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ALEX KOVACS

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Full Name: Alex Kovacs
Nationality: Czechoslovakian
Organization: Czech Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Richard Wake
Time Span: 2018 - 2024

ABOUT THE SERIES

Alex Kovacs is a freelance operative.

That is the best I can describe his situation. However, it is not so much that he works for whomever might be paying him. Rather, it is whoever is available to assist him in his fight against the Nazis.

"I was a magnesite salesman, which is about as exciting as it sounds. My family owned a mine in Czechoslovakia. My father ran the business, and my s**t of a younger brother sat at his elbow. I lived in Vienna and serviced 24 of our clients in Germany and Austria, visiting twice a year, about 120 days on the road altogether. My Uncle Otto, who taught me the business, kept a half-dozen clients in his semi-retirement."

That is how Kovacs describes himself to us when we first meet him. The years is 1937 and tensions politically are extremely tense in both Czechoslovakia where Kovacs was born and raised and to whom he knows he owes allegiance and in Austria where he has lived for past half dozen or more years. There are a lot of people like him that fear the ever-rising threat of German aggression but there are many others who long for it. This means that even as he keeps a wary eye on the border, he also has to watch out for brown-shirts in his own streets, despite their having been banned.

It is in this condition that Kovacs, a man who makes frequent trips throughout Austria and Germany as part of sales route, learns of his beloved uncle's suspicious death and he is approached by Czech Intelligence to unofficially work for them. As he begins to look into the former he agrees to do the latter.

As time very quickly advances, so do the German forces and with the fall of both his homeland and his home in 1938, his espionage work will continue but the people he will be assisting will change from governmental departments to the Resistance.

BOOKS

Number of Books:12
First Appearance:2018
Last Appearance:2024

1 Vienna At Nightfall Vienna At Nightfall
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2018

It is around 1937. Alex Kovacs has just learned that his favorite uncle and a force in the company the family ran has died. As he starts to grieve he is asked by his home country's intelligence bureau to work for them during his routine business trips in Germany. He is willing to do so because as most in Austria where he lives, the looming Nazi threat is frightening. However, when he tries to learn more about his uncles's death, he has to deal with a very untrusting Gestapo captain.
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2 The Spies Of Zurich The Spies Of Zurich
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2018

The year is 1939. Alex Kovacs is living in Switzerland since his home of Austria and his homeland of Czechoslovakia have both fallen to Germany. Though he is now employed in a bank and very much in love, Kovacs is still part of the underground intelligence network. Unfortunately, the news he is learning is something no one wants to believe.
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3 The Lyon Resistance The Lyon Resistance
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2018

The year is 1940. Germany has conquered the Low Countries and France has fallen. Alex Kovacs and his new wife, Manon, have traveled to her home in Lyon where they want to continue their espionage work as they help to create a Resistance cell.
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4 The Limoges Dilemma The Limoges Dilemma
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2019

After an attempt to smuggle Alex Kovacs and his wife out of the Lyon region where the Gestapo was after them, Kovacs must deal with horrible grief when only he makes it. Trying to struggle on, he must deal also with competing Resistance groups as he takes part in sabotage and assassinations and learns to do things he never thought he would.
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5 Paris In Disguise Paris In Disguise
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2019

It is 1943. In France, the lives of Resistance members are proving very short but is it because of good German hunting skills or are they being betrayed from within? Alex Kovacs is now in Paris where he agrees to go undercover to infiltrate the Gestapo.
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6 The Agony Of France The Agony Of France
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2020

Working temporarily with a Jewish cell in the Resistance, Alex Kovacs takes part in a mass killing of German soldiers but the horrible reprisals by the Nazis finds him and many colleagues in Drancy, the French prison used as a way-station to the concentration camps.
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7 To Normandy And Beyond To Normandy And Beyond
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2021

"As the stakes grow at the end of the war, as the Allies invade France on D-Day and as Paris erupts in violence and reprisals, Alex is in the middle of all of it, fighting and wondering. From the unexpected tragedy of Lisieux, to the indescribable horror of a small town along the Seine, to the street fighting and score-settling in the heart of Paris, Alex battles to survive while trying to make sense of it all."
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8 The Alpine Pursuit The Alpine Pursuit
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2022

"The war is over, and Alex Kovacs has returned to his home in Vienna after his years of fighting for the French Resistance. But in Vienna, he feels anything but home. Alex is adrift until an unexpected employment offer arrives from an old friend. The job is to join up with a new intelligence agency staffed mostly by former German military men and supported by the United States, which needs their contacts in the east. His first task, though, is personal: to find the Gestapo agent who ruined his life in many ways, an unrepentant Nazi attempting to escape to South America through the Alps along the infamous rat line."
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9 Adrift In Istanbul Adrift In Istanbul
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2022

"In a city perched between East and West, and with the Cold War growing colder every day, people are still getting killed because of the last war.
Hitler is dead, Germany is dismembered, the entire Western intelligence operation is focused on the growing Soviet threat — and yet, there are people in Istanbul who remain fixated on a war that was supposed to be over. Fixated, and firing away. It is in this maelstrom that Alex Kovacs finds himself in a new thriller"
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10 Budapest in Pieces Budapest in Pieces
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2023

"Alex Kovacs, an ordinary man and an extraordinary spy, has been dispatched to Budapest with a task that is both simple and complicated. In the years after World War II, it went without saying that the Communists were in charge in Hungary. There was no disputing that reality. But in a nation that ping-ponged between the Communists and the Nazis over the previous decades -- and in a city divided not only by the Danube River but by the brutal memories of the war -- Alex was given the job of finding a way to give the West a peek into the hierarchy that ran what had become a major Cold War foe."
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11 Escape From Estonia Escape From Estonia
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2023

"Alex finds himself in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, doing the kind of Cold War espionage work — chronicling train arrivals and shipments and the like — that is mundane on the one hand but viewed as vital in the struggle against Soviet oppression. The complications are numerous, though, because of Estonia’s recent history: taken over by the Soviets, and then by the Nazis, and then by the Soviets again, all in the space of a few years. The result is a kind of national dizziness, as people who cozied up to the Soviets, and then the Nazis, and then the Soviets again, attempt to look their neighbors in the eye without tumbling over. And even years after the end of World War II, the fight against Nazism seemingly won, the Hitler-lovers remain as unkill-able as cockroaches."
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12 Bucharest Unbound Bucharest Unbound
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2024

"Alex has been sent to Bucharest, Romania. He works for the Gehlen Organization, a group of former German officers — and Nazis of various flavors — who are angling for a chance to be the intelligence arm of West Germany. Since the end of World War II, the Gehlen Org has received most of its funding from the American intelligence community because of its ability to supply something to the Commie-obsessed Americans that they can’t get anywhere else: intelligence sources behind the Iron Curtain; boots on the Communist ground."
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NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:1
First Appearance:2021
Last Appearance:2021

1 Ominous Austria Ominous Austria
Written by Richard Wake
Copyright: 2021

"This novella is a prequel to the Alex Kovacs thriller series. Set in Vienna in the 1930s, it paints a picture of a city and a country on the edge of crisis — of a parliament that has ceased to function, of political factions on the left and right that have assembled private armies to push their agendas. And when it all explodes in a short, violent civil war, Alex Kovacs finds himself forced to confront the reality of his crumbling homeland. The rest of the series takes us from Anschluss to World War II and beyond — but this is the opening act, the first test for Alex, the first time this everyman will have to decide exactly how involved in the conflict he wants to become, and what might be possible for a solitary man to accomplish while in the middle of a battle between Nazis and Socialists on the streets of Vienna."

MY COMMENTS

I was intrigued from the very beginning to see the War, especially the Resistance to the Nazis during that period, from the point of view of a nation that I had not seen before (that I can remember). The Czech people had more than enough reason to hate the Nazis and this author presents an almost daily reminder of it.

The progression of time from just before the horrible agreement that all but ensured Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia through the entire War and, as of this writing, the period just after the War is fantastic.

The realism that the author brings is fantastic, all told through one man's perspective.

GRADE

My Grade: A-

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