Greenwood author Dennis Ortblad has just published “The Berlin-Breslau Affair,” a thriller about an American diplomat’s pursuit of an international ring that is smuggling Nazi gold and art treasures excavated in Poland.
It’s fortuitous timing, after recent news that a Nazi gold train may have been discovered in a tunnel complex in southern Poland. Ortblad tells me some key scenes in his novel take place in that exact spot, a Nazi tunnel near Walbrzych in Poland, code named ‘Riese’ by the Nazis.
Ortblad has lived in Greenwood for the last five years after retiring from the State Department as a Foreign Service officer.
“In my thriller, I drew on my familiarity with the workings of an embassy and the conflicts surrounding the work of a diplomat,” he told me by email. “Of course, my descriptions of contemporary Germany and Poland rely on impressions during my work in those countries.
The Berlin-Breslau Affair, is set in contemporary Central Europe, where a U.S. diplomat finds that an influential Berlin think tank is using Nazi wealth to shift political opinion in Germany.
Targeting readers who enjoy continental settings that still bear the marks of WWII, the story swiftly moves from Dresden’s Elbe River promenade, along Berlin-Mitte’s Unter den Linden, to the Hitler bunker hidden beneath Furstenstein Castle in Poland’s Sudety mountains. While treading the terrain of a political thriller, the novel also authentically depicts the atmosphere and working of a large U.S. embassy. Its setting in Germany and Poland closely hews to historical places and events.
The murder of an African-American Fulbright scholar in Dresden leads David Ames, a political officer at the embassy in Berlin, into the shifting allegiances of intelligence services, including the CIA. He uncovers a plot by German nationalists to regain lands lost to Poland after WWII. They finance their conspiracy with the sale of art and gold stolen by the Nazis and long hidden in tunnels built near Breslau (the city of Wroclaw in today’s Poland).
The book is available at both our neighborhood bookstores, Couth Buzzard and Phinney Books, and as an e-book from Amazon.