League of Shadows


"Terpening's forte is action and there's plenty here. League of Shadows is a crackling good story."
          — Steve Berry, national bestselling author of The Amber Room, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Third Secret.

"League of Shadows is a smart, suspenseful novel in which the last secrets of an evil past must be revealed in order to save new victims in the present."
— Thomas Perry, national bestselling author of Pursuit
and other great thrillers.

“A first-rate adventure novel that entertains and informs, with an intriguing cast of characters, an engaging plot, and well-developed locales.”
          — Stephen Mertz, author of Nightwind and Fade to Tomorrow.

"With League of Shadows Ron Terpening has crafted an energetic, meticulously researched excursion into the world of classic wartime espionage. A great read."
          — Olen Steinhauer, author of The Bridge of Sighs, The
and 36 Yalta Boulevard.

"A masterful espionage thriller. Terpening weaves a tale of crackling suspense that will keep even the most demanding of readers rabidly turning the pages. Fans of Jack Higgins will be clearing space on their bookshelves for the work of this hot new author."
          — Brad Thor, national bestselling author of State of the Union, Path of the Assassin, The Lions of Lucerne, and Blowback (July 2005) .

"Ron’s first novel, Storm Track, was a treat to read for its page-to-page, chapter after chapter, explosive global chase scenes. Now, in his new historical spy thriller, League of Shadows, he’s more than up to his old tricks; he’s downright outdone himself, mixing time lines with ease and chases that make you feel you’re in a theater.
     I am a Terpening fan. His exotic settings alone are worth the read, sending me to places and times that are as alive with drama and humanity today as they were then. I am in the chase through an idyllic Italian countryside or sipping a cappuccino in an urban café of pre-World War II, then, moments later, sweating out the balm of a desert flood in the aromatic monsoon along the Arizona-Sonora border—all the while in some nerve-racking situation that makes me forget I’m actually reading a book.
     Terpening is a master of plot that cannot be easily anticipated yet flows smoothly, who brilliantly makes memorable his gamut of characters, the bad guys really bad but with edges of kindness, a main character with failings who’s not just the good guy but sympathetic—and all of them created with gusto. His words often resonate poetic; his description and attention to detail are astute as a journalist’s.
     If you’re a fan of World War II military history or an Edward Abbey-type southwest desert buff or if you just want to enjoy a terrific page-turner, League of Shadows is a must read. But read it when you don’t have to go to work the next day."
           — Ron Argo, author of The Year of the Monkey, a novel of Vietnam

"League of Shadows is a novel of suspense and intrigue. In Rome, 1943, three spies strived to infiltrate Italy's Fascist hierarchy and their secret police. Now, decades after that long-ago mission went horribly wrong, an unknown enemy is hunting the former secret agents down. Their one hope for survival is an ex-cop obsessed with his mission. An addictive read, weaving together human drive, determination, and betrayal into a gripping whole."
          — The Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch, The Fiction Shelf (December 2004). 

"Former policeman Nick Ferron is drawn into an international adventure after his grandfather's disappearance in the Colorado mountains. Thomas Gage was an OSS agent during World War II who attempted to infiltrate the OVRA, the Italian secret police under Mussolini's regime. In an effort to understand what happened to his grandfather, Ferron tries to track down the other people involved in the wartime mission. Using a complex structure that moves back and forth in time, Terpening (Storm Track) does an excellent job of keeping the concurrent stories clear, and his historical descriptions are well researched. Fans of Jack Higgins's thrillers will enjoy. For most public libraries. [Terpening, a language professor at the University of Arizona, is also a LJ reviewer.—Ed.]
          — Joel W. Tscherne, Cleveland P.L., in Library Journal, 129, no. 20 (December 2004), 103-104.

"How to thrill a thriller author" by Brad Thor, Special to The Daily Yomiuri (Japan).
". . . In 2004 . . . I discovered three fabulous authors whose books swept me away.
      The first is Jay MacLarty. . . .
      The second . . . is Didier Van Cauwelaert . . .
      Finally, there is League of Shadows by Ron Terpening. This fabulously written story revolves around Thomas Gage, a young operative in the CIA's precursor, the OSS. Gage has been sent to crack the files of Mussolini's secret police. The assignment goes horribly wrong, but the full impact is not felt until 50 years later, when Gage goes missing in the mountains of Colorado. His only hope of rescue is his grandson, a wayward ex-cop who must suspend everything he knows about himself and his family as he tries to locate his grandfather and right a wrong whose effects have been rippling throughout the intelligence community for decades."
           — "Thor is the USA Today best-selling novelist of The Lions of Lucerne, Path of the Assassin, and State of the Union. You can learn more about his novels by visiting his web site at" © 2004 The Yomiuri Shimbun

"Thomas Gage was an OSS spy in Rome in 1943. Betrayed by an Allied traitor he, Beppe Aprico, and Theunis Kloos escaped, but many Italian partisans did not. Among those caught and tortured were Gage’s eighteen year old contact and lover. Gage has never stopped seeking the traitor’s identity. Now, fifty years later, the traitor must erase his past. He pays assassins to eliminate the former agents who would reveal his treachery. When Gage disappears, believed dead, his grandson, Nick Ferron, sees the traitor’s hand at work and takes on the hunt. With Aprico now just shot to death, Nick follows the trail of the only remaining agent to the jungles of Suriname.
     You can race through this suspense thriller riding the whirlwind of drug busts, jungle guerrilla attacks, gun fights, assassinations, and love affairs right into the breathtaking climax. Or, if you are disciplined enough, you can turn each page slowly and savor the extraordinary visual and historical detail Ron Terpening has painted into his complex story. Either way, you are in for a treat. This is a book to add to every collection of historical fiction." 
           — Lucille Cormier, in The Historical Novels Review, no. 31 (February 2005), 38.

Click to read: Issues Political, Personal. A UA Italian professor spins a fine thriller out of research material for a class. Review article by Christine Wald-Hopkins. Tucson Weekly. March 17, 2005, p. 46.

"If you're looking for a good spy thriller, League of Shadows by University of Arizona Italian professor Ron Terpening is a crackerjack choice. Loaded with plot twists, it jumps around to places such as Dutch Guiana, Italy, Washinton, D.C., and the Sonoran Desert from the 1940s to the present. The protagonists, grandfather (the old Office of Strategic Services) and grandson (Drug Enforcement Administration) are a likable duo. They face Benito Mussolini's secret police and venal politicians with equal aplomb."
         — J. C. Martin, Special to the Arizona Daily Star, May 1, 2005.

"This novel is an exhausting read.  Not because it’s a labor to get through, but due to the fact that it is so fast-paced it will leave you breathless. Utilizing one storyline that takes place during World War II and one set in our era (complete with a character who travels around the globe as often as people go to the store), this novel will make you take in a Stallone action film just to unwind.
     The intricate plot involves spies, traitors, and a grandson attempting to find out who killed his grandfather and why. With raids on heavily armed jungle compounds and the amount of bullets expended, the more astute reader will expect Mack Bolan to show up at any moment.
Ron Terpening knows how to write action, and unlike a lot of adventure writers, his characters are three-dimensional and believable. His only fault — if you can call it that — is that he doesn’t give readers much of a chance to relax.  It’s almost as if he’s challenging us to keep up with his protagonist, and that is a task any suspense lover will be well-advised to undertake."
        — D. Brunell, Fearless Reviews, June 2005, p. 4.
 (available online until August 2005 at

"I’m a sucker for international thrillers, especially those set in WWII. The trouble is I sometimes find the characters flat and the events clichéd, so they can be nothing more than mind candy. Happily, Ron Terpening’s LEAGUE OF SHADOWS does not fall into that category. It’s set in both World War II Rome and the present day, when the wrongs of the past cast a shadow over the present. [. . .]
     Ron Terpening has crafted a masterful international thriller in LEAGUE OF SHADOWS. The shifts in time meld together seamlessly. The characters are rich and textured and believably human, whether they’re the good guys, the bad, or something in between. He captures time and place vividly . . . . An Italian professor at the University of Arizona, Terpening says his research for LEAGUE OF SHADOWS took about fifteen months, and that shows in the historical texture he captures in this compelling page-turner. An exceptional international thriller."
        — Kris Neri, The Well Red Coyote - Books on the Rocks
A Real Bookstore for Real Book Lovers, Sedona, Arizona 86336
(928) 282-2284.

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