Secret Honor (1999)

After reading, Honor Bound, and Blood and Honor, it was time to read Secret Honor which concludes the series, well kind of, but we'll get to that in a minute.

You may recall that the Honor Bound series, as the author refers to it, focuses around Clete Frede, and his efforts in the OSS in Argentina during WW II. Those looking for that aspect of the story do get it. We follow Frede, who has gotten Dorotea "in the family way" and needs a shotgun, no make that sooner rather than later, wedding ceremony to make things right. Money talks to the Church, and the usual year of mourning after the death of his father is waived as his family provides significant funds to the local Church. All in all, there was much description of the events leading to the wedding, so I was a surprised, and even disappointed that the ceremony itself was only briefly described.

In fact, only about half of Secret Honor takes place in Argentina. In typical WEB Griffin fashion, after getting us interested in one main character, he then focuses on another one. This time it's Peter, a decorated German officer in Argentina. After he comes under suspect after a German resupply mission goes bad, and he gets ordered back to Germany for an investigation. Interestingly, he really is an Argentinian sympathizer, and he shares his father's goal to assassinate Hitler. Apparently, at least a few German officers felt that the war was not just, saw the concentration camps for the atrocity that they were, and realized that the Axis was going to lose the war when it was all said and done. The two things they did about it were to stash money overseas (which came up in the previous novel), and to plot against their leader.

While Peter is in Germany, we do get some fascinating side trips. One is a trip to Hitler's secret bunker complex, where the decorating was all done with bomb proof cement. I've seen a History Channel segment on this, but it was great to read the author's descriptions as well. The other is a trip to the development facility of the Messerschmitt Me 262, the first jet fighter aircraft. The history of this plane is fascinating, as well as how its potential was not realized early enough during the war. Still, while this airfield makes for an intriguing pit stop, it really doesn't integrate well into the rest of the overall novel, or the series.

At the end of the novel, we kind of just stop. After several years, and no follow up, I think that we should consider the series complete. However, it just doesn't feel like it is. Perhaps the book sales were not as robust as planned, so Griffin turned his attention to more profitable projects. That said, compared to The Corps, or The Brotherhood series, the Honor Bound novels simply do not come together nearly as well as they did. While these novels are interesting, they really don't represent the author's best work. Keeping that in mind, Secret Honor is the weakest novel of the series as well.

Overall Grade: B-

Reviewed by Jonas

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