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Empire State Paperback – 15 Apr 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New Ed edition (15 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752858920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752858920
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.5 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

With Empire State Henry Porter continues his reinvention of the traditional British spy thriller. This is, in places, in the tradition of Buchan--high adventure in exotic places--and yet entirely lacks the sexism and racism of Buchan at his worst; Le Carre is an important influence, but the scepticism about British policy, let alone American, is even more radically sceptical than Le Carre at his most cynical.

The death of a presidential adviser, the murder of an airport worker at Heathrow and the mass killing of a band of immigrant workers trying to cross into Macedonia all prove part of the same complex intrigue. Harland, who dominated Porter's A Spy's Life gets involved less because of his prowess than because his back injuries have led him to a fashionable osteopath who proves complexly important.

In London, canny intelligence woman Isis deals with office intrigue, and with such technicalities as DNA samples from the insides of computer keyboards before haring off to islands in the Nile. What Porter is best at, and what we effectively get here, is just this--that sense of hard, clever legwork followed by bursts of violent action and desperate revelations. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Henry Porter excels at set-piece openings and his third spy thriller is no exception. A meticulously written, page-turning treat. (DAILY MAIL, 23 April)

"Porter's third thriller races along... what keeps you gripped are the characters." (EVENING STANDARD)

Displaying convincing expertise in his handling of terrorist and anti-terrorist operations, Porter has produced a fast-moving thriller for our paranoid times (SUNDAY TIMES)

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The passenger known as Cazuto arrived in the Immigration Hall of Terminal Three, Heathrow, in the early afternoon, carrying a raincoat and a small shoulder bag. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Mar 2006
Format: Paperback
I was surprised to see some people considered this book dull. I actually found it be the best-written and most believable of his books (I have not yet read Brandenberg). He's gotten much better at working in his exposition instead of having characters "reminding" each other so much what happened before the book began. I found this book much less confusing than his other books, with his characters more interesting and more clearly defined so it's easier telling one from another, a bit of a problem with his first two books. As for the reviewer who felt the "liberal press" dumped on the novel, I can't imagine why that would happen. Just because the bad guys are Islamist terrorists doesn't make the book an ultra-conservative tract--it's not one at all.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By onlyolney on 26 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As with other Henry Porter thrillers, this is well written, crisp and pacy, and hard to put down. But this is much, much more frightening than his earlier books.

Based on recent technological developments, it poses the notion that a corrupt and corrupted government can - and most likely will - invade our privacy and manipulate us for its own political ends.

When I started to read the book, it seemed that some of the surveillance technology described and in existence was only ever likely to be used by spooks or in war - spy drones, co-ordidated access to all our on-line or electronic transactions, segregation of aliens etc.

But the horrors depicted became fact even as I read the book. Spy drones are now being deployed in the West Country, and the proposal to put everyone's health records on a data base, and later, that all our interactions with goverment should be electronic and an electronic profile obtained, is now a reality.

What will be next? On-line voting, so that exercising our democratic freedoms become, in reality, just another means of the government controlling our every thought, belief and action?

This book depicts in clear, readable, and horrifying clarity, what has begun to happen to this nation. If the technology is there, a corrupt government will use it to control us. George Orwell was right, and so is Henry Porter.

What we need now is concerted campaign to make sure the tide is turned back and we can reclaim our ancient freedoms.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Nov 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's definitely time for a change. Having enjoyed Porter's previous work I found this disappointing and barely credible. There are too many far-fetched scenarios and set pieces for a start, and the story itself fizzles out to a damp squib ending. The heroine,Herrick, is badly drawn and Porter's previous adversaries, Vigo and Harland, are wheeled out in bit parts almost incidental to the plot. Overall, not a patch on Remembrance Day and A Spy's Life. This is the literary equivalent of a rock band's difficult second album.
Time to go back to the basics Henry; pace, realism and believable characters are fundamental to this genre.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Sep 2003
Format: Hardcover
rarely has it been my pleasure to be gripped by a book such as this. many words, all of praise, spring to mind about mr porter's fictitious explanation of why the west had to act as it did in afghanistan and iraq. prescient. noble. necessary. and right. mr porter is no american flag waver. no, he uses fiction to demonstrate that might is not always right. is democracy better, per se, than the theocratical societies of the middle east. mr porter does not know and makes no pretence to do so. instead he concentrates on the human relationships underpinning the peace keepers of the united nations and their allies, and foes, of the western intelligence agencies. violence is there as is sex and not always enjoyable but mr porter wants to show us what is real, not what is pretty and must be applauded for that. this is what makes this book such an exceptional exposition of why the west is right and has to keep fighting intolerance wherever it is found., not an easy message but an important one nonethlessless.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Sep 2003
Format: Hardcover
Having spent a week in New York I was chilled to the core by this book. For all the apparent way New Yorkers have recovered from the cataclysm of 9/11 this recovery is only skin deep. The traffic snarls, people rush hither and thither and the fast food outlets - scrumy - are packed. And yet as Mr Porter points out with such tautness all is not as it seems. For here in New York lurks menace. The book moves around the globe at a dizzying pace. Unlike some readers I was not all confused by this. Mr Porter's takes us with him as the hero Hartland and the mysterious Janice grapple with the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists. Make no mistake these people are enemies of their own people as well as of the West. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. They eat pork, smoke, drink and use women for their own ends and all the while protest they are truly holy. Mr Porter casts no judgement and poses as the dumb narrator. It is obvious to me he knows more about the secret world than he lets on. And that is why this is a must read.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Sep 2003
Format: Hardcover
At first none of this book makes sense. The head of the US National Security Agency is knocked off at Heathrow. A Pakistani employee at the airport and his family are then discovered also dead in their council house nearby. Sammy Ziade in New York is delivered two postcards showing the Empire State Building from someone called Laz Khan, one posted in Turkey and the other, Iran. A group of migrant workers, including Laz, en route from Afghanistan to the EU is killed in Macedonia. Laz escapes death, but is then tortured by the Man With No Name. It falls to our old friend and the hero of Mr Porter's previous explosive novel Robert Harland and his loyal sidekick Jennifer to sort it out on behalf of the UN. To the uniniated all this might seem a parody of earlier Cold War thrillers when the action moved around the world like a mad metronome. But in Mr Porter's more than able hands the cliche of what acdemics on thriller writing have dismissed as "hectic scene shifting "becomes one of those must-read books. Some of the characters who we meet early on never appear again and their role remains unclear but generally everything falls into place. We are plunged headlong, feet first, into a brutal world where no one can be trusted and where no one has any mercy. Only Harland has any sense of decency and standing up for what is right, as opposed to what is expedient. As in his earlier novels Mr Porter has captured the flavour of the world behind the headlines.
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