As I’m finishing the final tweaks on WIRED, I’ve begun research for the Jade Weekes follow-up novel ENIGMA.
If you’ve been following my tweets of late or if you’re a history buff, you’ll have recognized the reference to the WWII German code machine. Enigma also describes a person of puzzling or contradictory character which is a perfect description of Jade Weekes.
In WIRED, she has amnesia, an unusual depth of knowledge for art and security systems (which makes her an excellent thief) and is haunted by vivid nightmares that can only hint at what may have caused her memory loss. I won’t give away the plot, but by the end of WIRED she knows her real identity… for the most part.
In ENIGMA, she and John Young will partner to track down a killer and uncover a half century of secrets. The story will take them across Germany and Austria, follow them as they probe bunkers under Dover Castle and reveal a different side of the war.
The idea for ENIGMA began about a year ago when I came across a news article concerning the repatriation of stolen art from WWII.
Hitler, once an aspiring artist, was denied entry into the The Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Later, when he rose to power, he ordered master works confiscated from Jewish families and from museums of occupied areas. He had a clear idea of what he wanted in his Führermuseum, collecting only the best masterpieces and none of the works he labeled as degenerate. The degenerate works included masterpieces by Picasso, Marc Chagall, James Ensor, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Vincent van Gogh… any works of modern influence or impressionism. Rather than destroy the pieces, Nazi officials sold them at public auction and poured the money into their war machine. Since the late 1930’s, these works have changed hands, disappeared and were added to the collections of some of the best museums in the world. Amazingly, some of them are finding their way back to the descendents of the original owners.
There are so many heroes we never hear about… those who ‘did their bit’ for the war effort. The remnants of WWII are still around us. Stories of German U-boats off the North Carolina shore and spies coming into port to eat and see American movies and perhaps pick up information are still told. If you vacation in Britain, you may find yourself frustrated with the lack of town signs and road markers. During the war, these were removed so German paratroopers would not know their location. It is a war that has become ingrained in our shared consciousness across borders and time.
Jade understands that. For her, art is akin to time travel. Looking at a skewed Dali image, she is looking through a window showing his unique view of a world gone mad.