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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 23 star ratings
3 reviews

Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star
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  • 6 person found this review helpful

    6 people found this review helpful

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    A great immediate post war spy thriller.

    I am a great fan of what some call “Berlin Noir” and in this book you can almost taste the grit and smell the grime of post war Berlin. Alex Meier’s politics have put him at the forefront of the US communist witch-hunts. In order to stay in the US he makes a deal with the CIA to be their agent in his native Berlin. The book dives straight into the action and doesn’t really pause for breath throughout. Kanon evocatively describes a Berlin where the sector borders are still porous, abduction is commonplace and the inhabitants are still trying to put their lives back together after the war. He also details the claustrophobic life of those living in what was then called the Soviet Zone (later East Germany/GDR) and the Faustian pacts they make to just live and stay on the right side of the eastern authorities. Kanon weaves actual historical figures into the story such as playwright Berthold Brecht and his wife the actress Helene Weigel and from his descriptions you can really tell he’s done his research. This is the first Joseph Kanon book I’ve read and his writing style took me a little bit of getting used to. Conversations can be particularly staccato, but this style works really well. If you are a fan of Alan Furst, David Downing , Rebecca Cantrell or Jonathan Rabb then this is definitely for you.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    A "dramatis personae" page would have been helpful

    Somewhat confusing cast of characters. With CIA, Russian Intelligence and local Police and German Intelligence and local police there was much scope for the introduction of double agents which was used to the full. Nevertheless, the story was fast paced, the characters drawn in detail, including the anti-heroine who everyone wanted to sleep with and many did. Characters had been youths together in pre-war Germany and reunited in Berlin in this immediate post war period while others were trying to develop relationships and still others seemed oblivious to what was going on in the background and just wanted to live their lives the best they could. There was much intrigue and a very fast pace to the story developments. Probably 3.5* would be a fairer rating. All in all a pretty good read
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Hard to follow.

    Interesting spy story but so many different characters.I became confused as to who was who.Which agent was working for America or Russia.Ruther a heavy read.

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