Mission Churchill

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Pub Date 31 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 22 Jan 2024

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In 1933 Cuba, a deadly game of cat and mouse unfolds. An IRA sharpshooter, driven by vengeance and a relentless mission, has Winston Churchill in his crosshairs. But just as the assassin is about to strike, Churchill's tenacious bodyguard, Walter Thompson, intervenes, forcing the killer into the shadows.

Years later, amid the fiery rain of the German Blitz on London, Thompson locks eyes with a ghost from Havana—the very same assassin. But now, the stakes are higher. As Thompson dives deeper into the city's underworld, he uncovers a chilling conspiracy within the British government, threatening to topple Churchill and hand victory to Hitler.

Racing against time amidst the backdrop of a city in chaos, Thompson must decipher the twisted web of treachery to save his nation and the man he's sworn to protect. But at what cost? 

Dive into a high-octane thriller where history hangs in the balance, alliances are tested, and one man stands against the darkness.

In 1933 Cuba, a deadly game of cat and mouse unfolds. An IRA sharpshooter, driven by vengeance and a relentless mission, has Winston Churchill in his crosshairs. But just as the assassin is about to...

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Average rating from 63 members

Featured Reviews

"Mission Churchill" is very well written. Winston Churchill becomes important enough early in his career to need a bodyguard, Walter Thompson. Thompson earns his keep, and probably would have liked a good raise. He intercepts an IRA sniper and prevents the assassination of Churchill during WWI.

Thanks to Thompson, Churchill survives to WWII, where his skills and personality will be desperately needed. Unfortunately, his enemies are still after him. Thompson has to keep his boss alive long enough to help win WWII. Winning a war isn't easy when there's a faction of turncoats in your own government who would dearly like to see Hitler win and take over Great Britain and her allies.

Churchill himself isn't an especially likable individual, and he doesn't make it easy to keep himself alive. Walter Thompson has his work cut out for him.

I love alternate histories, and this one is interesting.

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I loved this book! I love anything that has to do with Churchill. This book had me on a roller coaster! I highly recommend this book!

I received a copy from Netgalley for my honest review.

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A lot is going on in this novel...so many characters with their own agendas in the plot against Churchill. There is the IRA, the Duke of Windsor, fascist members of the British aristocracy, Hitler fanatics, Scotland Yard, MI5, and even a Nicaraguan dwarf. Most of the story is set in 1940, in the darkest days of the Blitz, which adds plenty of confusion to the plot.

At times it felt as if I'd been given a round, 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle to put together while blindfolded. There is a plethora of Cuban history worked in and though interesting, didn't seem necessary in the long run. Many American readers may not know Churchill's connection through his policies to Ireland which fueled the IRA's hatred of him. If you only know Churchill through his famous WW II speeches, you may be surprised to discover that his feet were made of clay.

When the entire plot was revealed, it was truly ingenious. I found it gratifying that Churchill's loyal bodyguard, Walter Thompson, had the best ending of all.

Many thanks to NetGalley & The Book Whisperer for providing the digital ARC. All opinions & the review are my own.

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A taut thriller involving assassination attempts by an IRA supporter on the life of Winston Churchill in Cuba (1933) and during the Blitz years later in London. Britain's PM and his intrepid bodyguard Walter Thompson and the conflicts in both eras come vividly to life, creating a gripping narrative Churchill fans will adore!

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This book explores the lack of popularity of Sir Winston Churchill. The poor treatment of the Irish by the British in the 18th and 19th centuries has left a hate for the aristocratic British by the people of Ireland. The Prime Minister was the target of disaffected Irishmen looking for revenge.

The story begins with an accidental meeting between an Irishman tasked with killing the man in a jewelry store in Havana, Cuba! At that time Churchill was a member of Parliament and had a number of detractors who could not understand why he did not simply sue for peace.

The assassin, Marcus Riley, cannot believe his luck! Running into that hated man in a jewelry shop in Havana! His attempts are thwarted by a member of Scotland Yard named Thompson who shadows Winston everywhere.

Alex Abella has devised a very intriguing and intricate plot around the killing of the perceived enemy of Ireland. The orders come from Germany as do a very sophisticated new weapon.

The end result is an example of hate and revenge at their best! Churchill’s life hangs in the balance as does the fate of the free world. This book will captivate you as a reader and raise additional questions about that time in history. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. These opinions are my own.

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It would have been a fast page turner, but I kept googling different people to see if they were real. Churchill, of course, was authentic but I didn't know he actually stayed in Cuba for a bit. Walter Thompson was indeed Churchill's body guard and Churchill's life was threatened 13 times. The rest is fiction - all built around the facts and it's exceptionally told. You know Churchill avoided being assassinated - but still, you hold your breath as you read to see if Riley, an angry Irishman with an axe to settle with Churchill, will actually execute the British Prime Minister.
Abella does a good job of recreating scenes in England during the early part of the war. I had never really thought about the disposal of hundreds (even thousands?) of bodies who naturally died, but most of whom had been killed by the Germans. (Most were incinerated).
I've gotta see if this guy has written some other books as this one is a slam dunk.

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Although the author Alex Abella has many published books and acclaim therefrom under his belt, there was something about this book I just couldn't get very hooked into. I did skim over some parts, I confess, but otherwise read to the end of the book. Perhaps, it just was not my cup of tea.

Others may find the life of Winston Churchill being in the line of fire of an assassin's gun of interest. I did learn a thing or two about him though as this is rather a plausable work of historical fiction, given the facts of such atttempts on this volatile man. Thompson was a handy man to have around too.

On a more positive note, I did find the multicultural input somewhat absorbing, especially since I don't know much about Cuba's history.

Those who do not wish to read about bedroom intimacies should take caution.

~Eunice C., Reviewer/Blogger~

October 2023

Disclaimer: This is my honest opinion based on the complimentary review copy given by NetGalley and the publisher.

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Mission Churchill by Alex Abella was a great and intriguing story.
The writing was very well done and I found the characters to be intriguing and so interesting.
A cleverly written thriller that sucked me in from the very beginning.

Thank You NetGalley and Book Whisperer for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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Can Thompson from Scotland Yard keep Churchill safe through the Cuban revolution and afterward, while he was Prime Minister during WWII? Both the Irish Republican Army & the Germans are wanting Churchill incapacitated. Mission Churchill, by Alex Abella, takes the reader through the events. This was not my favorite book, but if you’re a history buff, you’ll like it. I was able to read an ARC on #NetGalley.

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This an alternate or the author's point of view on the life of Winston Churchill, and we are page turning for answers.
I know that politicians have attempts on their lives, but Winston here is really not liked by many people, including some war machines which included the evil that was present in Europe, when Winston was Prime Minister. There is also a man whom blames him directly for the death of his brother, and IRA supporter, whom seems to have more than nine lives, and has no regard for human life.
Thank goodness Mr. Churchill has a body guard, Walter Thompson, with skills that equal James Bond!
You will soon experiencing the Country of Cuba, and then back to England, and then bombs falling every night, and such destruction!
We know that Churchill survives, but the attempts here make you wonder, and the danger becomes so great you will wonder if Mr Thompson is alive at the end!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Book Whisperer, and was not required to give a positive review.

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Mission Churchill wasn't my usual read. I do love a good historical fiction and there was a little bit of history sprinkling the pages. However, Mission Churchill is definitely fiction. Mission Churchill was more of "What if" story.

Mission Churchill screams conspiracy theory. I ended the book understanding where stories could be created. I finished, questioning what I had learned in school. Some of this could have happened. Some of this might be hidden away under the Secrets Act. What I do know is I want to learn more.

The story centers around plans to assassinate Winston Churchill. The plan starts in Cuba with an attempt by IRA member, Riley. Riley gets around a lot. He ends up in America and is sent back with another plan. The story is riddled with spies that one would never expect. Traitors show up to help Riley in his mission. He uses others as away to hide and move around. The body count he accrues in quite shocking.

The action was a joy to read as the reader rides on Walter Thompson's shoulder as he tries to find Riley. Thompson is a very impressive character. I do have to wonder if the real Thompson stood up to Churchill like this character did. Like I said before, I definitely will be reading more, learning more. I see a trip to England in my future to walk where they walked.

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In ‘Mission Churchill’ Marcus Riley, an IRA assassin is unrelenting in his pursuit of Winston Churchill from the streets of Cuba to Chequers. Walter Thompson, Churchill’s bodyguard, is equally steadfast in his protection of the Prime Minister.

This is a well told story. I enjoyed the array of characters and the tense cat and mouse game between the two men kept me interested.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. These opinions are my own.

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I wanted to like this book more. I enjoy historical fiction, and a plot to remove one of the great historical figures of World War 2 certainly is compelling. Unfortunately, I felt like side stories and distractions played too much of a role while the suspense wasn't built as well as it might have been.

I was particularly bothered by certain sexual aspects of this book. I'm no prude, and I don't mind romantic entanglements or sexual situations when they add to a story. Here, they seemed like no more than unnecessary additions. I was particularly troubled by some references to underaged scenarios. The one character whose priest molested him is unfortunately all too believable. And in that case, it was supposed to be part of the character's motivation for his actions. But given both his background and the different loyalties the war brought, there seemed motivation enough without that. Still, fine, if that helped drive him, I could live with that.

That aside, was this necessary?: "Lady Clementine Churchill was dreaming about sex" with a "handsome young hussar . . . She only allowed him to caress her budding breasts under her nightgown--for in her dream she had become fourteen again." 14? Seriously?

Seriously, while it's clear the Churchill marriage had its challenges, what was the point of this? Even if it was a dream and wasn't actual underage sex, why put this in at all? It's repellent.

I also didn't like that the bad guys in this seemed to be disproportionately gay. "His sexuality gave him entry into another subset of English life, the aristos who developed a taste for sodomy in the student halls of Eaton and Oxford." (Oh, and that a call boy a key player in this hires is named Archibald Leach, the real name of Cary Grant... I'm not even sure the point, but why even go there?) When Ian Fleming was misogynistic or bigoted in his James Bond books, I shrugged it off as the attitudes of a different era, but this is a new book and these pieces were unnecessary.

Then we get to the treatment of Edward VIII. Not exactly someone I care about, particularly since it appears he was rather chummy with Hitler, but I've read quite a bit and don't recall seeing anything that puts him in so dark a light as to be complicit in an effort to eliminate the Prime Minister of England. Also, in yet another unnecessary sexual scene, was infantilizing him necessary? "'Come here, bad boy. I think you need correction,' said Wallis. 'Yes, mommy,' said the duke, ascending the stairs."

All these things and a part about Winston Churchill's sex life really added nothing to what I expected was going to be a tale of an attempt to eliminate the PM and his loyal protector's efforts to protect him.

While I didn't love this book, I still thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review an advance copy.

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The premise of this book is interesting; however, I found that it did not hold my interes for very long. It takes place in Cuba prior to, and during, the coup bringing Batista to power. Churchill is caught up in these chaotic events. and I have no idea if there is an historical basis for this. Most of the characters seemed one-dimentional, and the entire novel hoped to be driven along by the events of the time. For me, it was not enough.

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This is more a political thriller, than a work of historical fiction or a mystery. As such I am not the reader it was written for. I did not find the characters engaging or the plot convincing. Another reader might like it better. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC inn exchange for my honest opinion. More accurate categories should help the book find its true audience.

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n 1933 Cuba, a deadly game of cat and mouse unfolds. An IRA sharpshooter, driven by vengeance and a relentless mission, has Winston Churchill in his crosshairs. But just as the assassin is about to strike, Churchill's tenacious bodyguard, Walter Thompson, intervenes, forcing the killer into the shadows. Years later, amid the fiery rain of the German Blitz on London, Thompson locks eyes with a ghost from Havana—the very same assassin. But now, the stakes are higher. As Thompson dives deeper into the city's underworld, he uncovers a chilling conspiracy within the British government, threatening to topple Churchill and hand victory to Hitler. Racing against time amidst the backdrop of a city in chaos, Thompson must decipher the twisted web of treachery to save his nation and the man he's sworn to protect. But at what cost?

I have read about plots to assassinate Churchill before, but this is the first historical fiction that I have read about it. Using real characters from history Abella, describes the plot and what it could have meant for history. I was not familiar with the author but was sucked into the story from the first page. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for introducing me to this author whose writing I thoroughly enjoyed.

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This novel, which is both historical fiction and thriller, was an entertaining and somewhat informative read for me. It begins in Cuba, in the year 1933. This scenario did confuse me at first, since I had not realized that Winston Churchill had a writing career, and actually observed the Cuban War of Independence, as a journalist. This was before he became the British Prime Minister in 1940.

The character development of Walter Thompson, who served as Churchill’s heroic bodyguard, was particularly engaging. In this story, Thompson tracks and chases would-be assassin Marcus Riley, an Irishman who wants revenge for the mistreatment of his people. Riley’s plans to kill the future prime minister involve several other men from different backgrounds, all demonstrating the various reasons why Churchill was not very popular.

The plot of this story was suitably intricate, but I did find the pacing to be uneven. For instance, Marcus Reilly is center stage during the beginning of the book, managing to meet Churchill right away. However, Reilly does not act, at first, like a trained hitman. After making a clumsy attempt at shooting his target, he runs away and he’s out of the story for many chapters. Meanwhile, the author depicts (extramarital) romantic interludes that may call attention to Churchill’s strained marriage, but which I didn’t find very interesting.

When Marcus Reilly does return, he is very much a trained, ruthless killer. The scenes when Thompson is trailing and chasing Reilly are the best parts of the book, and I was expecting there to be more of that kind of action. In the end, I thought that some parts seemed a bit unlikely or not explained fully, but then, this does suggest a sequel.

Thank you very much to Book Whisperer and Netgalley for this opportunity.

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Mission Churchill by Alex Abella was a solid historical fiction about an assassination plot against Winston Churchill in 1933 Cuba and following up in London 1940. The same assassin is determined to carry out his plot, but he is not prepared for Walter Thompson, tenacious bodyguard to Churchill.

This book is heavy on action and plot rather than characterization. The pacing was even but intense and the writing was solid. I wish there had been an author's note indicating whether any of the plot was based on historical fact or was all fictionalized using real historical figures.

I will recommend this to readers who like fast-paced historical fiction.

Thank you to Book Whisperer and NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Inspired by another book written by Warren Adler “Target Churchill”, this thriller involves the assassination attempts against Winston Churchill in 1933 Cuba and during the German Blitz on London by IRA sharpshooter, Marcus Riley, who was looking for revenge for the poor treatment of the Irish by the British. His orders came from Germany. But Winston was never alone, everywhere he went, tenaciously shadowing him was Walter Thompson, his thrusted bodyguard.

This intriguing plot explores the lack of popularity of Churchill and the plans assassinations on his life. It read much as nonfiction however it is definitely fiction, although multiple attempts were made during his time has Prime Minister, those describes in this story did not occurred.

Following Thompson trying to find Riley is quite a ride, action packed and exiting and the gripping narrative brings everything alive and is a joy to read. The author recreated scenes in England during the Blitz that is chilling and heartbreaking. The atmosphere, characterization and the presentation are top notch.

This taut thriller should please most historical fiction buff. I for one was glued to every word as the story unfolded eager to see if Riley would reach his target and end his mission...I like this determined villain...

Thank you to the Book Whisperer for providing me with this ARC

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I had the opportunity to read this book thanks to the kind folks at Net Galley and the author, Alex Abella.

The story behind this book is a series of plots to assassinate Winston Churchill, the leader of the free world in the early years of World War II. The first plot involves an IRA assassin, Marcus Riley, who stumbles across Churchill while he is on a visit to the island nation of Cuba in the early-to-mid 1930s and the second plot takes during the early years of the Blitz in London.

The assassin, Marcus Riley, cannot believe his luck! Running into that hated man in a jewelry shop in Havana! His attempts are thwarted by a member of Scotland Yard (and Churchill's bodyguard) named Thompson who shadows Winston everywhere.

In the years following Riley's first attempt to assassinate Winston Churchill, he ends up living in America amongst the Irish immigrants and sympathizers of the IRA.

Years later, during the Blitz, Marcus Riley is involved in yet another attempt to assassinate Winston Churchill as he is sent back to England to aid and abet in a plot to eliminate the major thorn in Adolph Hitler's side.

The story is riddled with spies that one would never expect. Churchill's opposition to the appeasement of Nazi Germany received little aristocratic support, least of all from his relative, Lord Londonderry. The diaries of Chips Channon, Lord Balcarres, and Harold Nicolson reveal that Churchill remained an anathema to many Tory aristocrats until he became Premier in 1940. Many of these aristocrats and other associated individuals (including his personal doctor) were either sympathetic to the National Socialism cause or were stalwarts of Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement. Many of these aristocrats assisted Marcus Riley in his mission to assassinate Churchill by providing financial and logistical support.

This piece of historical fiction brings Churchill and his intrepid bodyguard, Walter Thompson, and the conflicts in both eras come vividly to life creating a gripping narrative that fans of historical fiction would love. I would give this story a solid four stars.

As with all my literary ramblings, these are just a few of my five cents worth

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Great read! One of the best books I've read about Churchill, an intriguing leader during difficult times. Well done.

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My thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher of Mission Churchill for the opportunity to read an ARC of this work. I attest the following review is my original and unbiased work.

I normally read a lot of history/nonfiction, and Winston Churchill is one of my favorite subjects. When I saw this historical fiction novel by Alex Abella and what looked to be a very interesting plot I knew I wanted to give it a read and I'm glad I did.

Mission Churchill is actually a prequel to a work by the late author Warren Adler and James Humes who wrote the book Target Churchill. Adler is best remembered for his book entitled The War of the Roses. I have not read Target Churchill, but after reading Mission Churchill will likely add it to my to-read list. Both books are concerned with assassination plots to kill Churchill. The plot for Mission Churchill begins in the 1930s in Cuba while Target Churchill is based on post-WWII events where the Stalin regime goes after the former Prime Minister. Along with Churchill, another prominent character in both books is bodyguard Walter H. Thompson.
A host of other historical figures are mentioned in the book adding to the flavor of the plot.

In Mission Churchill, Thompson almost takes center stage as the man trying to protect Churchill and find the person(s) out to kill Churchill. There is a lot of suspense that starts in Cuba and the action picks up years later in England. Hitler, Nazis, members of the British government, and Irish Republican Army sympathizers all have a role in the plot to murder Churchill.

There is also several sex scenes in the book which was not expected, and the ones involving Churchill quite funny to me. I don't know that it added to the plot of the book at all but it certainly made it clear this was historical fiction! Both Churchill and Thompson find themselves in brief but torrid affairs with Cuban women during their time in Havana, with some surprising revelations.

I found the book engaging and give it 4.25 stars rounded down to 4.0.

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Although this novel focuses on the mission to kill Winston Churchill, the main protagonist is his bodyguard, Thompson. Guarding any celebrity or political leader is challenging enough. But when the person is Winston Churchill, the bar goes up. Not only is he erratic and unpredictable, but there are a lot of people who want him dead! First, there's Germany. They see killing Churchill as the leader of last country blocking their domination of Europe. Then there is Ireland, which has historically hated the English in their desire for freedom. When they both team up, things don't look good for Churchill. But do they really want Churchill dead or do they wish for a more sinister and strategic fate for the Prime Minister?

I wasn't familiar with the backstory for this book. But it serves as the prequel for another book dealing with Churchill as a target.

This was a great read. The plot is well developed and unpredictable. The characters are well-developed and inviting. The writing style was wonderful with a blend of suspense and a bit of romance. I highly recommend this book.

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An interesting work of historical fiction dealing with attempts to assassinate Winston Churchill and how those attempts were thwarted, often by his personal bodyguard, Walter Thompson. Much of the story is set during WWII and involves a plot between German leaders and sympathizers/appeasers in the British government to paralyze Churchill -- keep him alive but make him ineffective as a leader. However, the story starts off in Cuba, where Churchill is present for the coup/people's revolution that overthrows the Machado government and will eventually bring to power Batista (who will later suffer the same fate). In Cuba is an Irish ex-pat, Marcus Riley, who attempts to seize the opportunity to rid the world of Churchill. This plot will not succeed, but their paths will cross again years later. In addition to the political drama, there is plenty of personal drama, with marital strife, affairs, a possible "love child", new relationships, and revenge for past abuse. The plot against Churchill during WWII is rather intricate and creative. My favorite character is probably Cypher.

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Having read a number of nonfiction books about the talent and idiosyncrasies of Churchill it was indeed a pleasure reading through Alex Abella's fine fictional account of an attempt on the prime minister's life. His attention to detail and interesting subplots plus a host of interesting characters made for a very interesting read. You will enjoy the talented combination of fictional persuers and Churchill supporters. Each has their own agenda making for an exciting journey!

I have received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
Five Stars

Spencer Birt

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An assassin is after Winston Churchill in Cuba. The attack is thwarted. Years later, during WWII, he's back for another try.

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