The singer and artist Tommy Steele, who was the author of the Final Run, told the story that sometime after the second world war he discovered that his grandfather had been one of a group of Churchill lookalikes used to disguise and decoy the movements of the real wartime prime minister – an idea famously used in Jack Higgins’ “The Eagle has landed”. Taking this as a starting point he builds a very efficient thriller to imagine how such ruses could have been used to effect a pause in the German advance on Dunkirk.
Steele displays an impressive cold-heartedness in his imagining of how such a plot might play out. The historical liberties he takes never lose sight of either the ruthless efficiency or sadism of the Nazis.
The book compares favourably to the work of, for example, Higgins – not great literature but fine entertainment: a war thriller that does exactly what it says on the tin.