Michael J. Goodspeed is a historian and novelist. In addition to a successful writing career he has been an infantry officer and a manager in high-tech firms. He has lived and worked across Canada and on several continents. He lives on an acreage in Harrowsmith, Ontario.
Our Only Shield
Set in the desperate days at the outset of the Second World War, Our Only Shield brings back Rory Ferrall, the resourceful Canadian spy from Michael J. Goodspeed’s debut novel, Three to a Loaf.
Hastily recalled from a successful career in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Rory arrives in Britain only to find a war that is being prosecuted with political indecision and wishful thinking. The skills he displayed as a spy in the Great War are once again sorely needed by a small group of far-sighted but frustrated military planners.
Our Only Shield is a fascinating journey that takes us from an early wartime Britain still reeling from a string of catastrophic defeats into the once-peaceful Netherlands.
In 1940, Holland was a prosperous country where an industrious and innocent population simply yearned for peace and the chance to lead tranquil lives. Believing they could escape the havoc and violence of a world gone berserk, they awoke to find themselves governed by a new, terrifyingly brutal regime. Inserted into this shocked and traumatized community, Rory Ferrall soon finds himself caught up with two unforgettable characters: Annika Hammerstein, a gifted musician who refuses to watch passively as atrocities are inflicted on her family and her country, and Reinhold Neumann, a dangerously anxious but clever and ambitious Nazi policeman whose aspirations are unrestrained by conscience.
Our Only Shield is a meticulously researched story of how ordinary people marshal their talents to fight against ruthlessly efficient evil. Rich in historical detail, peopled with enduring characters, this powerful narrative gains steadily in momentum and tension and moves to a gripping conclusion. It’s an enthralling and satisfying story as well as a meditation on the timeless nature of organized violence.
There is a great responsibility associated with writing historical fiction. Michael Goodspeed carries it off brilliantly. In Our Only Shield, his protagonist Rory Ferrall continues to joust with his nation's enemies, this time in Nazi-occupied Holland at the start of the Second World War. His writing embodies excellent character development. He superbly situates his story within an accurate historical context. Prepare to be not only highly entertained, but also educated.
As a Dutch-born Canadian whose family experienced the German occupation, I could not put down this powerhouse book by Michael Goodspeed. I felt right in the action beside his characters. A tense, moving read.
There's action, a little romance and a telling of the story from the point of view of each of the three main characters. Things don't come to a neat and tidy ending either, which makes Our Only Shield original and also more interesting.
I found myself cheering for every small step forward as Rory and Annika struggled to establish a new resistance network and hoping that despite the odds they could make their escape. Its a wonderful read that picks up momentum right through to an exciting conclusion.