Non Fiction Reader
You must keep you wits about you when reading/lsitening to this book. There are a lot of characters with real and code names and since they are double and sometimes triple agents there are also those respective code names to keep a handle on. (This is especially trying when listening to the book in driving segments and often having to cut off a narrative in mid-sentence). I found myself listening in terms of the big picture rather than recalling all the names.
The fact is that the British were able to completely confuse the Germans into thinking the D-Day invasion was to take place at the Pas-de-Calias and not in Normandy. And then after the actual invasion convincing the Germans that Normandy was only a faint. I was not aware how harrowing their missions were and that these double agents had to return to enemy controlled territories in order to maintain the ruse and their cover stories. The delightful part of the story is the types of personalities that made up the double-cross networks. Each had to be treated carefully by their case officers who had to make sure that each of their agent's misinformation reinforced the others in such a sublte way as to make the Germans reach the exact conclusions they were supposed to. The book also touches on the treachery of the Cambridge Five who betrayed Britain's secrets to the Soviet Union.
It's a unique, compartmentalized, side-show into what led up to the D-Day landings. But these colorful characters were, in their own world, responsible for saving the lives of thousands af Americans, British, Canadian and French troops on June 6, 1944.
Well done - good 'what happened to them' follow up.
Lively narrative, appropriate accents
Great story - interesting parallels to spy characters in Ken Follett's Winter of the World, but this story is true. Complexity of names and relationships a little hard to follow in audio format.
Agent Zigzag was centered around a single character, and was excellent. Operation Mincemeat was written around a relatively small operation, and I enjoyed it as well. Double Cross attempts to use the similar character-based (fiction-like) writing style, but becomes lost in (what feels like) hundreds of characters throught Europe who are somehow associated with the massive D-Day invasion. "Page after page" seemed to revolve around minute details about individuals- what secretaries looked like, their interests, their demeanor, etc. Just as I began to form a picture of a person, it felt as if we moved on to someone else. In many cases, I feel like I learned details about random people who never were mentioned again.
Narration was pretty good, although I agree with others who suggest that Russian & German "accents" were overdone.
This book has both fascinating history and a gripping story, leading to a rare combination of education and entertainment. Highly recommended. Good narration.
Pure history buffs interested in WWII spies.
The story(s) about the numerous agents was not compelling. I tended to lose interest.
Don't believe the narrator could have helped this book.
This narrator has read several well known books and I am sure is loved by many. I, however, found his attempt at accents to be irritating. So irritating in fact that I stopped listening to the book.
No, but I won't listen to any other books read by this narrator.
His use of accents seemed strained and it detracted from the reading rather than adding to it.
The reader is terrible. So many phoney accents, none of them good. The characters are confusing.
I loved Macintyre's other books. this one - not so much
In every way possible
If there is a genre that particularly interests me, it is books about World War II. So I was happy when I found this book and anxious to read it.
The story line is fascinating, if a little too heavy on details. The author does a very good job interweaving the various characters and subplots as they prepare for the Normandy invasion. However, there are just so many characters and plots, that it is sometimes difficult to follow, especially if you are listening in the car where there are distractions. Cut out a third of the less prominent spies and it would be perfect.
But those are all minor complaints. For the first time in the many years that I have been listening to audible books, I absolutely hated the narration. It was awful and took far more away from the story than it added.
First of all, the narrator insists on mimicking accents of the many foreign characters, and doing it badly. It is distracting at best, and painful at worst. The accents were cartoonish -- with the Germans all sounding like Lili von Shtupp from "Blazing Saddles" and the French all sounding like Pepe Le Pew. Russian, Polish, and Slovakian characters all sounded exactly alike.
Secondly, the narrator is British. That is well and fine, but in this particular case his pronunciation was such that it distracted from the narrative. For example, the phrase "Secret Sources," which is liberally sprinkled throughout the book, came out as "Secret Sauces." Tell me of that doesn't interrupt your listening.
So while this would probably be a wonderful paperback to curl up with in front of the fire or in a beach chair, it is just no fun to listen to.