I've always enjoyed Martin Cruz Smith's novels, and this one has not disappointed me. Good, listenable dialog and many interesting facts about the Russian culture and the aftermath of the USSR's involvement in Afganistan and WWII wrapped up in a solid engrossing plot line. Read very well, too.
In the Sharpe series, Bernard Cornwell sort of writes one book again and again and does it very, very well. Even if the plot line is predictable, I find these stories, with their charismatic heroes and evil villains very enjoyable and I really appreciate Cornwell's research and attention to historical detail.
I've worked my way through the John Russel series, by David Downing, and enjoyed all of them. I don't understand why the whole series isn't available. I bought the paperback of the missing book so I could maintain the story line. I suppose the series can be read out of order, but it is really more of a single long novel and more enjoyable to read in order. This book did a nice job of summing up and closing the series. If you've enjoyed the story and characters in these somewhat slow paced, but well written books, I think you could enjoy this one.
But,,,,(and it's a significant but), the reader is nearly awful. The book is full of mispronunciations. I can ignore a lot of that, but the reader sometimes pronounces the proper name "Thomas" in the ordinary way, (tomas), but then, inexplicably will pronounce the Th, (thomas, as in Thermos), Again and again. It's really annoying.
So, if you can find this book performed by another reader, buy that version. If you can't, well, the story is a good solid David Downing story and important for closure to those of us who follow a series, so you'll just have to try to turn a deaf ear to the narrator, and do your best to enjoy the writing.
I really like spy novels which take place in well researched historical settings. (I'm a little lazy about reading straight history). Authors like Alan Furst, David Downing, Bernard Cornwell, or Phillip Kerr. If you like any of these authors, I believe you'll be very satisfied with this book.
This novel is one of the best I've ever read, and it's true! Before I was a quarter of the way through I was looking up the Dreyfus Affair, putting faces to the names in the book. Harris's research appears to be in depth and accurate. He freely admits to using the tools of the novelist to flesh out the characters, but he doesn't play around with facts. Very Cool! His characters are alive and engrossing and he makes a confusing, complicated plot lucid. A story about a hero. A true hero. Well worth reading.
I really enjoy Barbara Tuchman's work. To listen is to be immersed in14th century Europe, where knights are bold, vicious, arrogant, conniving, sometimes not very bright, and very dangerous. The church is all about power and control, holding souls hostage to a harsh God, ransoming them for material gain. Villages are wiped off the map by the Black Death in a matter of weeks. Riveting!
But, I can't wholeheartedly recommend this performance. The reader does a reasonable job, but her pace is not mine. A slower, slightly more relaxed reading would make this book even more engrossing. I must say that I've enjoyed this title in spite of the narrator, she reads just a little too fast for me. If I were to recommend this book, I'd recommend a version by a different narrator.
I've really enjoyed the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr, and looked forward to experiencing the author's work in a different context. I was disappointed by this book. It may be that the dialect is an accurate attempt to voice the language of the time, but I found it tedious and distracting. I'm not sure if the fault lies totally with the author or if the reader carries some blame. The plot was interesting, although it seemed a little messy. The portrayal of English society and the technology of the time, if accurate, was by far the most interesting aspect of the novel.
I would highly recommend this author to anyone who liked early le Carre or enjoys Alan Furst. If they like the more popular authors, Clancy, et al, they might find it a little dull.
This book is part of a trilogy, (at least), so I'd have trouble separating incidences. Overall it was suspenseful, without a lot of gratuitous gore, something I like. The book kept my interest consistently, but without huge and stupid violent scenes. A tightly written book.
Two faults: While I don't expect this sort of book to be realistic, there were moments when I had the "yeah, right", response to plot points. Still, it was far better than most of the more popular author's works. And, the reader cannot read women's voices. He makes the story sound like it occurs in a world consisting of heterosexual men and drag queens. I hate to be that critical, it's hard to "voice" your opposite sex, but it was distracting. Overall, a very enjoyable thriller.
This may deserve a little better rating, but the book wasn't to my taste. I believe another reviewer stated that this is a story told through dialog. That's true and it's well done, but I listen to this kind of stuff for entertainment and the method of story telling limits action more than I realized it would. Another petty beef is that I need to have a character I like to really enjoy this kind of story, a tale like this is just grim if there isn't someone for me to root for, and I didn't find anyone that appealed to me.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.