- Author: Graham Hurley
Book online «Last Flight to Stalingrad Graham Hurley (sight word books .TXT) 📖». Author Graham Hurley
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
DI Joe Faraday Investigations
Cut to Black
Blood and Honey
The Price of Darkness
No Lovelier Death
DS Jimmy Suttle Investigations
Sins of the Father
The Order of Things
Spoils of War
Blood of the Wolf
Rules of Engagement
The Devil’s Breath
Thunder in the Blood
The Perfect Soldier
The Ghosts of 2012
Strictly No Flowers
Enora Andressen thrillers
First published in the UK in 2020 by Head of Zeus Ltd
Copyright © Graham Hurley, 2020
The moral right of Graham Hurley to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN (HB) 9781788547543
ISBN (XTPB) 9781788547550
ISBN (E) 9781788547536
Author photo © Laura Muños
Head of Zeus Ltd
First Floor East
5–8 Hardwick Street
London EC1R 4RG
To Jenny and Pete with love
‘The wildest life is the most beautiful’
By the Same Author
PRELUDE: BERLIN, 6 JULY 1940
1. GRAMMATIKOVO, KERCH PENINSULA, CRIMEA, 20 MAY 1942
2. BERLIN, 21 MAY 1942
3. SCHÖNWALDE, BERLIN, 22 MAY 1942
4. BERLIN, 22 MAY 1942
5. BERLIN, SATURDAY 18 JULY 1942
6. VENICE, 9 AUGUST 1942
7. MARIUPOL, UKRAINE, 9 AUGUST 1942
8. VENICE, 10 AUGUST 1942
9. KALACH, 10 AUGUST 1942
10. ROME, 10 AUGUST 1942
11. MOUNT ELBRUS, 21 AUGUST 1942
12. BERLIN, 22 AUGUST 1942
13. KALACH, 22 AUGUST 1942
14. BERLIN, 23 AUGUST 1942
15. TATSINSKAYA AIRFIELD, RUSSIA, 23 AUGUST 1942
16. KYIV, UKRAINE, 23 AUGUST 1942
17. TATSINSKAYA, RUSSIA, 24 AUGUST 1942
18. TATSINSKAYA AIRFIELD, 24 AUGUST 1942
19. TATSINSKAYA AIRFIELD, 24 AUGUST 1942
20. TATSINSKAYA AIRFIELD, 2 SEPTEMBER 1942
21. STALINGRAD, 17 SEPTEMBER 1942
22. STALINGRAD, 18 SEPTEMBER 1942
23. STALINGRAD, 18 SEPTEMBER 1942
24. TATSINSKAYA AIRFIELD, 27 SEPTEMBER 1942
25. BERLIN, 28 SEPTEMBER 1942
26. BERLIN SPORTPALAST, WEDNESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 1942
27. STALINGRAD, OCTOBER 1942
28. STALINGRAD, NOVEMBER 1942
29. STALINGRAD, 28 NOVEMBER 1942
30. TATSINSKAYA AIRFIELD, 23 DECEMBER 1942
31. BODENSEE, BERLIN, 25 DECEMBER 1942
32. STALINGRAD, 12 JANUARY 1943
33. STALINGRAD, 16 JANUARY 1943
34. STALINGRAD, 17 JANUARY 1943
About the Author
An Invitation from the Publisher
BERLIN, 6 JULY 1940
Levitation. Werner Nehmann told her he’d first seen it in a circus ring erected in a meadow outside Svengati. He’d been a kid, immune from disbelief, and later he swore he’d experienced it himself, a kind of magic, his soul leaving his body, everything you took for granted viewed from a different angle. He also said that Hitler understood it, practised it, had fallen half in love with it. Obvious, really.
She’d spent the night with Nehmann, here in this apartment in the Wilhelmstrasse. The apartment belonged to Guramishvili, a fellow Georgian who’d made a fortune importing wine. Nehmann said Guram, as he called him, was out of town just now and had left him the keys. Hedvika had never met Guram but knew that, unlike Nehmann, he’d never bothered to disguise himself behind an adopted German name. Too proud, he said. Too Georgian. And very rich.
The apartment was on the first floor. The tall window in the bedroom offered a fine view of the Wilhelmstrasse, the broad boulevard pointing at the heart of the Reich. The Chancellor’s train was due at the Anhalter station at three o’clock. According to Goebbels, whom Nehmann had seen last night, every allotment in Berlin had been ordered to supply a tribute of flowers to brighten the route from the station to the Chancellery. As a result, the boulevard was ablaze with colour.
After waking late, Hedvika had got up and stationed herself at the window, offering Nehmann a running commentary on the hundreds of busy hands unloading the carts and barrows below. Trays of crimson begonias and delicate gladioli. Handsome stands of lilies, nodding in the breeze. Even the Führer’s name, prefaced with the obligatory Heil,picked out in yellow roses on a first-floor balcony across the street. Minutes later, with the city’s trains cancelled and swimming pools closed, long queues of workers began to appear, marching from their workplaces to swell the crowds along the Wilhelmstrasse.
Senzacni,Hedvikahad murmured in her native Czech. Wonderful.
Nehmann agreed. In a handful of weeks, Hitler had crushed every Western European country that mattered except Italy and Great Britain. In the case of the Italians, Nehmann told her there’d be no need because Mussolini was simply Hitler with a bigger chin and a fancier wardrobe. And as far as the British were concerned, he added, it was simply a matter of time. In a month or two, once Goering had dealt with the RAF, there’d doubtless be an even noisier homecoming. Maybe they’d lock Churchill in a cage and parade him through Berlin. Assuming, of course, they hadn’t already put a gun to his head.
Now Nehmann emerged from the kitchen, fully dressed, with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. Ever since they’d first met on set in the Ufa studios, he’d called Hedvika Coquette. The scene she was shooting had required her presence on a tiger-skin rug in the palatial setting of a rich man’s weekend retreat. She’d been naked under a mink coat the colour of virgin snow and Nehmann, assigned to do an interview, had afterwards spent an hour or so in her dressing room. The woman who attended to her make-up, a Czech cousin, called her Koketa. Nehmann liked the sensation of the word on his tongue but thought it sounded even better in French. And so Coquette she became. It meant ‘temptress’, with undertones of ‘tease’.
‘What time is it?’ Naked but for a silk blouse, Hedvika was still at the window, her back to the bedroom, her elbows on the windowsill, looking down at the street.
Nehmann put the two glasses on the windowsill,