Reviews and Blurbs - Click Here to Submit Yours!
The Kirkus Starred Review (& more...)
"A Czech spy-chief battles the rising Nazi menace in this engrossing thriller."
"Major František Moravec has no experience as a spy when he’s summoned to an important post in Czechoslovakia’s military intelligence branch. But he does have a shrewd mind, a self-effacing manner that hides a maverick streak, a disillusioned knowledge of human motives and, rarest of all in the low, dishonest decade of the 1930s, he has more than a shred of honor. While he struggles to navigate Prague’s cynical bureaucracy and whip his underlings into shape—including an amateur pornographer and an 83-year-old agent who refuses to file reports—he faces an intelligence nightmare: a surging Nazi Germany that is covertly manipulating German nationalist groups in the Sudetenland with an eye toward adding that Czech territory to the Reich. Moravec relies on a troubled asset, a German-Czech-American schoolteacher with a clouded past and a bitter grudge. And he has a whale—or maybe a piranha—of a nemesis in Gestapo chief Reinhardt Heydrich, the epitome of cunning, cruelty and corruption with a cold eye trained on the Sudetenland while fighting murderous turf battles with Hitler’s other satraps. (The scenes of Nazi factional infighting are a tour-de-force of blood-curdling fun.) This first installment of Xavier’s Moravec’s War series, based on real-life figures and events, has everything—subtle characters, a great hero, a mesmerizing villain, tense intrigue and action and stylish, psychologically acute prose. It’s also a rich evocation of pre-war Mitteleuropa, steeped in the atmospherics of high-society soirées, beer-hall rallies and train-station assignations amid a mood of encroaching, unstoppable tragedy. As Moravec strains to perceive the threats to his country despite the deepening gloom, Xavier’s tale reads like a John le Carré novel transposed to a geopolitical jungle that’s far grimmer than the Cold War."
"A fine, gripping page-turner infused with a deep historical sensibility."
Former President of Associated Press International (API)
"Historical novels from Sir Walter Scott on can be a minefield of traps for new writers. But Mr. James is fearless. He bursts onto the scene with no fewer than a ennead of stories about wartime spying, with the first being about the border atmosphere of Czechoslovakia as Sudeten Germans in eastern Czech borderlands ‘demand’ autonomy. All the themes of wartime life are the fabric of this exceptional first novel: fear, honor, courage, intrigue, love and even unheralded redemption. Mr. James’ detail is robust and historically solid as he unfolds the crisis atmosphere in those bleak days before war’s outbreak."
"Few war novels end with readers asking for more. The hurdles are set high for the second in this series."
"I just finished reading The Schoolmaster Spy and wanted to drop you a note to say that I really enjoyed it. It was a very good combination of interesting history and exciting spy story. Seeing the parallel rise of the two spymasters was very cool and the novel did a better job of showing the various factions and personalities involved in the German government than other nonfiction books I've read. "
"A very good combination of interesting history and exciting spy story"
Benjamin Franklin Awards
"Excellent writing, I didn't want to put it down. It is filled with an insight that only someone living during that time would have and it gives a glimpse of that to the reader."
"The dialogue and imagery make the book three dimensional for the reader."
editor of Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October
"Just when it seems that nothing more can be written about World War II, Xavier James serves up a riveting story about a Czechoslovakian intelligence chief taking on the dark forces of Hitler's nascent Nazi party. On the eve of that conflict František Moravec, a forgotten hero of the Great War, is inexplicably summoned to Prague and ordered to take over his country's intelligence arm. Plunged into a netherworld of vicious power mongers, indolent ne'er-do-wells and hypocrites, Moravec faces the biggest challenge of his life; gathering the intelligence to foil Hitler's designs on his budding nation."
"Moravec's War is a tour de force of subtle characterization, slowly building suspense and gripping irony."
"I have just finished The School Master Spy.....one of the very best pre-WWII novels that I have ever read. Please advise when subsequent novels will be available..."
"Please advise when subsequent novels will be available..."
British artist & Grammy nominated producer
"Imagine my dismay when approached to read some extracts of Moravec …...when I got completely wrapped up in the tale and was desperate for more ! it was like having to leave the hors d'oeuvre unfinished….gripping stuff indeed "
"Gripping stuff indeed!"