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Big Bear, Little Bear [Paperback]

David Brierley
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
Price: 10.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Ostara Publishing (21 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190628881X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906288815
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 13.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,988,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of Historical Spy-Fi 19 July 2012
David Brierley always had a talent for setting exciting stories in exotic locations, as demonstrated in his brand new collection of short stories To El and Back yet he is best known as a creator of hard-boiled, fast-paced spy fiction and his 1981 novel Big Bear Little Bear, now reissued, is probably his masterpiece.
Historical spy fiction is going through a purple patch at the moment, with authors such as Alan Furst, John Lawton, Aly Monroe and Andrew Williams rightly attracting critical praise. But here was Brierley doing the business 30 years ago, setting his Big Bear Little Bear in 1948 in a Europe being subsumed into Stalin's Russian empire (the 'Big Bear' of the title)and with the Iron Curtain descending around the last major prize, Berlin (the city's emblem is the 'Little Bear').
In Czechoslovakia a British spy network is betrayed and destroyed all except for hard-bitten agent George Orris. Escaping to London he is immediately targeted by a sniper "and once you've been at the wrong end of a rifle, everything changes". Realising that he and his network have been betrayed by a someone inside British Intelligence itself, Orris chooses war-ravaged Berlin as his battleground and stakes himself out as bait to draw the traitor to him.
His plan for personal revenge and justice is hampered by political events as the Russians tighten their grip on the city and the Americans plan a huge relief operation - the famous Berlin Air Lift. Orris also becomes emotionally entangled with the war-damaged and deeply disturbed waif-like orphan girl Rehal and with no one to trust, he has to keep moving through the seedy underbelly of the divided city.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brings the Cold War right up close 4 Nov 2012
I've just been reading this book while on a trip to Berlin! It proved a great read from a writer I knew a little about but wish I'd read a lot earlier. The main character Orris is well developed and his relationship to the 'centre' - the British secret intelligence - is crucial to this story. Brierley's style of writing is great for building up tension and giving the reader a sense of how MI:6 and other units operated in the chaos of post-war Europe, when anyone was potentially up for being 'bought' by the other side. Particularly well-wrought scenes I read included the one on the rooftop in London on Orris' unscripted return from Europe, when he gets pot shots taken against him by agents who obviously know that he is the last link in a long chain linking back to the destruction of an agent cell in Czechoslovakia. You can feel the bullets flying past your ear! The denouement - which I won't spoil in this review - is believable and well written. I've read a number of these reissues by Ostara publishing over the last year, and Mike Ripley's doing a great job of finding thriller gems and re-polishing them so they don't go out of fashion!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 14 Aug 2012
Big Bear is full of delicious suspense and kept me up until the wee hours of the morning. Brierley is one helluva writer and is either the master of research or he spent years as a spy. Whichever, I highly recommend his books for fascinating reading.
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