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ODESSA, as stated by Forsyth in the foreword, has nothing to do with the Ukrainian port, but is the acronym for "Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen", in English "Organization of Former Members of the SS", an organisation that may or may not have existed to protect former SS members.
Set in 1963 (starting on the night of the Kennedy assassination), the novel follows Peter Miller, a German journalist investigating the suicide of a Jewish man in Hamburg. Miller acquires his diary and sets out to find Eduard Roschmann, the former commandant of the Riga concentration camp. As he does, he discovers a plot to destroy Israel using German electronics and Egyptian bio-weapons...
This work contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation
- Anonymous Ringer, averted: Eduard Roschmann, aka "The Butcher of Riga", really existed. The movie, where he is killed, led to his arrest, unlike in the book. Roschmann fled to Paraguay and died in 1977.
- It also features as a character the late, great Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal.
- Arab-Israeli Conflict
- Butterfly Effect: It is stated that if Miller had not seen the ambulance, Israel would have been destroyed by bio-weapons in the Six-Day War of 1967.
- Did Not Do the Research: rather odd for an otherwise well-researched book, but you can't poison any land with cobalt without an attached nuclear weapon. Which brings a bit of doubt about the Odessa/Egyptian plan to destroy Israel with rockets, though there were no problems with biowarfare rockets.
- It's Personal: that Wehrmacht captain Roschmann shot? His name was Miller.
- Kansas City Shuffle: Miller isn't acting out of the goodness of his heart.
- Nazi Hunter: Several of these, ranging from the protagonist to the Jewish vigilante group he encounters, as well as some real life cameos such as Simon Wiesenthal.
- Those Wacky Nazis
- You Killed My Father: The real reason Peter Miller assists the Mossad in infiltrating ODESSA.