Daddy by Loup Durand is a war-time thriller surrounding the pursuit of Thomas Von Gall, an eleven-year-old prodigy. Thomas holds the key to a fortune on which Nazi forces want to get their hands on. It is to Thomas’ genius and close allies to stay one step ahead of the Gestapo agents!
Here is my spoiler-free review of Daddy by Loup Durand.
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A Short Summary
The story begins with a brief explanation of this hidden fortune. From there, we learn about the key individuals involved in this fortune and those who desire it.
One of the key individuals is Maria Weber, Thomas’ mother. Another brilliantly intelligent character and a Gestapo target when it is learned that she holds the codes required to access this vast fortune they seek. However, Maria is as elusive as she is intelligent, keeping out of their reach.
However, Maria has a son she cares about and that’s when it becomes a lot more difficult to hide, especially since another great mind pursues them in Gregor Laemmle. An agent who enjoys an intellectual challenge and actively leads the pursuit throughout wartime Europe.
From beginning to end, suspense is high and every character is kept on their toes, trying to gain an upper hand over the other. The charm of adventure is there, but a reader is often brought back to reality when the stakes are high.
First, we have Maria Weber. Thomas’ mother and a mysterious figure. I have already said she is intelligent and elusive, but coupled with that are her beauty and startling gray eyes. Such a character shouldn’t be too hard to find, yet she manages just that, always making sure to cover her tracks.
Next, we have Thomas. Thomas is the protagonist in this novel and one with a heavy burden on his small shoulders. Being only eleven years old, Thomas has to show great strength not only mentally, but in spirit as well. That is something Thomas fights often, especially with the lives of those he cares about on the line. Despite these problems, Thomas is practical-minded and emotionally human, making him a likable protagonist.
Our main antagonist and pursuer, Gregor Laemmle is a curious character, in the sense, he is fuelled by his curiosity. Gregor takes great pride in his intelligence, but not much else. Having a lifestyle that is more than frowned upon by the Nazis and intelligence that gives him an incredible cynicism regarding the rest of the world, Gregor doesn’t see much to live for other than this welcome challenge of pursuing a pair of cunning individuals.
All these factors highlight Gregor’s selfish desire, and coupled with his coldness towards others, it makes him a dangerous villain.
Yet, there are a host of other important characters. From Javier, a bodyguard to Thomas and Maria, to Quatermain, Thomas’ father. These are great allies on this journey, whose stories you will discover. Again, I don’t want to say too much beyond the beginning of the story, but there are more important characters beyond Maria, Thomas and Gregor.
Durand’s writing style is descriptive. He takes his time to set the scene, put forward the thoughts of different characters, and explain concepts that are a bit more complicated. Yet, this is a thriller, so he knows when to switch styles to match the tone of the scene.
When the story becomes a bit more intense, the writing style is a lot more fast-paced lending urgency and dread to these moments, making them that much more impactful. One touch I admire in this story is when Thomas refers to his mother. Thomas loves his mother dearly to the point where he deifies her, as a result, her pronouns are written with a capital letter.
It’s a constant reminder of Maria’s importance to Thomas.
The novel does contain incredibly tense scenes and a handful of shocking ones. I would say that it is a story suitable for young adults and older, with a reading time of a week.
My Thoughts on Daddy
I found the novel gripping all the way through. The one thing I enjoyed was that the good guys and the bad guys feel pretty evenly matched. There are moments when I am left wondering who has the upper hand in some situations.
The characters are great and fitting for this kind of story. I didn’t think I would like to read the scenes with Thomas, as characters so young don’t tend to capture my interest in these kinds of stories. Yet, his situation and personality do just that!
As for the world itself, I think Durand did a great job in capturing wartime Europe. The occupations and conflicts are explained where necessary, but most of the focus is on the characters and their journey. It is only when they are in a place that requires explanation do you get a feeling of the general tension felt across Europe.
Death often occurs, which is only logical considering the stakes. Thomas and Maria have a connection to hundreds of millions of dollars, which is a lot of money today let alone in those times. Yet, there are plenty of characters willing to defy the enemy forces and the Gestapo agent. The feeling of ‘good vs evil’ is always there.
For a fictional story, it is very believable at times.
Overall, I thought Daddy was a great story. It’s far from the typical thriller. It was well-grounded which helped keep the suspense high.
If you enjoy reading smart thrillers or stories set in World War 2, then would enjoy reading Daddy by Loup Durand.
I hope you found this review helpful if you are considering reading the novel. If you are, here is a link to purchase it for yourself.
Thank you for reading and as always,
Good day, goodnight and happy reading!