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Publisher's Summary

France, July 1944: 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, 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 a dramatic fashion.

©2012 Alex Gerlis (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Intriguing novel full of extraordinary insights into the human stories behind the great struggle against Hitler. Fascinating read." (Gavin Esler)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Raven Mad
  • 07-07-16

Wow! What a book!

Started so I had to finish! Compulsive, Enveloping. Found myself living the life. Just brilliant!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lucy
  • 06-29-17

A really absorbing listen

Where does The Best of Our Spies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top, perhaps even first.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I can't chose one individual. A range of complex characters developed through the context of the war they were part of. Very absorbing and interesting, at times unexpected.

What does Stephen Critchlow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I found his delivery added to to the atmosphere of the book.

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

Don't know.

Any additional comments?

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys plots around espionage/ Second World War themes. It is a really good listen, and I found it really drew me in to the reality of living, and working during the Second World War, the traumas and dilemmas faced by its central characters. This is a boook I will remember and well worth a listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Silver Surfer
  • 01-06-18

Not credible

What would have made The Best of Our Spies better?

Nothing.

What was most disappointing about Alex Gerlis’s story?

The novel’s plot up to June 1944 was just about credible but from there onwards it stretched credulity beyond reasonableness. I found the overall story deeply unsatisfactory.

What about Stephen Critchlow’s performance did you like?

Easy listening style and able to convey a wide cast of characters.

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

Deeply disappointed. Much inferior to The Swiss Spy by the same author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Joanna
  • 10-19-17

But sadly not the best listen

The story is a surprising new take on an old theme, the research impressive but all the same I wasn't drawn in.

Perhaps it's just the flatness of the narrator who gives the German and French characters virtually interchangeable accents (which doesn't do a lot for dramatic impact ) and whose frequent emphasis on wrong words in sentences gives the impression he's discovering the book for the first time.
His mispronunciation of French words also manages to give one of the resistance fighters a sex change (from Françoise to François.)

But it's not just the reader, the writing is quite flat too. Does anyone else get as irritated as I do by repetitions of the same adjective in a sentence, people who are sat or stood - not sitting or standing, armchairs only ever slumped into? Probably not. And if the story's good perhaps I shouldn't care about these minor points of style. But for me these things get in the way to such an extent that in the end I'm not even listening to the story. I'm just tensed for the next fumbled sentence so I can yell at the narrator or the writer like some sad old git shouting at the telly.

I hung on till the end. It passed the time and I recommend it to more tolerant and easy-going listeners who just want a good spy yarn.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nike
  • 06-02-16

Good experience

I really enjoyed this book.Very good description of characters and the local show was brilliant. Thanks very much for a few hours of oblique intrigue.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • R. Asbury
  • 04-23-18

Strange reading style

My criticisms of the book are reviewed on amazon. I do not think Stephen Critchlow’s reading style helped. He is good at voices and accents but starts every new sentence with the same intonation and often puts emphasis on the wrong words in a sentence.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-14-18

Foreign names

It surely can't be difficult to find a reader who can pronounce foreign place names correctly. I wondered why Bologna had got into the story instead of Boulogne. Pronunciation of half a dozen French towns and streets was shocking to the point of making them nonsense. It's Avenue Foch as in Posh, not as in Loch!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah J
  • 03-09-18

Captivating

My second book from Alex Gerlis and I am already searching for my third! The tale is captivating in storyline, setting and characterisation. A totally enthralling book....highly recommended

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 03-06-18

A great listen

I felt the book was based upon a lot of real history from the 2nd World War which made it all the more interesting. I really enjoyed the story and thought the characters were well thought out. Excellent narration throughout.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • cathargoed
  • 02-15-18

A good spy thriller for those looking for a follow up to le carre

Gerlis is a worthy successor to le carre. This labyrinthine novel is well plotted and read in a multide of accents by Stephen Critchlow. The plot is credible being based on the Normandy deceptions and the characters rounded and dimensional.