On a peaceful Sunday afternoon, Arthur Rowe comes upon a charity fete in the gardens of a Cambridgeshire vicarage where he wins a game of chance. If only this were an ordinary day. Britain is under threat by Germany, and the air raid sirens that bring the bazaar to a halt expose Rowe as no ordinary man. Recently released from a psychiatric prison for the mercy killing of his wife, he is burdened by guilt, and now, in possession of a seemingly innocuous prize, on the run from a nest of Nazi spies who want him dead.
Pursued on a dark odyssey through the bombed-out streets of London, he becomes enmeshed in a tangle of secrets that reach into the dark recesses of his own forgotten past. And there isn’t a soul he can trust, not even himself. Because Arthur Rowe doesn’t even know who he really is.
“A storyteller of genius,” Graham Greene composed his serpentine mystery of authentic wartime espionage—and one the author’s personal favorites—while working for MI6 (Evelyn Waugh). But The Ministry of Fear “is more than a mere thriller . . . [it’s a] hypnotic moonstone of a novel” (The New York Times).