I think it was the connection to Teddy Roosevelt that first drew me to this thriller. In high school my American history teacher considered him one of our greatest Presidents. The more I learn about TR (as my teacher called him), the more he has impressed me.
In Shadowland by Timothy Ashby centers on Seth Armitage, a Bureau of Investigation agent (the original name of the FBI), who investigates the death of Teddy Roosevelt's youngest son, Quentin in WWI. I had never heard of Quentin Roosevelt, but when I researched his death, it seemed to me that it should have been investigated. That's why I accepted a free review copy of In Shadowland from Stephanie Nelson, a book marketer who also is a certified canine massage therapist. This has nothing to do with the book, but it did sound like a worthy profession especially if you live with a dog who has arthritic joints.
As expected, a number of Roosevelts and J. Edgar Hoover appear in this book. I hadn't expected Adolf Hitler to be as prominent a character as he turned out to be. With all the assassination conspiracies that swirled around Hitler even before he became the dictator of Germany, you would think that one of them would have been successful. Timothy Ashby provides a speculative theory about the rise of Hitler along with his hypothetical explanation of what really happened to Quentin Roosevelt. I thought that the conjectures presented by Ashby seemed very credible and well-researched.
Armitage is portrayed as having principles which he had to violate under the orders of J. Edgar Hoover whose main interest in Armitage's mission appeared to be the acquisition of additional blackmail material that he could hold over the Roosevelts. Based on what I've read about Hoover in non-fiction sources, I consider Ashby's depiction of him quite accurate.
The only woman who was central to the plot of In Shadowland was a spy who hid her true loyalties. There were points when I admired her, but she could be quite ruthless in the service of her cause.
I considered Armitage a heroic character. His conflict between doing his duty and his sense of ethics made him even more sympathetic.
In Shadowland connected the dots for me by giving me pieces of the historical puzzle that I was missing. I recommend it to people who are interested in events and historical personages between the two world wars.