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The Ring and the Swastika

Sandy Jenkins
It's 1941 and Erik Kingsnorth, a half-Norwegian Commando captain, lands in German occupied Norway as a radio-communications agent. He is acutely aware of the need at all costs to avoid his Norwegian relations but is spotted on a fishing boat by his cousin Bjorn. But Bjorn turns out to be a collaborator and Erik is ordered by the Resistance to shoot him. Armed with a pistol he confronts his cousin on a lonely path at dusk but cannot bring himself to pull the trigger.

Later, working alongside the Resistance Erik discovers what is being constructed on a wild uninhabited coastline - a top secret U-boat staging post where he narrowly escapes capture in a fusillade of rifle fire. With the help of the Resistance leader's beautiful daughter he stumbles across a huge cache of gold ingots in a sea cave which bear Soviet hallmarks - could they really be from HMS Edinburgh previously torpedoed in the Barents Sea?

Erik is soon drawn in to a world of danger, intrigue and to desperate flight from pursuing Nazis. He flies out in a commandeered float plane but crash lands into the Great Tana River near the Russian border and is arrested by the Soviets who believe him to be a collaborator. Finally, in a gulag in Arctic Russia he is overtaken by monstrous events too awful even to contemplate. The Ring and the Swastika will appeal to fans of historical novels, especially those with a particular interest in wartime Norway.

This is a good airport or holiday novel, in that its a ripping yarn which does not need too much concentration to read. Some of the plot is telegraphed but it does not spoil the whole tome. Its easy to put down and pick up just like watching a soap opera.

A nice wee plot but can be a bit contrived. not a classic but one for the pulp fiction people out there. Actually I think Sandy missed an opportunity to produce a great non fiction book with all the research he has obviously undertaken. Three and a half mushroom heads.

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