• The Best of Our Spies

  • Spy Masters, Book 1
  • By: Alex Gerlis
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 15 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (688 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about The Best of Our Spies

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Best Kind of Spy Story

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.

26 people found this helpful

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WWII spy novel

The Best of Our Spies is set mostly in England and France during the planning, execution, and aftermath of the Allied invasion at Normandy. The novel is certainly about spy craft on both the English and German sides but in the context of a love story involving a male British spy and a French woman who is a German spy. It is an excellent novel which develops a little too slowly. I had not listened to a John Lee narrated book is a long time. He is outstanding as usual with this novel.

The Best of Our Spies comes close to earning 5 stars.

14 people found this helpful

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Spy Masters Extraordinary

This indeed an extraordinary tale of British spy masters manipulating not only enemy spies, but their own countrymen in order to mislead the Germans. The Best of Our Spies exposes the sociopathic nature of men an women involved in the war time spy game.

The novel focuses on war time adventures of a brilliantly successful Nazi spy who is as ruthless as she is beautiful. To be successful she must betray virtually everyone she ever meets, regardless of her love for them. Though she is naive of the degree and extent of evil the Nazi Regime, she is fiercely loyal to her country. Over the course of last months of the war, while evading the French resistance she had betrayed, she finds herself hunted by her own country as well.

Yet throughout the novel it is the British spymasters who are even more ruthless. Without hesitation they are willing to sacrifice and betray their own people, by the cruelest means possible.

I give this 5 stars for two reasons. First it is a unique WWII spy story. I never imagined I would find one with a such an in depth plot. Second is the intentional and brilliant lack of character building of the main character, for reasons that will become evident throughout the book.

John Lee does a wonderful job with narration.

8 people found this helpful

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Really, really good book

If you could sum up The Best of Our Spies in three words, what would they be?

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.

8 people found this helpful

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Wonderful read

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!

7 people found this helpful

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Great narration, ok story.

Any additional comments?

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.

7 people found this helpful

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Wonderful! But listen to Normandy first

This is a fictional story set in the misinformation effort aimed at persuading the Germans that the D-Day Invasion would come at the Pas De Calais rather than Normandy. I recommend reading Normandy by the same author first. Normandy is an essay describing the differences between the American and British strengths leading up to the invasion of Fortress Europe. The Americans had the brute strength, but the British had developed much in the way of espionage and misinformation tactics. Normandy is an extremely readable/easy listen, and it is aimed at preparing for this book. With that background, come to The Best of Our Spies.

The story here is very inventive. The British discover a female German spy and learn her mission: She is a nurse in a regular hospital who is hoping to find her way into a military hospital and gather secrets to pass to the Germans. She is placed in Britain early in the war, but is essentially a sleeper agent until the British discovery her. They then "assist" her mission. They promote her to a military hospital. They lead her to the patient records which provide military secrets. They also mislead one of their own naval officers to believe that he is working on the Pas De Calais invasion in secret. Of course he falls in love with the spy (which was intended) and marries her. Now, without knowing it, he is passing vital "mis-information" to her. None of this is a spoiler as the book is up front with it, but the story is engrossing.

The story continues by drawing his spy-wife into the intelligence effort and placing her in the Pas De Calais in preparation for the invasion. Our protagonist then goes looking for his wife.

Five stars for the story. Five stars for the narration. I am only disappointed in a quirk in the end. Some may say that any story like this needs some tragic aspects. But since its a fictional story, I think it could have had a completely happy ending.. The epilogue is also very satisfying.

5 people found this helpful

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Terrific reading of a good story!

Great accents and voices! Worthy of Le Carre or Greene. Long and satisfying. Great for a road trip.

5 people found this helpful

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A very good read.

The author builds plausibility throughout his story. It's a war story, a love story, and most of all, a story of the incredible sacrifices given by so many.

5 people found this helpful

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Superb and touching spy story!

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!

5 people found this helpful