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The Knife-Edge Path (WW2 Historical Fiction Book 3)

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Driven by destitution in war-torn Berlin, a beguiling woman is cornered into accepting a precarious role in espionage to keep from being thrown out on the street. As Geli Straub becomes the seductive Mlle. Simone Miroux, on orders to discover whether SS officer Kurt Langsdorff is all he seems to be, her plot to betray him falters on conflicted feelings. Drawn past the poin Driven by destitution in war-torn Berlin, a beguiling woman is cornered into accepting a precarious role in espionage to keep from being thrown out on the street. As Geli Straub becomes the seductive Mlle. Simone Miroux, on orders to discover whether SS officer Kurt Langsdorff is all he seems to be, her plot to betray him falters on conflicted feelings. Drawn past the point of no return into his life, she cannot sell him out. How, then, is she to save him without shedding the identity of the woman who deceived him, and on whom her life depends?


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Driven by destitution in war-torn Berlin, a beguiling woman is cornered into accepting a precarious role in espionage to keep from being thrown out on the street. As Geli Straub becomes the seductive Mlle. Simone Miroux, on orders to discover whether SS officer Kurt Langsdorff is all he seems to be, her plot to betray him falters on conflicted feelings. Drawn past the poin Driven by destitution in war-torn Berlin, a beguiling woman is cornered into accepting a precarious role in espionage to keep from being thrown out on the street. As Geli Straub becomes the seductive Mlle. Simone Miroux, on orders to discover whether SS officer Kurt Langsdorff is all he seems to be, her plot to betray him falters on conflicted feelings. Drawn past the point of no return into his life, she cannot sell him out. How, then, is she to save him without shedding the identity of the woman who deceived him, and on whom her life depends?

30 review for The Knife-Edge Path (WW2 Historical Fiction Book 3)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    Patrick T. Leahy presents an interesting look at what a person might do when confronted with life-changing issues during the last days of WWII. Geli Straub is the wife of a German officer. Because of circumstances beyond her control, her rations have been cut off and she is faced with the choice of starving versus reviving a world she had left behind and thought she would never enter again. While on this dangerous path, she finds she is falling in love with a man who believes she is someone else Patrick T. Leahy presents an interesting look at what a person might do when confronted with life-changing issues during the last days of WWII. Geli Straub is the wife of a German officer. Because of circumstances beyond her control, her rations have been cut off and she is faced with the choice of starving versus reviving a world she had left behind and thought she would never enter again. While on this dangerous path, she finds she is falling in love with a man who believes she is someone else. This is a story that takes different turns and becomes many things: a spy story, a vivid portrait of some of the ugliness that happened during this war, the struggle of a woman torn between her emotions and what she feels she has to do. The author has a talent for stringing together inventive conversations while making them seem mundane yet important all at the same time. I experienced some difficulties with the portrayals of the two Danish spies. They were okay in the beginning but their language later in the book reminded me more of a couple of gangsters. Geli’s love for Kurt came on extremely fast, though the author could be forgiven for this based on the quirkiness of her character. These minor issues were very small pieces of the entire book, and while they jostled my attention they never caused me to lose track what was happening. Recommended reading. Four stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jena Henry

    Step into the dark scenes of the fall of Berlin near the end of World War II in this action and adventure romance. Geli Straub is the wife of a German General, who may have perished on the Russian front. She is on her own now, without her husband’s stipend, as the bombs rain down on Berlin and her world crumbles. Until late one evening, when an SS Officer raps on her door and Geli is drawn back into a life she thought she had ended. The Officer brings her a package of cigarettes and food and asks Step into the dark scenes of the fall of Berlin near the end of World War II in this action and adventure romance. Geli Straub is the wife of a German General, who may have perished on the Russian front. She is on her own now, without her husband’s stipend, as the bombs rain down on Berlin and her world crumbles. Until late one evening, when an SS Officer raps on her door and Geli is drawn back into a life she thought she had ended. The Officer brings her a package of cigarettes and food and asks Geli to create a relationship with SS Officer Kurt Langsdorff. Is he a loyal member of the Fatherland? Geli must use her latent talents as a former member of the Abwehr to get to the heart of Kurt Langsdorff, and his part in the Nazi atrocities. I was drawn to read this book, because I have read so many novels about World War II from the Allied viewpoint, and so I was interested to see what kind of woman the German Geli was. She herself is beautiful, seductive, and an enigma. In the end, I realized that no matter what side one is on, War is very hard on civilians, who should not be plunged into such evil and forced to make life and death decisions. Interestingly, this book which is characterized as action and adventure is more similar to a crime noir novel. This story features “noir” touches, such as a corrupt system, self-destructive and psychologically flawed characters, and a pessimistic and bleak story arc. I was keenly engaged in the complex story. The book held my interest, although I must confess that at times the literary-style writing puzzled me. Readers who are serious about history and who appreciate a complex and dark plot will enjoy this book the most. Many thanks to Amsterdam Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book. This is my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    Geli Straub, Berliner, ex Abwehr spy, sits out the war waiting for her husband Gunther who she has not heard from since the siege of Leningrad. A chance encounter with a ranked SS member who also happens to be her neighbor leads her to revisit her past as a spy past in order to find out more information about another SS officer named Kurt Langsdorff. Geli takes on the identity of a French woman and closes in on Kurt, but things are not all as they seem... The Knife-Edge Path is part historical fi Geli Straub, Berliner, ex Abwehr spy, sits out the war waiting for her husband Gunther who she has not heard from since the siege of Leningrad. A chance encounter with a ranked SS member who also happens to be her neighbor leads her to revisit her past as a spy past in order to find out more information about another SS officer named Kurt Langsdorff. Geli takes on the identity of a French woman and closes in on Kurt, but things are not all as they seem... The Knife-Edge Path is part historical fiction, part spy novel; a story based in Germany towards the end of WW2, and later on in post-war France. It is the story of how evil pervaded through the Nazi occupation but also of how not everyone was who their appearance said they were. It is a well-written novel with well-formed human characters traveling along paths where the balance between evil and less evil is not as clear cut as it may seem. I did enjoy how each main character is developed into a complex being, and that there is no real reason why you want to root for any of them. I did find some parts of the novel confusing, especially when the timeline jumps around without any real notice. Does the concentration camp scene take place in real time or in the past? When in the past?! And I also found some of the secondary characters a bit too caricatured, their images displaying as deformed in my imagination. There is also an element of the unbelievable in the plot, mainly in the love story aspect, as everything happens quite fast. I couldn’t take to Geli at all, I found her actions distasteful and weird at times (she seemed to be more interested in getting cigarettes from the fat SS officer, even if it meant flirting with him or further, than actually finding out information on her missing husband). There are areas that I wish the author hadn’t cloaked in darkness so much (the husband story for example, was he actually real?!). But these are all minor details, The Knife-Edge Path is interesting, compulsively readable, and could be a good start to a line of WW2 spy novels in the vein of Alan Furst.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Goth Gone Grey

    Somewhat disjointed historical fiction Let's be clear. WWII historical fiction can include the uglier parts - as this book does. For sensitive readers, this can be difficult. An example of some of the more chilling writing: "Then with no preliminaries he began to speak in a sepulchral, unearthly voice; how desolate a place it was to die, he said, but they were made to think they would be put to work, after a nice, warm shower. Whips flailed among them as they spilled out of boxcars, clutching ch Somewhat disjointed historical fiction Let's be clear. WWII historical fiction can include the uglier parts - as this book does. For sensitive readers, this can be difficult. An example of some of the more chilling writing: "Then with no preliminaries he began to speak in a sepulchral, unearthly voice; how desolate a place it was to die, he said, but they were made to think they would be put to work, after a nice, warm shower. Whips flailed among them as they spilled out of boxcars, clutching children, searching for the hand of God that came only for their clothes, and then their hair and drove them on, stark naked, toward what they were told would be a nice, warm shower in a gas chamber." While not the majority of the book, there are scenes present like the above, and worse. The remainder of the book winds around a cat-like, crafty woman using her looks to survive the war. She seems to have an attraction to most of the men she encounters, and does her best to encourage it in them. While it seems petty and sexist in these times, it was sheer survival in the times portrayed. Her necessary coldness did not endear her to me, despite the circumstances, and some of the emotions felt too much, too soon, exaggerated like a silent film. While her lithe, lovely frame hid in shadows with her coveted cigarettes, the men were bold, brash and manly. As a period piece, I suppose it works but lacks enough to fully engage the reader. Or, to be fair, this reader in particular. I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ken Cook

    Thoughtful historic fiction set in Germany and France in the period bracketing the end of the Second World War. Geli, wife/widow of a German general is recruited to spy on Kurt, an SS officer involved in the camps exterminating Jews and undesirables. Part II deals with the War tribunals in Paris. Apparently the third book in a series, there was no visible link to earlier works that I could read. Leahy makes bombed out Berlin visible to the mind's eye, as he did with the interrogation room and hol Thoughtful historic fiction set in Germany and France in the period bracketing the end of the Second World War. Geli, wife/widow of a German general is recruited to spy on Kurt, an SS officer involved in the camps exterminating Jews and undesirables. Part II deals with the War tribunals in Paris. Apparently the third book in a series, there was no visible link to earlier works that I could read. Leahy makes bombed out Berlin visible to the mind's eye, as he did with the interrogation room and holding cells in Paris. In particular, the character of Geli/Simone is complex and enticing, a figure invoking admiration and concern. Brilliant rendering of a period in history worth revisiting.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Shoulders

    While there is plenty of action, this is more a character study juxtaposing one who is an opportunist with one whose morals conflict with circumstances. Geli Straub is the wife of a Wehrmacht officer lost in action. Unable to prove her marriage, she needs someone to help support her financially. Geli is offered the task of discovering whether SS officer Kurt Langsdorff is truly committed to the Nazi cause. Langsdorff is a complex person who finds the only way to survive the war on his terms is t While there is plenty of action, this is more a character study juxtaposing one who is an opportunist with one whose morals conflict with circumstances. Geli Straub is the wife of a Wehrmacht officer lost in action. Unable to prove her marriage, she needs someone to help support her financially. Geli is offered the task of discovering whether SS officer Kurt Langsdorff is truly committed to the Nazi cause. Langsdorff is a complex person who finds the only way to survive the war on his terms is to become part of its inner circle and find out what is really going on. The choices each make means having to overcome much adversity.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda Burson

    Storyline good, but needs editing It’s not that I didn’t like the story, but it was a difficult read. At times, the narrative made no sense to me. It didn’t flow as well as it could have. I appreciated how well the characters were described. I truly felt their presence, and became attached to them with varying emotions. The story was good, and mostly held my interest; but having to reread many parts again to understand what was happening, was frustrating. This is where professional editing would Storyline good, but needs editing It’s not that I didn’t like the story, but it was a difficult read. At times, the narrative made no sense to me. It didn’t flow as well as it could have. I appreciated how well the characters were described. I truly felt their presence, and became attached to them with varying emotions. The story was good, and mostly held my interest; but having to reread many parts again to understand what was happening, was frustrating. This is where professional editing would have helped big time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Walters

    Good Thriller based on dubious worldview In many ways, this was a fascinating book about the end and immediate aftermath of World War Two in Germany. Many of the characters were sympathetic while being morally doubtful. However, the basis of the book is a dubious worldview that an attractive middle-aged woman can get any man of any age, friend or foe, to do exactly what she wants, purely due to her attractive looks and personality.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Judy Marshall

    Beautiful! Is he a Nazi officer's or turncoat? A young woman is recruited to seduce him in order to find out. Is it love that steps in when the two escape Berlin to France and he is diverted and imprisoned? This is well written with intrigue and romance. The romantic encounters are so subtly described that you can read between the lines and feel the passion.1 Beautiful! Is he a Nazi officer's or turncoat? A young woman is recruited to seduce him in order to find out. Is it love that steps in when the two escape Berlin to France and he is diverted and imprisoned? This is well written with intrigue and romance. The romantic encounters are so subtly described that you can read between the lines and feel the passion.1

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Garofolo

    This book had a storyline that should have been interesting and engaging but it wasn't, because it was very poorly written. There were multiple passages that I read several times and still had no idea what the author meant to say. None of the characters were well developed, realistic, or likable. I finished it only out of curiosity to see if it would ever improve. Don't waste your time. This book had a storyline that should have been interesting and engaging but it wasn't, because it was very poorly written. There were multiple passages that I read several times and still had no idea what the author meant to say. None of the characters were well developed, realistic, or likable. I finished it only out of curiosity to see if it would ever improve. Don't waste your time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Daniele

    Through his characters, Patrick Leahy reveals the ethical and moral decisions many German soldiers and citizens, who were not Nazis, were forced to face. Leahy reveals the complexity of managing the human instinct to survive while having to rationalize moral and ethical decisions. I appreciated the truly authentic human view of the many unrecognized victims of war - the people who live there.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    Interesting WWII story. Set in Berlin in the fading days of WWII. Liked the uniqueness of the flawed female protagonist and her impossible mission. I would have liked the book to be a little more fleshed-out, as some parts are a bit confusing. Great read, nontheless.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eleni

    Thought-provoking historical fiction This is not my usual cup of tea, but definitely a thought-provoking work of historical fiction set during World War II. Recommended for fans of the genre.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sheri Thurston

    Good story Good story and characters but the writing was strange. I wonder if it is a translation? The story is also sad with a sad ending.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diane Cressy

    A bit difficult to follow. Maybe it's just me but I had a lot of trouble understanding some of it. I read a lot of historical fiction and don't usually have that much of a problem. A bit difficult to follow. Maybe it's just me but I had a lot of trouble understanding some of it. I read a lot of historical fiction and don't usually have that much of a problem.

  16. 4 out of 5

    GW

    The Knife Edge Path This seemed like a very long read. In the end it was OK but seemed like a very long way to go for the outcome of the book. I give it a mild thumbs up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tom Sells

    Love story War makes friends of enemies and lovers of strangers. Geli not escape her desire to love and be loved. She was lost in a time of fast moving change.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dan A. Foster

    Edged Could not read the whole book, as I found it demeaning to women. I doubt every woman wanders through life contemplating about seduction and sex.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roger A. St-Louis

    Short and sweet. The early part of the book gave me great enjoyment. The end, great disappointment. The way the book ends leaves a very bad taste. I now wish I had not read it. Roger

  20. 4 out of 5

    saundrea robinson

    Did not enjoy I did not care for the female lead character. Difficult to know who she was, as she did not know herself.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lee Wilkinson

    One to keep you up most of the night... great read!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Don Jimmy Reviews

    Based in Germany at the tail end of WWII this is a historical fiction / spy novel. The story revolves around Geli Straub who returns to her role as spy at the behest of her neighbour. He is a high-ranking officer in the SS. In exchange for information she receives some necessities (food, cigarettes) and information on what has happened to her husband, and why her payments have suddenly stopped. She reluctantly agrees as without this man's assistance, she will be destitute. Using her previous exp Based in Germany at the tail end of WWII this is a historical fiction / spy novel. The story revolves around Geli Straub who returns to her role as spy at the behest of her neighbour. He is a high-ranking officer in the SS. In exchange for information she receives some necessities (food, cigarettes) and information on what has happened to her husband, and why her payments have suddenly stopped. She reluctantly agrees as without this man's assistance, she will be destitute. Using her previous experience as a seductress she is sent to spy on and seduce her neighbours old protégé to see if he is truly committed to the Nazi party.  The author paints an almost disturbingly vivid picture of life at the time. With incredibly written scenes where bombings are taking place, and brilliantly written descriptions of Berlin during the war. One standout scene took place in a concentration camp, and it was heart-breaking. There is no doubt that the author certainly has a way with words, and the overall plot is well worked and well thought out. The only critique I would have of the plot is that there is very little reference to a timeline and there are certain points of the story where it wasn't clear if it was happening linearly or in fact how much time was passing between chapters. For me, however, the characters are the books weak link, which is unfortunate. I found it hard to like or feel sorry for the protagonist despite her hardships, and that her actions, even against the backdrop of war were just a little too out there for me. The "love story" aspect of this book also seemed to happen overnight, although with some question over timelines in the book maybe it had been a lot longer. The supporting cast did little to help, and their rapid changes of opinion and flights of fancy grew a bit tiresome towards the end. I was also waiting for just one of her conquests to turn her away instead of choosing to help her, or associate with her, in some attempt to sleep with her. All in all, this was an interesting read and, while I didn't love it, I am glad to have read it. I would still recommend it to fans of the genre and think it would be a good introduction to the genre, or WWII based fiction.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline sharp

    I was asked to read this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review. Geli Straub is almost 47 but she is still able to turn heads. Her husband General Gunther Straub is away fighting she hasn’t heard from him in three years since the siege in Leningrad. Not knowing if he is still alive or not. She is no longer getting her stipends, and cannot find her marriage certificate, to prove she is his wife, but as she sees it if he was dead someone would have been to tell her. She meets a ra I was asked to read this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review. Geli Straub is almost 47 but she is still able to turn heads. Her husband General Gunther Straub is away fighting she hasn’t heard from him in three years since the siege in Leningrad. Not knowing if he is still alive or not. She is no longer getting her stipends, and cannot find her marriage certificate, to prove she is his wife, but as she sees it if he was dead someone would have been to tell her. She meets a ranked SS officer who happens to live in the same building as her. She has previously been a spy and Stumpf asks her, to become one again and spy on another SS officer Kurt Langsdorff. Geli takes on the identity of a French woman Mlle. Simone Miroux, but how dangerous is this going to be, when she realises things aren’t as they originally seemed. The story is set towards the end of WW11, people who are desperate do desperate things, As is the case with Geli she has no food, no money, cigarettes seem to be fairly important, you feel no sympathy for her, maybe you should but I just couldn’t. She is just trying to survive in a cruel world. The story goes from being a historical one into a spy novel. It’s an engaging read, with some well written characters, it has obviously been well researched. This is a little out of my comfort zone of the type of book I normally read. If you are into spy novels, this may be your kind of read. Definitely worth giving it a go.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    The Knife-Edge Path takes place in Berlin near the end of the war. People are hungry and in many cases without hope and will do whatever needs to be done to stay alive. Geli Straub is living in Berlin, waiting to hear from her husband who she hasn't heard from since the siege of Leningrad. Her food rations have been cut off and she is desperate to stay alive. A neighbor, who is an SS officer, asks her to spy on another SS officer after he finds out that she had been a spy earlier in the war. Eve The Knife-Edge Path takes place in Berlin near the end of the war. People are hungry and in many cases without hope and will do whatever needs to be done to stay alive. Geli Straub is living in Berlin, waiting to hear from her husband who she hasn't heard from since the siege of Leningrad. Her food rations have been cut off and she is desperate to stay alive. A neighbor, who is an SS officer, asks her to spy on another SS officer after he finds out that she had been a spy earlier in the war. Even though she doesn't want to get back into that life, she really has no choice if she wants to stay alive. She goes back to her identity as a French woman who was in Berlin when the war broke out. But nothing and no one are what they seem to be and that's when this historical fiction become a spy novel, too. I thought that this was a well-written, well researched novel with some interesting characters. I found Geli to be a very interesting main character who was willing to do whatever needed to be done to guarantee her survival.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Bowker

    Patrick T. Leahy leans into the core of humanity in "The Knife-Edge Path." It is a book that journeys into moments of breathless repose, when the world opens into glimpses of insight into the human heart and psyche through exquisite detail. It is a book that will change how we see the world, all within the haunting and revitalizing backdrop of a continent reeling from war. As one character says, “People are people no matter which side you are on.” Leahy elegantly cracks into the startling truths Patrick T. Leahy leans into the core of humanity in "The Knife-Edge Path." It is a book that journeys into moments of breathless repose, when the world opens into glimpses of insight into the human heart and psyche through exquisite detail. It is a book that will change how we see the world, all within the haunting and revitalizing backdrop of a continent reeling from war. As one character says, “People are people no matter which side you are on.” Leahy elegantly cracks into the startling truths and complexities of humanity, in a book that changes everything. It’s a narrative that strikes the soul, and is a pleasure to know until the end. Thank you, Mr. Leahy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melinda E Hileman

  27. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Brink

  28. 5 out of 5

    Raymond robson

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melinda Swanson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Judith Sander

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