The Torqued Man
Jan 11th, 2022
The Torqued Man by Peter Mann blends history with some humor. It has two unlikely characters, who became frenemies, a German spy handler and a former IRA agent.
“It was inspired by a real historical figure, Frank Ryan. He led Irish fighters going over to Spain to fight Fascism. He, just like my character Frank Pike, was captured, sentenced to death, had his sentence commuted, and left to rot in prison until 1940. The German intelligence told him they would free him if he helped coordinate Ireland resistance with the planned invasion of Britain.”
Set in Berlin during the last three years of the war, the story is centered around two manuscripts found in the rubble after the Allied bombings. One is the journal of a German military intelligence officer, Adrian de Groot. He discusses his relationship with his asset who became his friend and sometimes lover, Irishman Frank Pike. Groot writes that Pike is a charismatic IRA fighter imprisoned in Spain by the Fascists. Alternatively, Pike’s manuscript showed him as an Allied saboteur whose mission was to assassinate high-ranking Nazi doctors including Hitler’s personal physician.
“Central to the story is World War II. Groot worked for German military intelligence. He is an anti-Nazi cowed into silence and is now working for the Nazi government. He is also a gay man who has kept his sexuality under wraps in Nazi Germany. Pike made a deal with the devil by agreeing to help the Nazis. It starts out with the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Groot and Pike met after the Irishman was taken from his Spanish prison to train and prepare him to create anti-English sentiment among the Irish. But the English also approach him to become a spy against Germany. In essence, Pike becomes a double agent, playing off both sides.
“Groot is reserved, tightly wound, and reins in his inclinations. Pike is larger than life, cynical, and gregarious. They both love literature and inspire each other in unforeseen ways. It is a tale of unrequited love. Pike ends up shaping Groot’s life in a deep way. Although Groot loved Pike it was not reciprocal. As time passes their relationship becomes much more personal, much deeper, more genuine, and more complicated.”
“I hope readers get an understanding of the complexity of resistance. The grim choices these characters must face. The anguish of difficult choices plus a few laughs among the way. Pike’s IRA background makes him an attractive asset for the Germans initially.”
Pike is based on the Gaelic folk hero Finn McCool, Pike’s alter ego so readers get a glimpse into Irish mythology. They also get an eye’s view of what was happening in Berlin during the war.