by Loup Durand
Translated from French by J. Maxwell Brownjohn
This nifty, complex thriller is a true cat and mouse chase through France, Switzerland, and Germany in 1942. The cat, recruited by Nazis, is Gregor Laemmle, a brilliant, somewhat dissipated, philosopher, who has the German army and the French police at his disposal. The mouse is eleven year old multilingual genius Thomas von Gall. He has memorized bank codes that access 350 million dollars in gold hidden by Jews at the start of the war, money now coveted by the Germans. Laemmle is to do anything he must to find the boy.
Thomas uses his superior brain to outwit Laemmle, a difficult task given the latterís vast resources and his knack for foreseeing Thomasís every move. Likening the hunt to a challenging chess game, with moves and countermoves, Laemmle bears a grudging respect for the talented boy, even grows to love him. After his beloved mother is killed in a trap, Thomas hates Laemmle with a fury he has never known
Enter a third party with a vested interest in the situation: American David Quartermain, who received a letter from Thomasís mother, informing him that the boy is his son and he may be the only one to save him. One of a large family, said to be Americaís wealthiest, Quartermain has led the idle life of a rich, carefree playboy, and now must get involved in a serious quest that may kill him. He does an admirable job, as does Thomas, whose distrust of the American grows into respect, and finally love. Suspenseful twists and turns throughout lead to a satisfying ending.
~ Loup Durand, 1933-1995, first published at the age of forty-two. He wrote several French adventure novels under a pseudonym. Daddy became an instant bestseller in France.
~ A 1989 review in The New York Times took exception to the Indiana Jones/James Bond heroics David Quartermain displays. Some readers no doubt agree. Millions, however, loved this book. I count myself among the latter.
~ In 2003 a TV movie based on Daddy--Entrusted--was produced (UK/France).
~ Other Novels:
The Angkor Massacre - 1983
Jaguar - 1990
The Grand Silence - 1994