always liked to portray social circumstances and influence of major political events and their life changing potential. The present novel is no different in that respect. But with more witty conversation and details of individual expression the novel added more charms than a so called run of the mill political novel or spy thriller. In that respect, the reader will find the novel far from boring and predictable. It offers sufficient material to take the reader to the last page revealing the social undercurrent of that era in all details. For an interesting reading material that exposes historical backdrop with social psyche, this novel is a good read. In the true sense, the historical perspective and underlying social drama has been well breached, not exactly with the suppleness, grandeur and fervor we expect from greatest war masterpieces of our time, but with a reading pleasure characteristic of William Le Queux’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Le_Queux) prose and style.

Not hitting the bull in the eye

One of the major characteristic of earlier spy genre novels is that they often dwindled too long on creating the mood, setting the plot and giving the clues through a conversational fabric and suddenly something out of all these will emerge to make a sharp turn of the storyline towards a bigger event of massive importance. The other characteristic is about developing the storyline in slow progression revealing the unexpected gradually while all the way maintaining the tension underlying the storyline. The present novel belongs to the latter category as far as development of storyline is concerned. Tiptoeing around the subject is a common trait of spy novels as eventual and sudden exposure of certain facts will create a charm of revelation readers expect from them. But obviously, there are certain novels that ventures to take a psychological path rather than depending too much on the storytelling. Proverbially speaking, they hit the bulls in the eye in the beginning only and then continues to explore the underlying narrative in the rest of the novel. Certainly, in that respect Number 70 Berlin falls short of any extraordinary way of drawing reader’s attention.

Patriotic spirit is in full display

This short but well written novel is an extraordinary piece of patriotic writing in the true sense of the term. As we can easily assume the time between two major world wars had also produced numerous intellectual battlegrounds staging patriotic exploration of all political events and their underlying social influence. In the present novel, this patriotic way of dealing with opposing political forces and influences has been shown in full fervor. At the center of this enrapturing drama against a patriotic rebuking of all German attributes from the British way of living and social life, was the Lady Betty Kenworthy and her Anti-Teuton Alliance which was formed by some patriotic enthusiasts. This association of British patriots who made it their duty to take action against the German in every possible way could exert considerable influence on the social psyche and political hierarchy of that era. Their advocacy of freeing the country of any harmful and disgusting German influence including self-imposed ban on German goods, use of German language and anything displaying or adoring German spirit had a grave social significance and only indicates to the general sentiment of masses corresponding to the international upheaval against the German Reich and its increasingly fascist leanings. Though the writer had not been able to make a valid criticism of the political motifs f the German and the opposing forces in the context of European and world politics, deciphering the patriotic fervor and the expressions they took in certain sections of people he made a responsible job as a historical novelist.

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