Warren Adler

Target Churchill Bestsellers, Books, Historical Fiction

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All about this novel

318 pages

A thriller torn from the pages of history.

As Great Britain and the United States celebrate a victorious end to WWII, Joseph Stalin’s relentless Soviet Union is spreading across Eastern Europe leaving a trail of devastation and murder in its wake. Winston Churchill, the cigar-puffing icon of the British fighting spirit embarks on a crusade to lift the veil of secrecy that hangs over Stalin’s Soviet Union. Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri sets the diplomatic stage upon which the world’s political players grapple for supremacy as Churchill delivers his fated Iron Curtain speech on March 5th 1946.

Soviet operatives have infiltrated British and American governments at the highest level. As Churchill prepares to deliver his Iron Curtain speech that will launch the Cold War, Stalin unleashes his trained mole, an American Nazi who served in Hitler’s SS. His mission: Assassinate Winston Churchill.

Churchill travels with a lone bodyguard, W.H. Thompson, a former British police officer who protected Churchill faithfully through the turbulent years of war. Thompson alone senses danger, but will his trained instincts and vigilance be enough to protect the former Prime Minister from a ruthless killer? In this gripping historical thriller, battles are fought not on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields, on the streets or in the hills, but behind closed doors in the shadows of espionage.

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“Well Written”

Eric Birk:

Target Churchill was well written and I was pleased that the author paid meticulous attention to factual history and used artistic license with people that actually existed. He used all of the proper nuances needed to make one scratch their chin and say hmmmm. Could this have really happened?

I was particularly happy with the authors use of complex sentences. I enjoy seeing someone that can artistically convey complex thoughts without having editors chop them up like Dick and Jane books for public consumption. To me, it’s a ray of hope to see another author use them effectively.

I loved to hate the antagonist, Fritz Mueller; yet I found myself looking forward to the next chapter where he would show his face. I found myself craving to know what he was up to now. I was also constantly wondering how they would finally discover the conspiracy that he was a part of, or how they would be able to stop him.

I thought he used Irony well in how had Beria eliminate Dimitrov much in the same way that Khrushchev would later eliminate Beria himself.
The climax was brilliant and nail-biting. I deliberately gave myself time to read the last four chapters, so that I would not have to put the book down in the middle of the action.

For people, like myself, that are alternate history thriller fans; this is a must read. I was drawn to it because the climax takes place in my home state of Missouri.

“An Outstanding Read!”

Well worth the Kendle (sic) price. A well written and thoroughly researched event surrounding Winston Churchill’s most controversial post-war speech.”

“The Eagle Has Landed Again…”

Despite being a student of history, therefore knowing the outcome, the book kept me enthralled and wanting to keep reading.
The authors nailed Churchill. I could see and hear him in every line they wrote.
For fans of history, particularly Churchill or just a mystery fan, I recommend this as a good read.

“Target Churchill’

Amazing description of the greatest statement who ever lived, and his most reliable aide too!!!

“Target Churchill – a great read”

Very readable book about an attempt on Churchill’s life which I had no idea about. Love the Churchill quotes. Had to keep stopping my reading to write them down. Very enjoyable. A definite page turner.

“Good Historical Novel”

I liked this book because it offered a glimpse of history during the cold war. Winston Churchill is bigger than life and this book allows the reader to understand this statemen as a human being.

“target churchill”

Most interesting view of history. Could not stop reading. Hated it to end. Still thinking about the ramifications of what might have been.

“Excellent Read”

I found this book both enthralling and intriguing. The combination of historical novel and non-fiction history gives the reader a thrilling read. Written from multiple points of view the novel provides a complete picture of the characters involved on the UK/US side and also the Soviet side.
Highly recommended for readers of both thrillers and historical novels.

“Target Churchill hits it’s mark”

This is a great book for a Churchill lover. Well written historical mystery novel about a man and time I hold high. Just enough elements of history to allow you to set aside your critic and enjoy the well developed characters. Moves along quickly, and is a good escape with enough reminder of a different time and challenges to make it worthwhile. Happy Reading

“World War II is almost over, but the Cold War is about to begin”

Great Book…does a great job of showing both how and why the cold war captivated the world. Could not put it down. Murder, love, hatred, prejudice, and honor all in the same book.

“Great Book!”

Intriguing, insightful, full of fascinating history, amazing twists and turns….Just a great read! This is the kind of book that makes learning really fun. Best book I’ve read this summer.

“Love the book”

Found Target Churchill entertaining and informative. Would like to find more books like this one.
Tried searching Amazon under historical novels but did not find any that I liked.

“Good Read!!”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I grew up in England during World War II ( was an evacuee) and met Mr. Churchill after the war. The author, in my opinion, gave an accurate characterization of Mr. Churchill. To me he was a man to be remembered and revered.

“Target Churchill”

For those of us who remember WWII and for those who weren’t born yet, this is a wonderful documentary about that time and about the very interesting Winston Churchill. A good read full of interesting facts about WWII and the leaders who were involved.

“Great Fictional Read”

You almost believe this book is non fiction because the author uses a lot of true life facts to weave into this story. I loved the book. It will satisfy your history craving as well as telling a great tale.

“Historical Novel”

I liked this book very much. I am old enough to remember many of the things referred to in this book. It brought back a lot of memories, some good, some bad.

“a good read”

Historically credible, fast paced, solid representation of characters in the story; very enjoyable. I recommend it to historical fiction fans.

“From Stettin to Trieste”


We all know the outcome of the story. We know what Churchill said at Westminster College in Missouri and know now that MacLean was a deep undercover Russian mole within the British embassy in Washington. That’s history. But what makes this book a wonderful read is that the authors weave in historical fact with perspectives of public opinion at the time and then thread in some very convincing fiction. So a book filled with well known facts jumps out of the page as a thriller. Its an engaging transformation.

…Read the book. You will enjoy it

“That we should be able to read history like this!”

Beautifully, tautly written – exciting, tense, fabulously crafted. Loved every minute of it and craved more. Characterizations were deeply portrayed and I admired the writing, the usage of language, and the way it was put. Loved every minute of it – and couldn’t put it down!

“Excellent Book, a must read”

This book transports you into the post war era just before the Cold War. It is difficult to separate the fiction from fact, as this is very well written to the point you believe it is a historical novel. Churchill our wartime hero is targeted by an assassin during a visit to the USA, accompanied by Truman the current president, you are presented with many options on how the attempt will play out. The author explores Churchill’s long time relationship with his bodyguard to prove that even in politics simple and trusting friendship are possible. Excellent book and is recommended as a must read.

“Good Combination of History and Thriller”

This book has a good combination of history, biographies and interesting plot. Reminds of Frederick Forsyth best novels.

“Excellent, Well-written”

I would recommend this book to any one who enjoys WWII type books. The characters come to life. I found myself really disliking the SS officer.

“Fun Read”

This was a fun read! It takes the reader on a fast paced adventure written from the perspective of the different characters. It doesn’t hurt that it includes some history. I enjoyed this book.

“Little known history”

I didn’t know about Churchill’s postwar years and the things he faced until I read this little known piece of history.

“Signed His (Own) Death Warrant”

This novel is the result of a masterful collaboration which produces a gripping suspense…. You will enjoy this read.

“Very clever indeed, and also a fun read”

Somewhere in the heat of the “Target Churchill” action I was shocked. Warren Adler does it again, I thought. He knocks out his reader after a meticulous buildup, after we get to know the characters. This is a clever novel by skillful authors, you can read this right in the line of Greene or Le Carré. It’s a tough story about the beginning of that tough time, the Cold War. “They will all have to learn the truth the hard way,” says Churchill and that says it all. See what you think.


Good story line. Lots of good data on one of the most interesting man of the 20th Century, Winston Churchill. Takes the reader into a little know story concerning the “Iron Curtain” speech.

“Worth the read if you like the origins of the Cold War”

Interesting story for an interesting time of history. Believable but nor really possible. If you like the Cold War this is a great beginning.

“Target Churchill was a good read”

It captured my attention with the “could this have really happened?” story and we likely would never have known. Well written and the suspense kept me involved until I turned the last page, and maybe a bit longer.

“Reads as a novel- apparently a true story”

I enjoyed reading this book. It shows a side of Churchill I didn’t know about, during the period when in between his two terms as PM. The authors weave a good story around an historic speech.

“Many History Lessons

This book has many inside details about Churchill and his family, and above all many lessons in history, many things I didn’t remember or didn’t know about the war. All in a very readable style. A good read.

“Post WWII Churchill Read”

If you enjoy historical fiction, your sure to be pleased with the storyline of Target Churchill. The plot is straight forward ( post war attempt to assassinate Churchill on US soil), blame the disgruntled Germans and give the Russians free reign to take eastern Europe without interference from it’s western allies. The characters were well developed and the story is well paced. A highly recommended read.


A fascinating, well-written work of historical fiction depicting an assassination attempt which might well have happened. A very good read.


Although there was some stretching of history (When Churchill first said “Iron Curtain” for example.) the story was entertaining, fast paced and well written.

“Good Read”

Good read for those who like historic fiction or just a good story.
Sparked my interest to read more about Churchill’s life and times.

“A Bit of History One Never Thinks Of”

I wanted a change from the series I am reading and have always been interested in the period just after World War II. This is a little-known tale, fleshed out with real people. It is an easy read and holds your interest most of the time. There are some dry parts but there are also some white-knuckle parts as well. I enjoy reading about Churchill at a time in his life when he was not so popular.

4 Stars

Historical mysteries and suspense novels have a double fascination for me. On one hand, I am able to learn more about historical figures and times past. On the other hand, I enjoy the suspense of trying to figure out how it all will end.
Target Churchill by Warren Adler and James C. Humes combines the best of historical and suspense novels with the added benefit of true events.

Churchill is targeted by a former SS officer who has been recruited by the Soviets. The time and place are actual: Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College in Missouri on March 5, 1946. Along with President Truman, Churchill heads for Missouri by train while preparing his speech, using a British Embassy secretary. But the assassin, Mueller/Miller, is also heading to Missouri. Churchill also brings his former bodyguard, who is concerned for the former Prime Minister’s safety.

Mueller/Miller’s path to assassination isn’t smooth; he is injured and diverted by a woman, and finds himself with difficult decisions to make. The British Embassy secretary doesn’t come off as a believable character, but it seems she was a real person.

At the end of the book, the authors tell what happened to all the major characters and when the died, all of whom seem to be actual living people. But is this what really happened to all of them in the spring of 1946? A clue might be found in the Shakespeare quote that introduces the book.

A quick and rewarding read, Target Churchill leads the reader along on a thrilling ride, up to the final moments. The only jarring note was the author’s (Humes’ ?) interjection of famous Churchill quotes and anecdotes, most of which I had heard before. Humes is a speechwriter and he writes about modern history, including several books featuring Churchill.

Now that I have read and enjoyed Target Churchill, I’ll be seeking out more Warren Adler books.

Is it possible there was an attempt made on Winston Churchill’s life while he gave his famous “Iron Curtain” speech here in Fulton at Westminster College in 1946? A newly published novel of historical fiction by veteran novelist and playwright Warren Adler explores this very notion. “Target Churchill” ponders the possibility of what might have been in the era when world leaders were still somewhat physically accessible to the public.

“Target Churchill” begins by introducing the man who, later in the story, is tasked with the mission to carry out the assassination. He’s an American by birth, but a radicalized Nazi SS man by choice. Captured by the Soviets while the Red Army made its victorious sweep to the west across Central Europe before linking up with British and American forces in Germany, Franz Mueller is offered the chance to avoid death at the hands of his captors if he agrees to become an agent cell of the Soviets in the U.S. His instructions are to keep a low profile in Washington D.C. until given instructions to carry out a mission to be determined. Once his future mission is complete, he will be free to ride off into the sunset, or so he’s assured.

Churchill, fresh off his stunning electoral defeat in the House of Commons and in a depressed state, is invited back onto the world stage by U.S. President Harry Truman for one day to accept an honorary doctorate and deliver a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He accepts after some prodding from his daughter Sarah and agrees to take along his trusted former bodyguard, W.H. Thompson, at the insistence of his wife Clementine.

Though not in office, Churchill is afforded the services of the British Embassy in Washington D.C., where the Soviets happen to have developed a spy in the form of a high ranking British diplomat. Churchill, who writes his own speeches, is offered secretarial services by the embassy, and through the efforts of this well-placed spy, Joseph Stalin has his hands on Churchill’s speech within hours of its writing, a couple of days before it is to be delivered. So incensed are the Soviets by the content of Churchill’s speech, as they are at this time still officially allies of both the U.S. and Great Britain, they decide to have him assassinated.

The Soviets want to silence Churchill, but don’t want to risk war at a time before they have yet to develop the atomic bomb by taking direct credit for the deed, so they decide to give the mission to their American former SS man based in Washington. The hit man is to carry out the murder using German made guns and ammunition, and if he’s caught, his background will provide the perfect motive and back story to suit their purpose.

The central drama of the novel unfolds on the day of Churchill’s historic visit to Fulton and while that is no doubt fun for those of us familiar with the town, I do wish Adler had included more detail about Fulton, the setting of Churchill’s fictionalized brush with a would be assassin.

“Target Churchill” is a fast moving cloak and dagger story that will reward Churchill fans and fans of fiction like Frederick Forsythe’s seminal novel of intrigue “Day of the Jackal,” of which I count myself one. As for locals just excited that a novel uses their hometown and its most famous singular event as a backdrop for fiction, they will have fun with this novel as well.

This review originally appeared in the print edition of the Fulton Sun on July 05, 2013.

This book transports you into the post war era just before the Cold War. It is difficult to separate the fiction from fact, as this is very well written to the point you believe it is a historical novel. Churchill our wartime hero is targeted by an assassin during a visit to the USA, accompanied by Truman the current president, you are presented with many options on how the attempt will play out. The author explores Churchill’s long time relationship with his bodyguard to prove that even in politics simple and trusting friendship are possible. Excellent book and is recommended as a must read.

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