Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Lucifer’s Game by Cristina Loggia. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour. You can read an extract from the book below.
About the Book
Rome, 1942. Cordelia Olivieri is a young, determined hotel owner desperate to escape Mussolini’s racial persecution. But as Fascist leaders gather in Rome, Cordelia is suddenly surrounded by the world’s most ruthless and powerful commanders.
In an effort to keep her Jewish heritage a secret and secure safe passage out of Italy, Cordelia forms a dangerous alliance with the British army who want to push the Axis out of North Africa once and for all.
Going undercover, Cordelia begins obtaining and leaking military intelligence to a British agent, hoping the intel will secure her freedom. But the more Cordelia uncovers, the greater the risks – especially for one handsome German Afrika Korps officer.
How far must Cordelia go to protect her identity and secure passage out of Rome?
Format: ebook (340 pages) Publisher: Lume Books
Publication date: 14th October 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction
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Extract from Lucifer’s Game by Cristina Loggia
Gazala, North Africa, June 1942
Erwin Rommel removed the goggles that had been sheltering his eyes from the desert sand, stepped out of his Horch armoured cabriolet and walked to the edge of the cliff perched over the East Mediterranean Sea. He was a sober man, of medium height. His sharp, inquisitive eyes scanned the horizon as if his next military target were due north, rather than west. His gaze remained fixed across the water.
In a day that was coming to an end, the General inhaled a deep breath of the fresh and humid air blowing from the sea, a sudden relief from the heat of a scorching and unforgiving North African sun. His lungs felt an immediate balsamic cooling. The evening dew was starting to appear on the few blades of surviving grass. He could hear the soft backwash of the waves crashing on the narrow beach at the bottom, foamy and shining in the glow of the last rays of light.
Von Mellenthin, his intelligence officer, had travelled with him up there, just outside Gazala, after a twenty-minute car trip on the road along the rugged east coast of town. He handed the General a cup of mint tea that Rudolf Schneider, Rommel’s driver, had rushed to pour from a field thermos as soon as they stopped. The Desert Fox, as he came to be known for his daring manoeuvres that routinely outwitted an enemy in far greater number, had adopted this habit from the Berber tribes that had been roaming over those lands for centuries. He found the drink quite refreshing, despite the heat of the liquid.
Von Mellenthin lit a cigarette, observed the spiral of smoke that came out from his lips, then looked at Rommel. He wondered if a Roman General, or a Persian, or even a Carthaginian Commander before him, had stood in that same vantage point to admire the vastness of the sea, while plotting his next move. Time and time again, Libya had been a land of conquest by the powerful empires of the ancient past, and now it was the turn of the mighty Third Reich.
Rommel turned around and began to observe the hauntingly beautiful dunes of the desert. A hawk was screaming, high in the silent, clear sky, which was rapidly turning to a deeper blue now. What a stark contrast with its earlier blinding whiteness, the clouds of dust and the infernal noise of the heavy artillery in the battle that had raged until a few hours before.
The Panzers of the German Afrika Korps and the Italian Ariete Division tanks had defeated the Eighth Army of the British Forces, which was left flying in disorder. In a relentless attack, his men, fighting like devils, had conquered the all-important Gazala line, west of Tobruk, taking a substantial number of enemy prisoners. A landslide, an overwhelming victory, achieved despite the desperate situation of his supply lines: Rommel had been receiving a third of what was necessary.
That’s what was on his mind right now. And he was furious.
About the Author
Cristina started her career as a newspaper reporter for L’Eco di Biella and La Provincia di Biella in Piedmont, Italy. After a spell running the press office of an MP, she moved to London, where she worked for several years as a public affairs and media relations professional, advising major multinational corporations on communications campaigns. Cristina read English Literature and Foreign Languages at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy. Writing and reading have always been her greatest passion. Lucifer’s Game is her first fiction novel. She currently lives with her husband in Berkshire, United Kingdom.
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