WHEN CASABLANCA WAS IN TURKEY

Istanbul.

suspense, romantic thriller, spies, CasablancaIt was Byzantium to the Romans, Constantinople to Justinian when he built his masterpiece, the Sancta Sophia.

Later, Ottoman conquerors built the great mosques that still soar above the Golden Horn. The Tower of Justice rises from the cypress trees on Seraglio Point where the sultans once kept their harems.

Yet 70 years ago this most beautiful of all the world’s cities was about to be bombed into oblivion. Somehow Turkey managed to stay out of the World War Two, despite the best efforts of London and Berlin to drag them into it.

Istanbul became a neutral city, much like Bogart and Bergman’s Casablanca.

suspense, romantic thriller, spies, CasablancaThe dark cobbled streets and ancient bazaars became the battleground for countless spies. It was a strange war.

Intelligence services of over a dozen  nations intrigued against themselves as they did each other; Hitler’s secret service (the SD) believed their biggest enemies were not the Americans, but their own military intelligence service, the Abwehr.

British SOE agents despised the mandarins in Whitehall more than they hated the Germans.

The British Foreign Service was absolutely compromised. 

suspense, romantic thriller, spies, Casablanca

Kim Philby

Many Oxford graduates were in the Aylesbury Club, and virulently anti-communist; but certain Cambridge old boys, like Philby and McLean, were in the pay of the Soviets and virtually took over MI6 in Eastern Europe.

Outside the Topkapi palace on Seraglio Point there is a gate that has niches high in the walls where the Sultans displayed the severed heads of traitors.

Four hundred years later there were so many traitors in the city a dozen gates could not have accommodated them all. 

When the head of German military intelligence, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, tried to pursue a truce with England he made approaches through diplomatic connections in Istanbul. It could have brought the war to an end before D-Day and saved tens of thousands of Allied lives. But he was rebuffed. Why?

Because MI6 was thoroughly infiltrated by the Russians – and Stalin didn’t want the war to end until he’d annexed half of Europe.

suspense, romantic thriller, spies, Casablanca Meanwhile other cliques in the British secret service in the Balkans betrayed resistance members in Greece and Romania to the Germans – even compromising some of their own agents who were working beside them – because they didn’t want the communists taking over those countries after the war.

It was a very dirty business, played out in one of the most  beautiful and romantic cities in the world; a breathtaking backdrop of ancient wooden houses, soaring minarets, and golden sunsets.

It is where Nick Davis meets Daniela Simonici in spring, 1940. He finds it very easy to fall in love with this beautiful and mysterious woman; but much harder to discover who she is, where she’s from and what she believes.

ISTANBUL is free for the next three days on AMAZON. A bestseller in Europe, it’s the first time it’s been made available in the UK and US.

suspense, romantic thriller, spy thriller, Casablanca

I’D LOVE YOU TO SUBSCRIBE TO MY EMAIL LIST – IT’S DIFFERENT TO SUBSCRIBING TO THE BLOG, YOU’LL GET THE CHANCE TO GET FREE BOOKS AND OFFERS.

LAST MONTH SUBSCRIBERS GOT A FREE COPY OF OPIUM – AND THERE’S MORE NEW OFFERS COMING UP VERY SOON.

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Holy Week, Easter, Spain

COLIN FALCONER

About colinfalconer

author of bestselling historical novels like Anastasia, When We Were Gods, Aztec and Harem. My books have been published in the UK, US and ANZ and translated into seventeen languages.
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6 Responses to WHEN CASABLANCA WAS IN TURKEY

  1. Jan says:

    When I heard Istanbul, it conjured up visions of beauty, a feeling of mystery and romance, I could almost smell incense and spice, see silks and jewels. Now you’ve brought it to us. Mahalo again Colin!

    • Istanbul remains one of my favourite cities in the world. Walking the streets it really is like that. In many ways it’s a better setting for a spy story than Casablanca!

  2. www.annvictoriaroberts.co.uk says:

    Would love to take advantage of this offer – and have often thought that of other kindle freebies. In fact I’ve only managed to download one free book and am not quite sure how I did it. Maybe I’m blind but can’t see how or where ‘click here for free book’ is on the Amazon page! And I like spy stories too….

    • Let me know if you have any problems and I’ll guide you through the process. Sorry I’m late getting back to you, I was away and stayed longer than I thought I would …

  3. filbio says:

    Love reading all the history you place into your posts leading up to the books you write. Terrific background for them.

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