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Publisher's Summary

Berlin, early 1948: The city, still occupied by the four Allied powers, still largely in ruins, has become the cockpit of a new Cold War, and as spring unfolds its German inhabitants live in fear of the Soviets enforcing a Western withdrawal. Here, as elsewhere in Europe, the legacies of the War have become entangled in the new Soviet-American conflict, creating a world of bizarre and fleeting loyalties, a paradise for spies.

John Russell works for both Stalin’s NKVD and the newly-created CIA. He does as little for either as he can safely get away with, and between the tawdry tasks they set him - assessing dubious defectors in Trieste, running a spy ring in a Berlin VD clinic, rescuing ex-Nazis who might prove useful from Czechoslovakia - he seeks a way to cut himself loose.

His partner Effi Koenen has an easier time, starring in a popular radio series and looking after their adopted daughter Rosa, until a woman she helped save in the War turns up on her doorstep, and admits to a child she left behind all those years before, a child now trapped behind the new iron curtain.

©2013 David Downing (P)2013 AudioGO

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joyce
  • ESSEX FELLS, NJ, United States
  • 07-16-13

What a disappointment...and it's all the narrator

Would you try another book from David Downing and/or Michael Healy?

I love David Downing! this is the 6th audible book of his i purchased. The narrator is so miserable you can hardly follow the story. Simon Prebble made Downing's words come alive. In fact, the listener is riveted. This narrator should be fired from all future readings. his voice is droning, and i finally figured out why my Iphone has settings for increasing the speed at which you listen...If I didn't love these stories so much and was so interested in the lives of the characters, I would have given up long ago

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joshua
  • Spring Mills, PA, United States
  • 03-06-14

A nice completion to a good series, nearly ruined.

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Liz
  • Adelaide, South Australia
  • 12-17-14

Appalling narration

What would have made Masaryk Station better?

Simon Prebble narrating

What other book might you compare Masaryk Station to and why?

Can't, as I couldn't finish it. Will have to read it instead.

Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Healy’s performances?

Certainly not. If I could have given this zero stars I would have.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Couldn't finish listening to it.

Any additional comments?

I wish I'd taken note of the comments from other readers before purchasing it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Deserves a better reader

I can't imagine a narrator less interested in the material he was reading than this one. He made almost no effort to differentiate among the characters with voice, inflection, accent, dynamics -- i.e., acting. Nor did he even try to properly pronounce the myriad of foreign names and phrases sprinkled throughout the book.I've read all of David Downing's excellent John Russell novels that depict the intrigues, human and political, that formed, deformed, and reformed the German experience before, during, and after World War II. This latest installment stands tall among them.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Big fan ...but

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator. I was tempted to give up.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His diction and pronunciation are poor.

Any additional comments?

Not the best work in the series, but once you're hooked!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An awesome story, ruined by an awful narrator

As soon as I realized that Michael Healy was narrating this last John Russel book, my heart sank. But I had no choice but to put up with his excruciatingly awful pronunciation of words like “anathema” which he pronounced anatheeema. Even simple words were given the Healy treatment...

But I soldiered on, anxious to hear the final book of the series. About half-way through, I managed to get used to the awful narration and was able to enjoy the book. Had Mr Healy been the narrator for book one, when I was yet to be invested in the storyl, I would have stopped listening before the end of chapter 1.

As for the story itself, it was really marvelous.. gripping, thrilling and historically informative. With either of its former narrators it would have been FIVE STARS.

It was a great end to a great series.

KRD NY

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good in general

Somewhat of a liberal bias. There is an undying of communistic ideology. It is somewhat hidden under basic acknowledgement of The Soviet Union’s problems (highly understated). This book and the entire series really seems to say “give Communism another try, it might work this this time.”

I say wishful thinking because every time communism is tried.. enter human nature (power control and money), and youu have human tragedy.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Even with the poor narration, it is a great listen

Those that have followed this series will miss the rich and diverse accents of Simon Prebble. Nevertheless, this is another fantastic “Station” novel and well worth the listen. If you put the narration speed to 1.25, it is tolerable.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Terrible narrator

The story was enjoyable, as were all the previous books in this series. But the new narrator was horrendous. He didn't distinguish the characters either from each other or from the general narration of the book. Also he never changed the cadence of his voice to match the action he was reading about, instead continuing in the same calm and measured voice. He would have been fine giving a lecture in an intro course in college, but I didn't buy an Econ lecture. I bought a spy novel and it needed to be significantly zipper.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • snpt
  • Wayne, NJ, United States
  • 08-17-17

Love the series not narrator

I don't not understand why when a series is established and the same narrator which through their performance sets a certain flow and character which one gets used to a new narrator comes in and ruins the book and possibly the remainder of the series if he or she continues to narrate the series. Don't the authors or the publishers understand that this is how audiobooks work sometimes it's the narrator that make the book worth listening to.
Take it from a very successful series Harry Potter. If they would have put in another narrator then Jim Dale mid series or even at the end I believe there would be backlash and the series would suffer.
So as much as I really loved this series with Simon Prebble. I can not recommend this book in the series. I hope someone who makes these decisions will consider going back to Mr Prebble or at the very least someone who might sound and narrate like him which I think can't be done so get home back. Please I have seen this done before in other series. Please consider.
Thank you

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 03-22-14

having loved David Downing's previous books...

...I thought I'd go against the previous reviews and get the book anyway because it can't be as bad as the narrator was painted...it is...and then some. So far I've stopped it twice and read other books...the narrator is appalling, it must've been done on the cheap this...he reads it monotone, like he didn't bother to proof read it the first time, it's awful, I'm so disappointed. I will be staying away from him in future...and Mr Downing, if you use him again, I'll be staying away from you too!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • DjW
  • 11-02-14

Good Plot. Awful narration.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Masaryk Station?

Having enjoyed Zoo, Silesian and Stettin stations on audio, I was doubly disappointed a) by two missing volumes: Pottsdam and Lehrter stations and b) by one of the worst audion narrations I've ever heard. I didn't trouble to check the narrator but it sounds as though English is not his first language. Perhaps someone thought this might lend the novel authenticity... or perhaps the narrator came cheap. Either way, a dreadful disappointment after the first 3 audios... made worse by the gap of two novels. Who plans this stuff? Seriously...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Emilie
  • 03-12-18

Awful Narration

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I’ve listened to all the books in this series and this narrator is awful. The best are performers, they bring a wonderful new dimension to a a book. Next come the good readers, they have an ear for cadence and voice. The come the readers, who at least do no harm. Then come the serial word pronouncers. That’s what this is. he is so bad I am giving up and switching to the print version. I had been saving this because it was the last one in a series I didn’t want to see end but ..... there’s a limit.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Masaryk Station?

Will have to read it in print to find out.

Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Healy’s performances?

NO!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chusan Services Ltd
  • 06-18-15

Don't buy this book

Would you try another book written by David Downing or narrated by Michael Healy?

David Downing - YesMichael Healy - No

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Didn't get beyond chapter one.

What didn’t you like about Michael Healy’s performance?

Nothing!This, unfortunately, is the second book this month that has been spoiled by the choice of the reader. Michael Healy is another American who can't read aloud. I doubt he's ever heard the phrase 'tonal modulation' and wouldn't know what it was if he had! Remember the teacher/tutor/instructor who spoke in such a monotonous, boring way that most of the class were asleep in the first five minutes? That's Michael Healy!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger and sadness.

Any additional comments?

Luckily I have the Kindle version...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • merlinsrevenge
  • 01-25-15

I have heard instructions read aloud better

This narrator makes me wish for an abridged version........just awful. Ruined a good story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Flossie dog
  • 05-08-14

Brilliant book spoiled by a dreadful narrator!

Would you consider the audio edition of Masaryk Station to be better than the print version?

I've listened to the audiobooks of the first 3 books in this series and read the 4th and 5th (as they don't seem to be available on audio as yet). I have thoroughly enjoyed all but this last one. The story-lines are excellent - informative, atmospheric and gripping; real page-turners. Masaryk Station, however, was totally spoiled for me by the dire narration. The modulation and inflection were dreadful and pronunciation (of English, German and Russian) was little,short of pitiful. I can't believe that the director / producer could be satisfied with producing such a dreadful audiobook. I was so disappointed that I shall be reading the printed version for myself!

What other book might you compare Masaryk Station to, and why?

Similar to the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr - all excellent stories. All these, however, had competent narrators!

Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Healy’s performances?

Definitely not!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Intrigue in post-war Berlin

2 of 2 people found this review helpful