France, July 1944: a month after the Allied landings in Normandy, and the liberation of Europe is underway. In the Pas-de-Calais, Nathalie Mercier, a young British Special Operations executive secret agent working with the French Resistance, disappears. In London, her husband, Owen Quinn, an officer with Royal Navy Intelligence, discovers the truth about her role in the Allies' sophisticated deception at the heart of D-Day. Appalled but determined, Owen sets off on a perilous hunt through France in search of his wife. With the help of the Resistance, he finds Nathalie, but then the bitterness of war and its insatiable appetite for revenge catch up with them in dramatic fashion. Based on real events of the Second World War, The Best of Our Spies is a thrilling tale of international intrigue, love, deception, and espionage.
©2012 Alex Gerlis (P)2015 Tantor
Selecting a book I expected to be a tasty treat of a spy story, I found instead a five course meal of an historical espionage novel, repleat with a complex plot, frightening insights into the endlessly twisting world of intelligence, the hideousness and criminality of war, and characters I will hold in my heart for a very long time.
What a fine, moving story this is. There were moments in the book when I felt I too was chasing around France, not knowing what would happen next. This story makes a portion of the war come alive for me as no other author has done. I look forward to many more books from Alex Gerlis.
And of course, John Lee brings every character to life. His rich reading makes the story all that much better.
John Lee is my favorite narrator, and is why I chose to listen to this book. His narration was excellent as always, and really brought these characters to life.
I like the premise of the story and the setting, and the characters were interesting and dynamic. However, the reader doesn't learn the wife's backstory until the end, which really leaves you wondering about her motive the whole time. I also was kind of bored, and am not sure why.
This was written well, contained great descriptions, and the performance was excellent. I just did not find it to be exceedingly engaging, and it did take me a long time to get through.
As always, John Lee does a masterful job narrating this story. The story itself is fascinating, and seems to give a real good impression of how the war affected France. I
Was surprised though that the bombing of London played such a small role. Otherwise, a great listen!
How can you go wrong with a book read by John Lee? He simply stands out from the crowd (along with books read by Will Patton). Add in an exceptional story which is very well written and you have a very enjoyable time listening to this book. I will buy others by Alex Gerlis.
Gerlis is really superb in developing believable fictional characters and placing them in history. I especially liked his revealing the tensions between true resistance fighters and those who falsely claimed to be them after Normandy. A spy story but also history and suspense.
Every facet of this novel was superb. As I thought I was reaching the climax I was only half way through. All characters are thoroughly built and leave nothing to question. The story adds a bri exciting point of view to one of the greatest intelligence operations of modern times.
The plot is just ok - it pushes up against the limits of believable, but entertaining enough. My big complaint is with the narration: John Lee's attempts at French, Dutch, and German accents made me cringe, particularly his French accent. One of the main characters is a French woman and every time she speaks, Lee mangles her words so much that she becomes a caricature of a French woman. Ditto for a Dutch character. The bad German accent is less offensive but that's probably because you already expect the Germans to be caricatures. Please!!! If you must have a narrator affect an accent, make sure that he/she can pronounce all names and words correctly and consistently. But to my mind, in most cases it's safer not even to try.
This is one book I should have read rather than listened to.
I love the last 150 years of history. Bully Pulpit and the Wilson biography absolute best!
A little long but so interesting. John Lee is a Chapin narrator and skies accents so it moves this book along much than if read in print. Good and fascinating backstory about D day. A great listen!
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