STARRED REVIEW
August 18, 2015

Alternate history based on real Nazi intentions

By Guy Saville

Imagine a world in which the Nazis were victorious in World War II. Guy Saville takes that perilous route in his new thriller, The Madagaskar Plan, a sequel to his first novel, The Afrika Reich, with a third to follow in the author’s alternate history trilogy.

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Imagine a world in which the Nazis were victorious in World War II. Guy Saville takes that perilous route in his new thriller, The Madagaskar Plan, a sequel to his first novel, The Afrika Reich, with a third to follow in the author’s alternate history trilogy.

In April 1953, victorious Germany has consolidated its power, and the Reich, now called Germania, stretches from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains. Much of the story centers on the mineral-rich continent of Africa, where rule is divided between Britain and Germany. America, which never entered the war, remains politically isolated from the current fray, although a powerful Jewish lobby courts the U.S. president, ensuring his election.

As for the Jews, instead of the extermination camps of history, Saville imagines that millions are in the process of being forcibly “resettled” on the island of Madagaskar off the African coast, most slated for eventual extermination. On the island, there are ruptures among several factions in the Jewish community and hints of violent revolution.

Into this imagined political and social milieu steps Burton Cole, a British ex-mercenary who has recently failed in an attempt to assassinate the current Kongolese governor, the wily, ambitious Nazi Walter Hochburg, who is pursuing Jewish scientists that have knowledge of a mega-weapon the Nazis covet. He’s also eyeing British-controlled Northern Rhodesia for a possible takeover, while Britain is developing its own plan for getting America involved in the looming struggle. This thrilling tale is also a sprawling and expansive romance, as Burton seeks to rescue his Jewish lover, Madeleine, from the island of Madagaskar, where she is held after being betrayed by her husband, Jared Cranley.

The Madagaskar Plan is layered with conspiracy upon conspiracy, as characters betray those closest to them in the battle for power and territory in a grim post-war world. Dark passages about the thousands of displaced souls struggling to survive—and retake their freedom—alternate with lyrical prose that defines the strength of the human connection. It succeeds as a standalone read, as a prologue brings readers up to date with a concise description of Saville’s alternative world, while an intriguing author’s note explains the very real history behind the book: a Nazi plan to “quarantine” Jews in Poland beginning in 1939, and the subsequent unsuccessful Nazi “Madagaskar-Projekt,” hatched by SS leader Heinrich Himmler in 1940.

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The Madagaskar Plan

The Madagaskar Plan

By Guy Saville
Holt
ISBN 9780805095951

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