Sunday, 3 August 2014


It’s 1944. Feldmarschall Erwin Rommel, driven by Holden Caulfield-level disdain for everyone he’s ever met, especially incompetents and fat guys, decides to buy a bank and separate from Canada.  No wait, that can’t be right.  Let me check my notes.  He decides to surrender to the Allies.  While driving around France for pulse-pounding, edge-of-your-seat, white-knuckle meetings to discuss this plan, a plane shoots his car, forcing him out of the story.  Later, General George Patton (George C. Scott) arrives in France and discusses a truce with a different Wehrmacht general entirely.  It sounds good to Patton, but he has to kick the idea upstairs.  Will Stalin accept?  Yes, he will… not.  The end.

History is full of mysteries and imponderables, but none greater than this one: Why were some editions of this book called Hour of the Fox?


  1. And why not Patton and Rommel? It's Patton who is Rohmer's great hero, right?

    And why is it only in the United States that it's The Hour of the Fox? After all, Old Blood and Guts is a true American hero - Ronald Reagan tells us as much.

    Finally, why wasn't this book published in the UK?

  2. Brian -- Were there British editions of all the earlier books? In HTWAB$, Rohmer writes:

    In nine years (1973-1982), I wrote nine books that were best sellers in Canada... Each one became a best seller in competition with fiction and non-fiction books produced by writers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

    If you read that quickly enough, it seems like he's saying the books were best sellers outside of Canada, but he's not. Just that they were best sellers in Canada, even though Canada didn't ban all foreign literature, like North Korea. The best kind of bragging is the kind that gets less impressive the longer the braggart goes on.

    Writing staffs on bubble shows do this all the time, with the ratings, to cheer themselves up. "We're killing it with women between 12 to 35! And our lead-in was a rerun."

    1. As far as I can tell, only Patton's Gap and Massacre 747 (as Massacre 007) were published in Britain. So, no UK Exodis/UK, though there was a Japanese edition.

      The real surprise is just how few Rohmer titles have been published in the States. I'd imagined Exxoneration below Hawaiian Hellground (The Executioner #22) on Walgreen spinner racks. Instead, we have Pocket's Ultimatum - but, tellingly, not its sequel - then nothing until The Hour of the Fox.

      Why no Balls!, Periscope Red or Triad? Those were pretty much designed for the American market. You'd think some New York publisher would've been interested; instead, they were published by Beaufort, which was just General under a different name.

      Even they didn't bother with a mass market. No competition for The Executioner #77(Teheran Wipeout).

  3. So Patton's Gap, with it's anti-Montgomery conclusion, was published in the UK but couldn't find anyone in the US willing to take the chance?

    1. Yep. If only he'd called it Rommel's Gap.