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THERE WERE TWO HOURS left of 1938. In Danzig it had been
snowing on and off all day, and a gang of children was enjoying a snowball
fight in front of the grain warehouses which lined the old waterfront.
John Russell paused to watch them for a few moments, then
walked on up the cobbled street toward the blue and yellow lights.

The Sweden Bar was far from crowded, and those few faces that
turned his way weren’t exactly brimming over with festive spirit. In fact,
most of them looked like they’d rather be somewhere else.

It was an easy thing to want. The Christmas decorations hadn’t
been removed, just allowed to drop, and they now formed part of the
flooring, along with patches of melting slush, floating cigarette butts,
and the odd broken bottle. The bar was famous for the savagery of its
international brawls, but on this particular night the various groups of
Swedes, Finns, and Letts seemed devoid of the energy needed to get
one started. Usually a table or two of German naval ratings could be
relied upon to provide the necessary spark, but the only Germans
present were a couple of aging prostitutes, and they were getting
ready to leave.

Russell took a stool at the bar, bought himself a Goldwasser, and
glanced through the month-old copy of the New York Herald Tribune
which, for some inexplicable reason, was lying there. One of his own
articles was in it, a piece on German attitudes to their pets. It was
accompanied by a cute-looking photograph of a Schnauzer.

Seeing him reading, a solitary Swede two stools down asked him, in
perfect English, if he spoke that language. Russell admitted that he did.

“You are English!” the Swede exclaimed, and shifted his considerable
bulk to the stool adjoining Russell’s.

Their conversation went from friendly to sentimental, and sentimental
to maudlin, at what seemed like a breakneck pace. Three
Goldwassers later, the Swede was telling him that he, Lars, was not the
true father of his children. Vibeke had never admitted it, but he knew
it to be true.

Russell gave him an encouraging pat on the shoulder, and Lars
sunk forward, his head making a dull clunk as it hit the polished surface
of the bar. “Happy New Year,” Russell murmured. He shifted the
Swede’s head slightly to ease the man’s breathing, and got up to leave.

Outside, the sky was beginning to clear, the air almost cold enough
to sober him up. An organ was playing in the Protestant Seamen’s
Church, nothing hymnal, just a slow lament, as if the organist were saying
a personal farewell to the year gone by. It was a quarter to midnight.

Russell walked back across the city, conscious of the moisture seeping
in through the holes in his shoes. There were lots of couples on
Langer Markt, laughing and squealing as they clutched each other for
balance on the slippery sidewalks.

He cut over to Breite Gasse and reached the Holz-Markt just as the
bells began pealing in the New Year. The square was full of celebrating
people, and an insistent hand pulled him into a circle of revelers
dancing and singing in the snow. When the song ended and the circle
broke up, the Polish girl on his left reached up and brushed her lips
against his, eyes shining with happiness. It was, he thought, a betterthan-
expected opening to 1939.

HIS HOTEL'S RECEPTION AREA was deserted, and the sounds of
celebration emanating from the kitchen at the back suggested the
night staff were enjoying their own private party. Russell gave up the
idea of making himself a hot chocolate while his shoes dried in one of
the ovens, and took his key. He clambered up the stairs to the third floor,
and trundled down the corridor to his room. Closing the door behind
him, he became painfully aware that the occupants of the neighboring
rooms were still welcoming in the new year, loud singing on one side,
floor-shaking sex on the other. He took off his shoes and socks, dried his
wet feet with a towel, and sank back onto the vibrating bed.

There was a discreet, barely audible tap on his door.

Cursing, he levered himself off the bed and pulled the door open.
A man in a crumpled suit and open shirt stared back at him.

“Mr. John Russell,” the man said in English, as if he were introducing
Russell to himself. The Russian accent was slight, but unmistakable.

“Could I talk with you for a few minutes?”

“It’s a bit late . . .” Russell began. The man’s face was vaguely familiar.
“But why not?” he continued, as the singers next door reached for
a new and louder chorus. “A journalist should never turn down a conversation,”
he murmured, mostly to himself, as he let the man in.
“Take the chair,” he suggested.

His visitor sat back and crossed one leg over the other, hitching up his
trouser as he did so. “We have met before,” he said. “A long time ago.
My name is Shchepkin. Yevgeny Grigorovich Shchepkin. We. . . .”

“Yes,” Russell interrupted, as the memory clicked into place. “The
discussion group on journalism at the Fifth Congress. The summer of

Shchepkin nodded his acknowledgment. “I remember your contributions,”
he said. “Full of passion,” he added, his eyes circling the room
and resting, for a few seconds, on his host’s dilapidated shoes.

Russell perched himself on the edge of the bed. “As you said—a
long time ago.” He and Ilse had met at that conference and set in
motion their ten year cycle of marriage, parenthood, separation, and
divorce. Shchepkin’s hair had been black and wavy in 1924; now it was
a close-cropped gray. They were both a little older than the century,
Russell guessed, and Shchepkin was wearing pretty well, considering
what he’d probably been through the last fifteen years. He had a
handsome face of indeterminate nationality, with deep brown eyes
above prominent slanting cheekbones, an aquiline nose, and lips just
the full side of perfect. He could have passed for a citizen of most
European countries, and probably had.

The Russian completed his survey of the room. “This is a dreadful
hotel,” he said.

Russell laughed. “Is that what you wanted to talk about?”

“No. Of course not.”

“So what are you here for?”

“Ah.” Shchepkin hitched his trouser again. “I am here to offer you

Russell raised an eyebrow. “You? Who exactly do you represent?”

The Russian shrugged. “My country. The Writer’s Union. It doesn’t
matter. You will be working for us. You know who we are.”

“No,” Russell said. “I mean, no I’m not interested. I—”

“Don’t be so hasty,” Shchepkin said. “Hear me out. We aren’t asking
you to do anything which your German hosts could object to.” The
Russian allowed himself a smile. “Let me tell you exactly what we have
in mind. We want a series of articles about positive aspects of the Nazi
regime.” He paused for a few seconds, waiting in vain for Russell to
demand an explanation. “You are not German but you live in Berlin,”
Shchepkin went on. “You once had a reputation as a journalist of the
left, and though that reputation has—shall we say—faded, no one
could accuse you of being an apologist for the Nazis . . .”

“But you want me to be just that.”

“No, no. We want positive aspects, not a positive picture overall.
That would not be believable.”

Russell was curious in spite of himself. Or because of the Goldwassers.
“Do you just need my name on these articles?” he asked. “Or
do you want me to write them as well?”

“Oh, we want you to write them. We like your style—all that irony.”
Russell shook his head: Stalin and irony didn’t seem like much of a

Shchepkin misread the gesture. “Look,” he said, “let me put all my
cards on the table.”

Russell grinned.

Shchepkin offered a wry smile in return. “Well, most of them anyway.
Look, we are aware of your situation. You have a German son and
a German lady-friend, and you want to stay in Germany if you possibly
can. Of course if a war breaks out you will have to leave, or else they
will intern you. But until that moment comes—and maybe it won’t—
miracles do happen—until it does you want to earn your living as a
journalist without upsetting your hosts. What better way than this? You
write nice things about the Nazis—not too nice, of course; it has to be
credible—but you stress their good side.”

“Does shit have a good side?” Russell wondered out loud.

“Come, come,” Shchepkin insisted, “you know better than that.
Unemployment eliminated, a renewed sense of community, healthy
children, cruises for workers, cars for the people. . . .”

“You should work for Joe Goebbels.”

Shchepkin gave him a mock-reproachful look.

“Okay,” Russell said, “I take your point. Let me ask you a question.
There’s only one reason you’d want that sort of article: You’re softening
up your own people for some sort of deal with the devil. Right?”

Shchepkin flexed his shoulders in an eloquent shrug.


The Russian grunted. “Why deal with the devil? I don’t know what
the leadership is thinking. But I could make an educated guess and so
could you.”

Russell could. “The western powers are trying to push Hitler east,
so Stalin has to push him west? Are we talking about a non-aggression
pact, or something more?”

Shchepkin looked almost affronted. “What more could there be?
Any deal with that man can only be temporary. We know what he is.”

Russell nodded. It made sense. He closed his eyes, as if it were possible
to blank out the approaching calamity. On the other side of the
opposite wall, his musical neighbors were intoning one of those Polish
river songs which could reduce a statue to tears. Through the wall behind
him silence had fallen, but his bed was still quivering like a tuning fork.

“We’d also like some information,” Shchepkin was saying, almost
apologetically. “Nothing military,” he added quickly, seeing the look on
Russell’s face. “No armament statistics or those naval plans that Sherlock
Holmes is always being asked to recover. Nothing of that sort. We
just want a better idea of what ordinary Germans are thinking. How
they are taking the changes in working conditions, how they are likely
to react if war comes—that sort of thing. We don’t want any secrets,
just your opinions. And nothing on paper. You can deliver them in person,
on a monthly basis.”

Russell looked skeptical.

Shchepkin ploughed on. “You will be well paid—very well. In any
currency, any bank, any country, that you choose. You can move into a
better apartment block. . . .”

“I like my apartment block.”

“You can buy things for your son, your girlfriend. You can have
your shoes mended.”

“I don’t. . . .”

“The money is only an extra. You were with us once. . . .”

“A long long time ago.”

“Yes, I know. But you cared about your fellow human beings. I
heard you talk. That doesn’t change. And if we go under there will be
nothing left.”

“A cynic might say there’s not much to choose between you.”

“The cynic would be wrong,” Shchepkin replied, exasperated and
perhaps a little angry. “We have spilled blood, yes. But reluctantly, and
in hope of a better future. They enjoy it. Their idea of progress is a
European slave-state.”

“I know.”

“One more thing. If money and politics don’t persuade you, think of
this. We will be grateful, and we have influence almost everywhere.
And a man like you, in a situation like yours, is going to need influential

“No doubt about that.”

Shchepkin was on his feet. “Think about it, Mr. Russell,” he said,
drawing an envelope from the inside pocket of his jacket and placing
it on the nightstand. “All the details are in here—how many words,
delivery dates, fees, and so on. If you decide to do the articles, write to
our press attaché in Berlin, telling him who you are, and that you’ve
had the idea for them yourself. He will ask you to send him one in the
post. The Gestapo will read it, and pass it on. You will then receive your
first fee and suggestions for future stories. The last-but-one letters of
the opening sentence will spell out the name of a city outside Germany
which you can reach fairly easily. Prague, perhaps, or Cracow. You will
spend the last weekend of the month in that city, and be sure to make
your hotel reservation at least a week in advance. Once you are there,
someone will contact you.”

“I’ll think about it,” Russell said, mostly to avoid further argument.
He wanted to spend his weekends with Paul, and with Effi, his girlfriend,
not the Shchepkins of this world.

The Russian nodded and let himself out. As if on cue, the Polish
choir lapsed into silence.

RUSSELL WAS WOKEN BY the scream of a locomotive whistle. Or at
least, that was his first impression. Lying there awake all he could
hear was a gathering swell of high-pitched voices. It sounded like a
school playground full of terrified children.

He threw on some clothes and made his way downstairs. It was still
dark, the street deserted, the tramlines hidden beneath a virginal
sheet of snow. In the train station booking hall across the street a couple
of would-be travelers were hunched in their seats, eyes averted,
praying that they hadn’t strayed into dangerous territory. Russell strode
through the unmanned ticket barrier. There were trucks in the goods
yard beyond the far platform, and a train stretched out past the station
throat. People were gathered under the yellow lights, mostly families
by the look of them, because there were lots of children. And there
were men in uniform. Brownshirts.

A sudden shrill whistle from the locomotive produced an eerie
echo from the milling crowd, as if all the children had shrieked at

Russell took the subway steps two at a time, half-expecting to find
that the tunnel had been blocked off. It hadn’t. On the far side, he
emerged into a milling crowd of shouting, screaming people. He had
already guessed what was happening—this was a kindertransport,
one of the trains hired to transport the ten thousand Jewish children
that Britain had agreed to accept after Kristallnacht. The shriek had
risen at the moment the guards started separating the children from
their parents, and the two groups were now being shoved apart by
snarling brownshirts. Parents were backing away, tears running down
their cheeks, as their children were herded onto the train, some waving
frantically, some almost reluctantly, as if they feared to recognize
the separation.

Further up the platform a violent dispute was underway between an
SA Truppführer and a woman with a red cross on her sleeve. Both were
screaming at the other, he in German, she in northern-accented English.
The woman was beside herself with anger, almost spitting in the
brownshirt’s eye, and it was obviously taking everything he had not to
smash his fist into her face. A few feet away one of the mothers was
being helped to her feet by another woman. Blood was streaming
from her nose.

Russell strode up to the brownshirt and the Englishwoman and
flashed his Foreign Ministry press accreditation, which at least gave the
man a new outlet for his anger.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” the Truppführer shouted. He
had a depressingly porcine face, and the bulk to go with it.

“Trying to help,” Russell said calmly. “I speak English.”

“Well then tell this English bitch to get back on the train with the
kike brats where she belongs.”

Russell turned to the woman, a petite brunette who couldn’t have
been much more than twenty-five. “He’s not worth screaming at,” he
told her in English. “And it won’t do you any good. In fact, you’ll only
make matters worse.”

“I . . .” She seemed at a loss for words.

“I know,” Russell said. “You can’t believe people could behave like
this. But this lot do. All the time.”

As if to emphasize the point, the Truppführer started shouting
again. When she started shouting back he reached for her arm, and she
kicked him in the shin. He backhanded her across the face with what
seemed like enormous force, spinning her round and dumping her
face-first on the snowy platform. She groaned and shook her head.

Russell put himself between them. “Look,” he said to the man,
“this will get you court-martialed if you’re not careful. The Führer
doesn’t want you giving the English this sort of a propaganda victory.”

The British woman was groggily raising herself onto all fours. The
stormtrooper took one last look at his victim, made a “pah!” noise of
which any pantomime villain would have been proud, and strode away
down the platform.

Russell helped her to her feet.

“What did you say to him?” she asked, gingerly feeling an alreadyswelling

“I appealed to his better nature.”

“There must be someone. . . .” she began.

“There isn’t,” he assured her. “The laws don’t apply to Jews, or anyone
who acts on their behalf. Just look after the children. They look like
they need it.”

“I don’t need you to tell me. . . .”

“I know you don’t. I’m just trying. . . .”

She was looking past his shoulder. “He’s coming back.”

The Truppführer had a Sturmführer with him, a smaller man with
round glasses and a chubby face. Out of uniform—assuming they ever
took them off—he put them down as a shopkeeper and minor civil servant.
Danzig’s finest.

“Your papers,” the Sturmführer demanded.

“They’re in my hotel room.”

“What is your name?”

“John Russell.”

“You are English?”

“I’m an English journalist. I live in the Reich, and I have full accreditation
from the Ministry of Propaganda in Berlin.”

“We shall check that.”

“Of course.”

“And what are you doing here?”

“I came to see what was happening. As journalists do. I intervened in
the argument between your colleague and this Red Cross worker because
I thought his behavior was damaging the reputation of the Reich.”

The Sturmführer paused for thought, then turned to his subordinate.
“I’m sure my colleague regrets any misunderstanding,” he said

The Truppführer looked at the woman. “I apologize,” he said

“He apologizes,” Russell told her.

“Tell him to go to hell,” she said.

“She accepts your apology,” Russell told the two brownshirts.

“Good. Now she must get back on the train, and you must come
with us.”

Russell sighed. “You should get on the train,” he told her. “You
won’t get anywhere by protesting.”

She took a deep breath. “All right,” she said, as if it was anything but.
“Thank you,” she added, offering her hand.

Russell took it. “Tell the press when you get back to civilization,” he
said, “and good luck.”

He watched her mount the steps and disappear into the train. The
children were all aboard now; most had their faces pressed against the
windows, frantically wiping their breath from the glass to get a last clear
look at their parents. A few had managed to force back the sliding ventilators
and wedge their faces in the narrow gap. Some were shouting,
some pleading. Most were crying.

Revue de presse

Praise for Zoo Station

"One of the most intelligent and persuasive realizations of Germany immediately before the war."
—Wall Street Journal

"[A]n unconventional thriller ... a finely drawn portrait of the capital of a nation marching in step toward disaster as the Nazi rulers count cadence."
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

"There's nothing better than a well-written WWII thriller. Alan Furst continues to prove it, and now Downing has shown he can produce that creepy sense of paranoia along with the best of them."
—Rocky Mountain News

Smooth, scary wartime thriller drenched in period atmosphere."
Kirkus  Reviews

"Downing's fine new thriller introduces a clever and honorable hero ... [the ending] will have readers holding their breath ... Satisfying."
Publishers Weekly

"If you like your tales spiced with morally ambiguous characters right out of Graham Greene, this is a train you need to be aboard.... A marvelous return to cerebral espionage."
—January Magazine

"A deeply satisfying, suspenseful novel... David Downing's writing is intelligent and strong; his portrayal of issues and conflicts, clear and compelling.... His imagery is so evocative that readers will feel they are watching a classic film, like Casablanca."
Mystery Scene

Praise for David Downing
"A beautifully crafted and compelling thriller with a heart-stopping ending as John Russell learns the personal faces of good and evil. An unforgettable read."
─Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series
"One of the most intelligent and persuasive realizations of Germany immediately before the war."
Wall Street Journal
"In the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr ... [Downing is] brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin on its last legs."
Washington Post

Downing distinguishes himself by eschewing the easy ways out. He doesn't shy away from portraying the cold brutality of the Third Reich, and his characters are far from stereotypes—they're flawed, confused and real.”

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 336 pages
  • Editeur : Soho Crime (28 mai 2013)
  • Collection : A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1616953489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616953485
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,7 x 2,1 x 19 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 176.691 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Par Tolya le 13 octobre 2014
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
A real great read. A thriller set in pre WWII in Berlin. The main character has issues with the mystery but also with his own son growing up amongst the Hitler Youth camps. The atmosphere envelopes you when reading and a few twists and turns add to the good read.
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Par Mollie Mayes le 25 janvier 2014
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The atmosphere in Berlin shortly before the war is very well written and, I believe, is authentic. The suspense is compelling.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 182 commentaires
89 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3 1/2 Stars - A Well-Written, Well-Researched "Quiet" Thriller! 23 juin 2007
Par Bobbewig - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
As Europe is on the brink of war in 1939, Anglo-American journalist and longtime Berlin resident, John Russell, wants to stay in Germany to be near his German son and his actress-girlfriend. Russell can't resist an offer from an old acquaintance from his "communist" days do some work for the Soviets. Soon after, the Nazi and British intelligence services learn of Russell's involvement with the Soviets, and he is made to do some work for them as well. Downing is an excellent writer, with particular strength in the areas of character development, creating a highly realistic sense of atmosphere of what life was like in pre-WWII Nazi Germany and in weaving the extensive research he did into Zoo Station's storyline. I enjoyed reading Zoo Station for these reasons. However, as a book positioned as a thriller, Zoo Station succeeds in creating slow-building tension, but, for me, did not provide "thrills." That is, there were no action-oriented or suspenseful passages in the story that kept me on the edge of my seat or that made me to put everything else in my life aside in order to keep turning the pages in Zoo Station. If you decide to read Zoo Station -- and it IS worth reading -- be prepared for a more passive, "quiet" type of thriller.
90 internautes sur 99 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par Andrea Bowhill - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Set in Germany Pre WWII, Englishman John Russell was working as a free lance journalist he had already been a long term resident for fifteen years and given that reason had been granted a full accreditation from the Ministry of Propaganda in Berlin. Unlike many of his press corp. colleagues who were now eager to get out, Russell wished to remain in Reich for as long as possible. Most importantly to be with his eleven year old son Paul by his German ex-wife; who lived else where in the city and secondly to stay near his current girlfriend Effi, a beautiful German actress.

New Year's Day 1939 in the early hours, Russell had been approached by an Old Russian communist acquaintance named Shchepkin. He wished to hire Russell's writing skills and make him an offer for extra money with a plan guaranteed to let Russell remain as long as possible in Germany. But this plan of course had more a return favour attached, secret spy work for the Soviets; his cover would be to write positive aspect articles of Nazi achievements for the Russian Newspapers.

Russell had doubts could he trust his old friend or had things changed between them as many years had passed. Russell already found Nazi lives despicable; Geobbles latest Speech on the vibrancy of modern German Culture could not cover the true Nazi reality, Russell already believed war was on its way. Then during early January 1939 the Nazis had brought out more anti-Jewish laws making it so hard now for any to leave. Being a spy didn't seem so unappealing a forced decision was finally made from threats and certain financial needs, but the web of espionage was bigger than he ever anticipated. Russell finds himself caught up in a plot to fight German tactics; a spy for the Russian's and then for the British as for Russell he was just trying to survive all dangers thrown his way these were uncertain times.

This would be my first novel by David Downing and it's a wonderful piece of fiction a quiet spy thriller. Four stars; deducting one because I felt some things were a little bit to convenient for Russell in places. Overall it remains an incredibly well written piece and very well researched. Detailed news stories just months before the war which are mentioned in passing, giving it authenticity. Downing has also kept to the boundaries of historical possibility in writing this and successful shows the pre war glitter and darkness of Berlin on the eve of WWII. Characterisations are shown very strong throughout; Russell and Effi both characters are well written Russell is loaded to the brim cynically but remains likeable. What I thought was fantastic was the conversations between Russell and other Foreign Correspondents, full of insightfulness; with lots of witty comments thrown in.

This first book was certainly written to lead you into the next, congratulations David Downing, I will be moving onto the second in the series Silesian Station.

Highly Recommended.

Andrea Bowhill
23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
As satisfying as 'life in the Third Reich' could be 31 mai 2009
Par AMK - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Mr. Downing is to be congratulated on creating a seamless world in which his characters do what they can to get through the day while the universe seems to be going progressively out of kilter. As someone who has studied Berlin between 1933-45, I appreciated the manner in which he has taken the ideologies that we think we know and translated them in to a narrative of everyday shortage, minor terrors and moral lapses.

A couple of things to engage with other reviews. First, if you think that 'nothing happens' after finishing this, then you have been watching the Bourne Trilogy too much. There are no explosions and of course no fancy digital technologies. There are though beatings, there is espionage, there is even a fair amount of sex. If the sense of anxiety and decay doesn't get under your fingernails, then you are robotic.

Second, the characters are meaningful and interestingly complex. It is a pleasant change to encounter a main lead who is not 1. a spy by profession [Alan Furst] or 2. a hard bitten cop [Phillip Kerr]. Russell is a journalist, a father and somewhat of a marginal man with multiple nationalities. As such, I'd say he is an original character and I'm looking forward to seeing where his efforts to stay alive take him.
26 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Worth Reading 25 juillet 2010
Par Glenn Koch - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I never quite understand why so many reviewers on these Amazon book pages are so harshly negative when posting a review. That especially seems to be the case with a number of the reviews of this book, and frankly, I really don't understand why? Does no one actually read anymore just for the pure sake of entertainment? I'm beginning to feel like I am the last one who does.

With that said, I enjoyed this book tremendously. It was very engaging, very descriptive, and quite suspenseful. I found the characters to be believable and actually found myself enjoying them. I've enjoyed them so much so that I ended up purchasing the two sequels to the book (both of which I read in quick sucession, and enjoyed equally as much) and have just acquired from Amazon UK the fourth installment because I couldn't wait for it to come out in the US. And in all honesty, some of the other books of this genre and period that other readers rave about, I found entirely lackluster... enjoyable reading for entertainment's sake, but nowhere near as engaging as these books. If you liked this book, give Rebecca Cantrell's "A Trace of Smoke" a try too.
28 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
readable and atmospheric 5 août 2008
Par Spitfire - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I found this to be a readable page-turner. Although it is not up there with the best of Furst, Silva, et.al., it is literate, full of interesting characters, and depicts the atmosphere of the Nazi period in Berlin. I thought the Russell character could have been better developed, especially the politics involved between father and son. The depiction of how young people were socialized in Hitler's Germany was fascinating but I thought that more could have been made of Russell's reactions to his son's education. That said, I very much enjoyed reading this and will read the sequel.
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