Duty and Betrayal: The SS Brotherhood and the NASA Connection by Toby Oliver is a riveting Cold War-era spy thriller in which former Nazi spies, American and British spies, a sultry double agent, and other intriguing characters are bent on righting the wrongs of the past, while trying to protect their countries in the present, many with conflicting objectives. A novel of well-drawn characters, Duty and Betrayal will have you continually trying to guess at people’s motivations.
The cover and subtitle of the novel are a bit misleading, as they give the appearance of a non-fiction work, when this is a spy thriller through and through. At the same time, it is written with a thorough knowledge of the time period and the inner workings of intelligence agencies, so it reads like a non-fictional account with the spirit of a thriller. To be sure, this is a complex story with a large cast of characters, which takes a fair bit of investment, but Oliver skillfully weaves it all together at a quick pace.
Non-fiction from this era often-times reads like spy fiction – for example, The Zimmerman Telegram by Barbara Tuchman. Oliver reaches those sorts of heights with this novel, but he playfully adds enough double crosses to satisfy any thriller reader, while still retaining an authentic depiction of the time.