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Berlin Game (Harper Books) Paperback – 29 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586058206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586058206
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 12.1 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

Product Description

Review

‘Deighton’s best novel to date - sharp, witty and sour, like Raymond Chandler adapted to British gloom and the multiple betrayals of the private spy’
Observer

‘Sheer consistent rightness page after page after page’
The Times

‘Virtuoso top level performance’
Guardian

‘A masterly performance, much the best thing Deighton has done since SS-GB’
Sunday Times

About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dazalon on 19 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
There's only one thing better than a really good book - and that is when it's part of a series. Bernie Samson, his family, friends, colleagues and enemies appear in 10, page-turning novels. There is so much I enjoy in these novels, that every 3-4 years or so I re-read them and enjoy them all over again.
There's the complex plot, that leads you up and down the proverbial garden path. That's one reason to read again, to pick up any clues missed the first time.
The characters are believeable, particularly Bernie's colleagues, embroiled in office politics. I think it's the interaction of the characters that makes the book so absorbing for me.
Initially its a good escapism read, but then Deighton subtly offers a storyline that could be based on true events, and valid explanations as to why his characters might have acted as they did.
A tale of contrasts, from life threatening situations, to the minutae of daily life; from being light hearted and witty, to very thought provoking; a very satisfying read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By JamLans on 3 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
First in a series of nine books about the life and career of a SIS spy, Bernard Samson. After spending five years behind a desk in London, Bernie is asked by Brahms Four (a high ranking source in East Berlin), to help him come over to the West. With him, he will bring evidence of a high ranking mole, located within the SIS. Will Bernie manage to succeed in his mission, before the mole succeeds in it's?

Once again, we have another great spy thriller from Len Deighton. His story writing skills weave an enthralling tale of treachery, action, mystery and humour. I enjoyed the way his characters interact with one another. Especially Samson's dry wit and humour!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alfred J. Kwak on 28 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
I much enjoyed Len Deighton(LD)s and John Le Carré (JLC)s early spy books from the 1960s. Both were experimenting, trying to find a voice of their own. LDs books had improbable plots, were quickly written with many annexes and technological data, always from the perspective of a nameless working-class wartime-spy who made it into GBs snooty Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in the 1960s.
This book is not from the 1960s but from 1983. It is the kick-off of three trilogies, nine books in all about Bernard Samson (BS) and his wife Fiona, who are both senior desk officers in SIS HQ, GBs external spy agency. Or London Central, as LD calls it. This reader revisits this series for the second time, like the 1960s novels, after decades. What is most striking in "Berlin Game" is LDs finally mature voice and style: Pure ingenuity, great intelligence, minute attention to the inevitable office politics, subtle but pert characterizations and throughout, great flow: Addictive reading stemming from prose created seemingly without effort. "Berlin Game" is on par with JLC's very best spy novels.

Its hero Bernard/Bernd/Bernie Samson (BS) works in and from London Central HQ like his beloved wife Fiona. BS grew up in post-war Berlin, where his father worked for many years in an intelligence capacity. It explains his perfect command of the Berlin dialect, his network of Berliners and deep knowledge of its geography. His best friend is Werner Volkmann (WV), aged 39 like BS himself: They went to school together. When London Central receives word that its crucial source `Brahms 4' and his network are compromised, BS insinuates his way into East Berlin to convince him to stay on for another two years...
A delightful read full of twists and turns. And an ending forced by BS that leaves him stunned, privately and professionally. Highly recommended.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John Proudlove on 4 July 2007
Format: Paperback
A recent unsuccessful quest for Len Deighton novels, in several large chain bookstores, reminded me what a crucial service Amazon provides to the book-buying public nowadays. While bookstores squeeze publishers' margins in return for promoting second-rate titles, the quality books are left languishing in the back of the store or not stocked at all. Like several other reviewers here, I am re-reading the Bernard Samson series, and will undoubtedly do so again. With Russian emigrés being assassinated in London, the suppression of Russia's free press, and economic blackmail of former Eastern Bloc states, the cold-war genre is suddenly relevant again. My wife does not even like spy fiction, but could not put this series down until reading all three trilogies. We are now planning a trip to Berlin to identify all the locations we have read about! The genius of Len Deighton is that his novels are compulsive page-turners, with more ingenious plots and better characterizations than Le Carré's, but without the heavy intellectual style.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By molondas on 9 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the first of the trilogy Berlin Game, Mexico Set, London Match and (quite by chance) I've read them in reverse order. I won't bore readers with why, but it's relevant because it means by the time I read Berlin Game, I was well aware of most of the plot and ideas from the other two books. But it's still brilliant - it is still a highly entertaining read, full of tension and well drawn characters, situations and intrigue. For me, Deighton has been a revelation.

His characterization is superb, and the plots are brilliantly interwoven and moved in subtle and convincing ways. What is most satisfying is that very little apparently happens in any of the three books - it's mostly conversations and the thoughts and ideas, emotions and reactions of the narrator, Bernard Samson.

The pace is therefore slow - well, in fact, it's non-existent as the novels are not action-driven. This does not mean that there is no plot - very complicated things are taking place - but (like le Carre) Deighton gets to grips with the bureaucratic detail and mundane reality of intelligence activity and makes the plot emerge from the daily lives (work and personal) of his characters.

For me this is the mark of an accomplished writer, who has a very good grasp of the art of dialogue and character development, of what is taking place inside people's heads and emotions, so that the world around them becomes a reflection of those inner realities.

Indeed I think it's fair to say that this is what motivates Deighton on a much larger, political and ideological scale - his concern is to communicate why Germany, Britain and the Soviet Union were behaving the way they did in the Cold War and what motivates individuals to act in particular ways at specific points in history.
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