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November, 1943 Weary of his deskbound status in the Royal Navy, intelligence officer Ian Fleming spends his spare time spinning stories in his head that are muchexciting than his own life.until the critical Tehran Conference, when Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin meet to finalize the D Day invasion With the Big Three in one place, Fleming is tipped off that Hitler s top assassin has infiltrated the conference Seizing his chance to play a part in a real life action story, Fleming goes undercover to stop the Nazi killer.

10 thoughts on “Too Bad to Die : A Novel

  1. Mark Stevens Mark Stevens says:

    Too Bad To Die wouldn t Lee Child have loved that title is so brisk and light on its feet, that you ll be sucked right in to this whirling plot involving British Naval Intelligence Officer Ian Fleming and the Tehran Conference of 1943.Told with fast shifting points of view and a library s worth of savory historical detail, this spy thriller suspense novel mashes the form in spirited fashion and expects you to keep up, precious little spoon feeding allowed.I m no World War II buff, but Francine Mathews lays out the basics with ease The setting is Cairo and Tehran as Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt and later Josef Stalin meet to finalize the D Day invasion Our hero Fleming, with a significant legacy to live up to and just beginning to understand his true talents, is assigned to ferret out a plot to assassinate the Allied leaders Fleming is warned that the mastermind of the plot, known by his handle The Fencer, may have wormed his way into either the delegation of the Brits or the Americans Too Bad To Die is a busy book in a good way Be prepared for a large cast Mathews fearlessly switches point of view between chapters Historical figures abound, from Alan Turing to Averell Harriman to Elliott Roosevelt Mathews two years of research shows, but she deals out the tidbits in smooth fashion The chapters about Fleming, who invents the James Bond alter ego for his undercover work, set the anchor He s got something to prove and some determination to get the job done Along the way there are hidden transmitters, vodka guzzling pilots, decoy dignitaries, fake Russian waiters, you get the picture.As Mathews notes in her acknowledgements, Fleming was up to his eyeballs in secret plots as the assistant director to British Naval Intelligence in wartime London His shadow falls across many of the most daring and ingenious deception operations of the war, particularly disinformation campaigns against the Axis A great number of myths have grown up around him as well from the outset, he was a character meant for fiction Too Bad To Die proves leaves little doubt of that fact Case closed.

  2. Cathy Cole Cathy Cole says:

    Having read and enjoyed Mathews previous historical thriller Jack 1939, I looked forward to reading Too Bad to Die, and I was not disappointed I was hooked in the prologue when I learned the origin of the book title Too Bad to Die is an excellent blend of history, literature and cinema as it gives us the background of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, and the importance of the meeting between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin Mathews research blends seamlessly into her narrative Her portraits of the world leaders are at once informative and familiar By sharing scenes from his boyhood, we can also read and smile and trace the beginnings of one of literature s most famous characters While the book satisfies on both history and mystery levels, it also delivers with a good solid pace and exciting action sequences although a scene of torture towards the end of the book may make some readers uncomfortable My radar must be in fine shape because I did find the identity of the super spy killer a bit too easy to guess, but there s a lot to this book than whodunnit If you re a fan of well researched, high octane historical thrillers, Too Bad to Die is too good to miss.

  3. Donna Donna says:

    This book was not my thing , but I needed it for a book challenge I listened to the audio and it took me 4 days to get through it, when it only required one afternoon I thought the story was creative and well thought out, but the narrative style was my least favorite when listening to audios It felt a little to clinical for my tastes I wanted than what things looked like.I wanted what it felt like and what the thoughts were I could see the characters, but couldn t feel them I did like the way the author pulled it all in at the ending, so 2 stars.

  4. Mal Warwick Mal Warwick says:

    Imagine an espionage novel starring Ian Fleming, Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alan Turing, Josef Stalin, Lavrenti Beria, Churchill s daughter and daughter in law, one of Roosevelt s sons, and a passel of other recognizable characters thrown together at a fateful time in 1943 Oh, and you might add James Bond to the mix.In this delightfully wicked novel, American crime and espionage writer Francine Mathews builds on known facts about the high powered people who figure in the story and imagines them as they might have reacted to a Nazi assassination plot directed against Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin The tale is set in Cairo and Tehran, where the leaders of the three Allies came together to set the strategy for the invasion of Nazi Europe As best I can tell, the broad historical events depicted in this book are entirely consistent with the facts It s the plot that is fully imagined.Ian Fleming was, in fact, assistant to the head of British Naval Intelligence and was the inventive author of some of the most dramatic deceptions mounted by the Allies He held the rank of Commander As indicated in the book, he was the son of a wealthy Member of Parliament who died on the Western Front in 1917 He was, in fact, educated at Eton and Sandhurst The James Bond series of spy novels Fleming wrote after the war were based, in large part, on his experience as a master of the craft Much of the rest is fiction.Too Bad to Die recounts the events of seven days late in November 1943 Roosevelt and Churchill, both ailing old men, have flown to Cairo with the ostensible purpose of reaching a joint strategy to deal with Stalin a few days hence at a fateful conference in Tehran Mathews is a careful student of history, because the dialogue involving these larger than life figures is entirely credible, and their circumstances, and the state of their health, are all grounded in fact.The conceit around which Mathews builds her tale is that Ian Fleming departs from his desk job to tangle with a Nazi master spy who threatens to assassinate the Big Three leaders There s not a lot of mystery around the identity of the master spy, even if Fleming is in the dark, but the unfolding events make for a thoroughly enjoyable story.

  5. JoAnne Pulcino JoAnne Pulcino says:

    TOO BAD TO DIEFrancine MathewsTOO BAD TO DIE is a wonderful historical thriller that features British Navel Intelligence officer, Ian Fleming who prevents a Nazi plot trying to assassinate Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Stalin In November, 1943 the big three meet at the Tehran Conference and Fleming learns Hitler s top assassin has been given the assignment Fleming goes undercover to discover the assassin and in the process has to face the fact that betrayal is sometimes just too close.Ms Mathews has done an excellent job of including so many real life characters and the intrigue is very suspenseful She is becoming one of the best spy thrillers today She even manages to include shaken not stirred.Good book.

  6. Bill Bill says:

    this would have been a 5 star book, except for the fact that I figured out who the bad guy was before the half way mark of the book I hate that.

  7. James James says:

    Author Mathews concocts a fictional thriller set at a real time in history involving Ian Fleming later author of 007 novels It takes place during the middle eastern conference between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin in their debates and decision making in how to destroy Hitler s forces via D Day Fleming a member the British Naval Intelligence unit was actually involved in the planning of this conference but was not present and was laid up with an illness, but Mathews weaves a tale of his being made aware of a plot by a mysterious shadow of a Nazi spy who has infiltrated the conference under the guise of one of the trusted people present The aim of THE FENCER is to kill all the three leaders If you are a fan of James Bond, whether via books or movies, you will be interested in how she incorporates the many aspects of Fleming s creation into the story including the origins of many of the Bond adventures via martinis, women, villain ideas, and many aspects of 007 s nasty confrontations, especially one in CASINO ROYALE And I was surprised to learn that SMERSH was real A good summer read of history learned and fictional mysteries solved.

  8. Alyson Alyson says:

    I have not interest in James Bond or Ian Fleming, but I really enjoyed this thriller based on Ian Fleming s life I did the audio and it was well done.

  9. Peg Albrets Peg Albrets says:

    very fun with Ian Fleming as a major character

  10. Jessica Howard Jessica Howard says:

    A spy thriller at its finest Super fun imagining the wartime activities of Ian Fleming.