The Honest Spy by Andreas Kollender is a historical fiction work that focuses on one of the most popular spy in the World War II era. Since I’m still so fascinated with the WWII era, I thought it would be a good idea to read up on just how popular this historical figure is and learn about what he did during such troubled times to help turn the tide of the war. Everyone loves a good espionage story every now and then and if I’m going to read one, I might as well learn something from it! Although The Honest Spy didn’t really amaze with the writing itself, I still found myself thoroughly enjoying the story because honestly, this is really the first time from what I can remember of hearing of this Fritz Kolbe character. I’ve watched and read many WWII documentaries in the past but never something that specifically focused on one individual spy like how we have here. However, do realize that if you’ll be reading this book to get a better understanding of what WWII was like or the in’s and outs of daily life in war torn Berlin, get ready for disappointment because you won’t find that here.
The story revolving around Fritz is something that I’m sure many common people can relate to, especially to the many thousands upon thousands that were unfortunately holed up in Germany during WWII. Peace. That’s what these people wanted, nothing more. Obviously that wasn’t possible though. During extraordinary times, unplanned “heroes” step up to the plate. Some are fortunate enough to be placed in certain situations that can help them along the way but of course, that’s easy to say in hindsight and this is where we start off with in the story of Fritz Kolbe. Romance, tragedy, disaster, death and victory…it’s all told here. The courage that Fritz shows is amazing. However, what I love about these types of stories is that unlike cartoon superheroes or characters we see in movies, Fritz is a real life human being just like you and I. Therefore, he’s susceptible to fear, cowardice, anger, hatred and lack of judgement just like the rest of us. Don’t expect big Hollywood type explosions or gunfights and you’ll be alright. This is as real life as it can get. To put it perspective, think of how a person in a secretary position with no fighting or espionage training whatsoever, who’ve never held a gun before much less killed a person and you get the overall picture of Fritz Kolbe. In a time where just looking at a soldier the wrong way could raise suspicion and get you imprisoned, just thinking of what Fritz had to go through is mind numbing.
In a sense, The Honest Spy I’m glad to have read. I don’t consider myself a WWII buff by any means but reading this story for some reason made me felt calm knowing that even in such troubled times, ordinary civilians can stand up to the face of evil itself and fight back in whatever capacity they can even knowing that huge sacrifices will need to be made. Indeed the story can be very inspiring to many of us. Although some might find it a bit dull in some parts, I personally thought that’s what actually made me like the story that much more as it’s more down to earth and makes it that much more easier for us to relate to.