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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Victory is close. Vengeance is closer.

On the brink of defeat, Hitler commissioned 10,000 V2s - ballistic rockets that carried a one-ton warhead at three times the speed of sound, which he believed would win the war.

Dr Rudi Graf who, along with his friend Werner von Braun, had once dreamt of sending a rocket to the moon, now finds himself in November 1944 in a bleak seaside town in Occupied Holland, launching V2s against London. No one understands the volatile, deadly machine better than Graf, but his disillusionment with the war leads to him being investigated for sabotage. 

Kay Caton-Walsh, an officer in the WAAF, has experienced first-hand the horror of a V2 strike. When 160 Londoners, mostly women and children, are killed by a single missile, the government decides to send a team of WAAFs to newly-liberated Belgium in the hope of discovering the location of the launch sites. But not all the Germans have left, and Kay finds herself in mortal danger. 

As the war reaches its desperate end, their twin stories play out, interlocked and separate, until their destinies are finally forced together.

©2020 Robert Harris (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about V2

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very disappointing. Disjointed and very "thin".

In the credits, Harris states it was written during the lockdown and maybe that is the explanation for this misfire. I am a big fan and pre-ordered this, and so am even more disappointed.

The usual mix of interesting historically accurate (?) events and some character development - though a lot less than usual. It was all so disjointed. All of sudden I am fast-forwarded by a few months and no explanation of what had happened in-between times. It felt like the book had to be drastically edited or it was a short story that was bloated out to be a full novel?

If you're a fan then you will buy it anyway, if your not I really wouldn't use any credits.

I'll go and sit in the corner and be sad for a while now. :(

4 people found this helpful

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  • catherine
  • 09-22-20

I loved the combination of fact and fiction.

V2 is the first Robert Harris book that I have listened to or have read. It was an interview with the author on this work that captured my imagination and led to the purchase. That he wrote this book in the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020 is a feat in itself though I have to wonder if Harris had been researching the subject matter before this.

I was delighted with the choice narrator; he approached the differing characters, genders and accents in a way that none felt out of place or too strained. I will certainly look for other books that he has narrated and hope that the earlier releases of Robert Harris' works on Audible are among that list.

There as been a significant amount of research into the V2 rocket and both the German army's actions in the areas mentioned and the implications of the rocket program on the local populations and the slave labour workforce. With the distance of, time it could have more comfortable, but not correct to avoid this area of history.

The RAF personnel involved in the hunting of the V2 launch sites using only slide rules, mathematical tables and under a very tight time constraint illustrates the task the actual WRAF members had to complete.

With many things, war brings forward the investment and understanding of items initially designed for a peaceful reason; in this case, dreams of space travel morphed into weapon of war, then gained many of the scientists a ticket to the USA and NASA by sharing that gained knowledge.

I look forward to now working my way through Robert Harris' other books.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Richard
  • 09-20-20

What could have been

What is there is well written and performed but the ending seems to have been rushed with a jump in time missing out what could well have been the best part of the story keeping out of the hands of the SS and the Russians and getting to the Americans. A great shame.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Trixie
  • 09-28-20

Bit underwhelming

I’ve read all Robert Harris’s books and I’m not saying this is dull but I kept waiting for something to happen.

In common with most male authors he isn’t that skilled at making female characters come alive - probably not PC to say that these days but I’d say the same about female writers and male characters, with the honorable exception of PD James and Insp Dalgliesh.

The main female character in this story was a bit bloodless and not very interesting despite David Rintoul’s best efforts. He’s an excellent narrator and did his upmost but she was charisma-free and needlessly enigmatic.

The cynicism of the Americans in luring Nazi rocket scientists like Von Braun with promises of the good life in New Mexico post-war and a space programme was well made, with few references to the hundreds (thousands?) of innocent Londoners killed by V2 rockets in the last months of the war.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Seayeaitch
  • 09-22-20

Superb Robert Harris

Robert Harris a master story teller combining fact and fiction, this story will keep the listener spell bound,the narration by David Rintoul provides a unique synergy between Harris and Rintoul bringing to life a fictional story that provides a great story leaving the Listener satisfied, but wanting more, I loved every minute of it, superb.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Larry Reacher
  • 09-22-20

Good story. well read.

Good story. well read. I enjoyed the book, Author is very good at war time pieces like this.
Read Enigma if you have not, that's brilliant, by same author..

2 people found this helpful

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  • Caroline Barnes
  • 02-20-21

Tedious

I was looking forward to this latest book by Robert Harris but was disappointed. It was tedious and an effort to finish and the storyline was lost on a few occasions. This book didnt flow well and in parts was over descriptive with the mundane.
A struggle to complete.

1 person found this helpful

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  • kevin rosie
  • 02-11-21

Good read story not up there with previous work

Good read kept me entertained. Narrated well all in a good book. Story wasn't the strongest

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peter S.
  • 01-23-21

Good for technical detail re V2.

The personality of the main WAAF character Kaye didn’t ring true and her actions were unbelievable. The inclusion of a sexual encounter with the disabled son of the family she was billeted with, after only one night, was absurd. It spoilt an otherwise good story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robbie Robertson
  • 12-05-20

Poor stuff full of rubbish

It seems that the trend to make a book longer by filling it with irrelevant twaddle has reached new heights here. I have always respected Robert Harris but not any more.... Long details about victims of the V2 attack are rubbish... do we have to know he was a 34 year old heating engineer etc etc etc. No. No more stuff like this please!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-26-20

Better than the last, but...

First thing to say is that the performance by David Rintoul is excellent and ought to please all listeners. Next, that Robert Harris partly redeems himself after 'The Second Sleep'. That novel left me so annoyed. As usual Robert Harris is a silken and easy read. That said and overall, I felt the 'V2' was slim and and expected more than I got. I thought that grounded in history there would be a clear thread and not much could go wrong. On that basis it is a passable diversion to listen to or read on self-isolation during Covid-19, nothing more. I also bought the hardback which underwhelmed me in terms of its production values. The Tinder Press provide the 'gold standard' in Maggie O'Farrell's 'Hamnet'. The hardback will not remain on my bookshelves so it will be passed on, and I am unlikely to re-listen to the audiobook.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-16-20

Not Robert's usual standard

We have come to expect much from master story-teller Robert Harris. This book is not up to his usual standard. Long inconsequential passages in a story that was possibly too thin to demonstrate Harris at his blistering best