My edition has an intriguing publicity blurb giving the reader an explanation not only for Wheatley's absence from the bestseller lists of Britain, but insight into his contributions during World War 2. He was for three years "a member of the Joint Planning Staff in the Offices of the War Cabinet" where he was privy to classified information. While working there he chose to go on hiatus as a spy novelist and he did not want to be tempted to borrow from reality. The preface further explains:
...he felt it a wise precaution to refrain form chronicling...further thrilling deeds until a little time [had] elapsed for major war secrets to be given to the public through official releases and war histories.
|Dennis Wheatley, circa late 1930s|
Is this enough to whet your appetite? Those among you who scoff at this kind of adventure novel would be missing out as much as Philip Vaudall. I found a passing reference denigrating the book in Antarctica in Fiction by Elizabeth Leane who called it "a very forgettable fantasy." I am here to countermand that slur! I found it to be one of those incredible yarns so brimming with imagination and the surreal as to be fairly intoxicating. Revealing any further details of the dense plot would deprive any armchair adventurer from revelling in its remarkable pages.
For more info on The Man Who Missed the War visit this website. It's not so much a review as it is an in- depth plot summary that is spoiler laden. Caveat lector. And for everything you ever wanted to know about the author stop by the absolutely awesome Dennis Wheatley Website. I'd start in the museum section if I were you. But be warned -- I was there for two and half hours last night!