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Declare Paperback – 1 Jun 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (1 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848874030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848874039
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 152,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Tim Powers is a brilliant writer. Declare's occult subtext for the deeper Cold War is wonderfully original and brilliantly executed --William Gibson

Dazzling - a tour de force, a brillant blend of John Le Carre spy fiction with the otherworldly, packed with historical fact, dazzling flights of imagination, and wonderful suspense --Dean Koontz

Philip K. Dick felt that one day Tim Powers would be one of our greatest fantasy writers. Phil was right --Roger Zelazny

About the Author

Tim Powers is a two-time winner of both the World Fantasy and the Philip K. Dick Memorial Awards and three-time Locus Award recipient. He lives in San Bernardino, California.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Hepworth on 17 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tim Powers has written a number of novels on the theme of mystical influences behind the real world, and Declare is no exception. Protagonist Andrew Hale joins the British Secret Intelligence Service during WWII, serving against Germany and then in the infant Cold War, confronting increasingly strange events that culminate in some desperate mission on the slopes of Mount Ararat in 1948, codenamed Declare. Flash forward to 1963, and Hale is reactivated and thrown into another desperate attempt to finish Declare. Powers weaves the two timelines expertly, so we gradually discover some of the truth with the young and naive Hale, while following the older and more cynical man into the heart of the mystery.

Declare carefully takes as many true events as it can, inserting Andrew Hale and the mysterious forces he faces into the unexplained spaces between official accounts. A central figure is Kim Philby, real-life KGB double agent who worked for MI6 for 20 years before exposure. Powers also gives us real-life Soviet spy rings in Paris, machinations in Arabia, and post-war Berlin. He never leans too heavily on his intensive research, and it just flows and merges beautifully. Without Wikipedia you'd never be able to tell what is real and what is imagination. Hale is a character in the tradition of John Le Carre - insecure, frightened, and very human. The book depends totally on the reader engaging with him, and thankfully he is one of Powers' best characters.

Powers has never had the success he deserves, and Declare is a perfect example of why he should, but never will. It could have been a blockbuster-style spy novel with pulp monsters and sold well with a cheesy cover, but instead he crafts a Le Carre tale of tradecraft with enigmatic and subtly terrifying mystical forces.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Paul Campbell on 7 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
Don't be confused by the year-dates of the other reviews, or that given on the copyright page: the publisher and Amazon haven't accidentially flipped a 'zero' and a 'one' around the wrong way. This book was first released mass-market in the US in 2001. It has taken until 2010 for its UK release. That is NOT a reflection on the worth of the book (indeed it won several awards and got nominated for a bunch more) but it is a searing indictment of corporate UK publishers. A recent example will suffice: despite some success will her early novels, Scarlett Thomas experienced the full force of the conservatism of UK 'big publishers' who balked at her then new novel, 'The End of Mr. Y'. It took the maverick imprint Canongate to realise the book's potential and to take it and its author's subsequent books into the bestseller charts.

For me the best writers are the ones who mix it up: who wants 'a' horror novel, or 'a' science fiction novel, or 'a' crime novel? Nah, let's just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and see what comes out. And some of the results in recent years have been fantastic, from Neal Stephenson's 'Baroque Cycle' (a HUGE historial fantasy/alternate history grand slam) to Charles Stross's giddy 'Laundry files' (a supernatural detective science fiction series). People like Dan Simmons and Joe R. Lansdale and China Mieville -

- and Tim Powers. This is the guy whose late-'80s novel, 'On Stranger Tides', has been optioned by Disney as the title and story inspiration for the fourth 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie - featuring the fountain of youth and zombies!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cathy Hill on 29 Jun 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This WWII/Cold War supernatural, espionage thriller was excellent. I've only read two of his books but already I think I'm becoming a Tim Powers fan. I was very impressed by how well the story fit into the gaps between real events -admittedly I've mostly taken the author's word on this, but he seems like a writer who does his research. Declare was intriguing as at first I didn't know quite what was going on (much though I enjoyed The Anubis Gates I did guess a major plot point by the end of the second chapter). The supernatural elements unfolded far more slowly and were initially more subtle. It kept me reading as I wanted to know what was going on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Emperor on 1 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
This was a fantastic achievement. Powers really is a great writer. This worked superbly as both an espionage novel and as occult/fantasy book.

It was slightly slow at the start and but I soon got into it. There were some slightly jarring elements to it, such as the English main character using American words and some very few slight historical inaccuracies.
However those are about the only criticisms that I can make.

The occult and the supernatural elements are very well done and always leave you wanting to know more. The spy and adventure story parts are also very well thought through.

The research that has gone into this book is very impressive and it doesn't overwhelm the plot.

Maybe the best thing that I can about this novel is that it almost seems believable and plausible.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jan 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ever wondered if there's more to the world than meets the eye? If maybe, beneath the surface, a whole other realm of wild possibilities exists? Tim Powers certainly has, and in Declare he takes us through a joyously inventive trip through the supernatural world underpinning the events of the Cold War. Taking as his lead the life story of the treacherous double agent Kim Philby, Powers' story takes us through war-time Paris, Cold War Berlin, and the supernaturally-charged Middle East as secret agent Andrew Hale, a man with a strange, hidden bond with Philby, struggles to complete a long-running operation called Declare - an operation to prevent the USSR from forming an unstoppable alliance with the djinn, the powerful creatures of Arabian myth. Powers' strength lies in evoking the sensation of huge, supernatural presences existing just off our limits of perception, and the psychological effects on those who become all too aware of their existence. He also perfectly captures a sense of place - in particular, scenes set in the Arabian desert will send shivers down the spine, the reader there, sharing the attention of unknowable creatures. Though some elements perhaps don't work as well as they could - the love story between Hale and a former communist agent feels a little underwritten - the giddyingly complex plot ensures that the reader is never bored, and that when the book is closed for the last time it is done with the satisfaction of having read a fantastic novel. Thoroughly recommended.
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