Posted in 2021, ARC, First Read, historical fiction, literary fiction, NetGalley, nigel farndale

#TheDictatorsMuse by @nigelfarndale

From the bestselling author of The Blasphemer, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and a Richard & Judy Bookclub Pick

‘A masterly exploration of conflicting loyalties set against the 1936 Olympic Games. Sharply characterised, richly atmospheric and completely engrossing.’ JOHN PRESTON, author of THE DIG

It is the early 1930s, and Europe is holding its breath. As Hitler’s grip on power tightens, preparations are being made for the Berlin Olympics. Leni Riefenstahl is the pioneering, sexually-liberated star film-maker of the Third Reich. She has been chosen by Hitler to capture the Olympics on celluloid but is about to find that even his closest friends have much to fear. Kim Newlands is the English athlete ‘sponsored’ by the Blackshirts and devoted to his mercurial, socialite girlfriend Connie. He is driven by a desire to win an Olympic gold but to do that he must first pretend to be someone he is not. Alun Pryce is the Welsh communist sent to infiltrate the Blackshirts. When he befriends Kim and Connie, his belief that the end justifies the means will be tested to the core.
Through her camera lens and memoirs, Leni is able to manipulate the truth about what happens when their fates collide at the Olympics. But while some scenes from her life end up on the cutting room floor, this does not mean they are lost forever.


As she tried to close the car door a second time, Sigrun Meier sensed that someone was watching her.



(@TransworldBooks, 24 June 2021, 336 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)




This is a new author for me. I read a lot of historical fiction now and particularly enjoy books about WWII or the Nazi’s. The Dictator’s Muse focuses on aspects of Hitler and the Nazi’s and a perspective I haven’t encountered before so it offered something new. The chapters switched between the point-of-view of Leni, Kim and Alun, gradually revealing how they become entwined in each other’s lives and the darkness that links them, especially Kim and Alun as Kim is unaware how Alun truly came to part of his life and what his sinister motivations are. I found this well-written, engrossing and intense at times as the book heads deeper into darkness. I thought this was a terrific read.


I live in Glasgow in the UK with my partner. I work in the Financial Services. I like reading especially Joyce Carol Oates and Stephen King. I write fiction and poetry. I enjoy watching TV (Grimm, Torchwood, Doctor Who, Lip Service, The L Word etc). I like to play video games and am a fan of survival horror especially the Silent Hill franchise. I like to watch movies especially horror and anything where someone dies.

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