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Field Grey: A Bernie Gunther Novel (Bernie Gunther Mystery 7)

Field Grey: A Bernie Gunther Novel (Bernie Gunther Mystery 7) [Kindle Edition]

Philip Kerr
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Far more illuminating and enjoyable than the season's other big thriller, John le Carré's Our Kind of Traitor' Daily Express.

'A brilliantly crafted challenge to the stereotypical received history of the Second World War' The Times.

'Kerr is a master of evoking the spirit of the age' Financial Times.

'Rich, compelling, beautifully written and with a central character that it's impossible not to admire' Daily Mail.

Product Description

A man doesn't work for his enemies unless he has little choice in the matter.'

So says Bernie Gunther, when he finds himself working for French Intelligence - it was either that or hang for murder. His job is to meet and greet POWs returning to Germany, and to find a French war criminal and member of the French SS who has been posing as a German Wehrmacht officer. The French are anxious to catch up with this man and deal with him in their own ruthless way. But Bernie's past is about to catch up with him - in a way he could never have foreseen.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 668 KB
  • Print Length: 481 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1849164126
  • Publisher: Quercus (28 Oct 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OR10J0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,016 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Philip Kerr was born in Edinburgh in 1956 and read Law at university. Having learned nothing as an undergraduate lawyer he stayed on as postgraduate and read Law and Philosophy, most of this German, which was when and where he first became interested in German twentieth century history and, in particular, the Nazis. Following university he worked as a copywriter at a number of advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, during which time he wrote no advertising slogans of any note. He spent most of his time in advertising researching an idea he'd had for a novel about a Berlin-based policeman, in 1936. And following several trips to Germany - and a great deal of walking around the mean streets of Berlin - his first novel, March Violets, was published in 1989 and introduced the world to Bernie Gunther.
"I loved Berlin before the wall came down; I'm pretty fond of the place now, but back then it was perhaps the most atmospheric city on earth. Having a dark, not to say black sense of humour myself, it's always been somewhere I feel very comfortable."
Having left advertising behind, Kerr worked for the London Evening Standard and produced two more novels featuring Bernie Gunther: The Pale Criminal (1990) and A German Requiem (1991). These were published as an omnibus edition, Berlin Noir in 1992.
Thinking he might like to write something else, he did and published a host of other novels before returning to Bernie Gunther after a gap of sixteen years, with The One from the Other (2007).
Says Kerr, "I never intended to leave such a large gap between Book 3 and Book 4; a lot of other stuff just got in the way; and I feel kind of lucky that people are still as interested in this guy as I am. If anything I'm more interested in him now than I was back in the day."
Two more novels followed, A Quiet Flame (2008) and If the Dead Rise Not (2009).
Field Gray (2010) is perhaps his most ambitious novel yet that features Bernie Gunther. Crossing a span of more than twenty years, it takes Bernie from Cuba, to New York, to Landsberg Prison in Germany where he vividly describes a story that covers his time in Paris, Toulouse, Minsk, Konigsberg, and his life as a German POW in Soviet Russia.
Kerr is already working on an eighth title in the series.
"I don't know how long I can keep doing them; I'll probably write one too many; but I don't feel that's happened yet."
As P.B.Kerr Kerr is also the author of the popular 'Children of the Lamp' series.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pawn in the Great Powers' Chess Game 15 Dec 2010
In BERLIN NOIR, the trilogy that begins Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, we are introduced to Bernie Gunther in the pre-war Nazi-era Berlin, and then we see him again shortly after the war ends. Fifteen years, and many other (non-Bernie) books later, Bernie Gunther returned in THE ONE FROM THE OTHER, set in 1949. The next book, A QUIET FLAME, finds Bernie on the run in 1950 and living in Argentina under an assumed name.

These first five novels in the Bernie Gunther saga made me wonder about Bernie in the years before the Nazi assumption of power and what Bernie was doing during the war. In the sixth novel in the series, 2009's IF THE DEAD RISE NOT, we learn the answer to the first question. The book begins with Bernie having left Argentina for pre-Castro Havana, but it then flashes back to Berlin in 1934, as the Nazis consolidate their power.

Now, in FIELD GREY, the seventh novel in the series, we see what Bernie did during the war, during the chaos of the immediate postwar period and in 1954, when he is spirited back to Europe and made a pawn in the deadly espionage games of the various spy agencies engaged in the Cold War.

In recent years, long-secret documents about Russian activities during WW2 and the actions of the East German secret police before the fall of the Berlin Wall have been made available. It is apparent that Philip Kerr has some familiarity with the the history revealed by those documents.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernie Gunther, unreliable narrator 18 Oct 2010
This is Philip Kerr's 7th outing in the continuing story of Bernie Gunther and delves into his past, "What Bernie did in WW2",a question always in the background in the previous 5 volumes. But first a minor mystery, the plot summary given above, and that printed on the flyleaf of this the UK 1ST edition is not the novel that you will read. No prison on the Isle of Pines, Cuba, certainly no Fidel Castro nor a French intelligence officer named Thibaud. Does this refer to a rejected early draft? Or perhaps to a different version to be published elsewhere? Who knows?
Putting the foregoing aside, this is in fact a tremendous furious page turning read. The first two thirds delve into Bernie's unwilling service with the SD on the Eastern Front, as he tells his story to various CIA and SDECE Intelligence officers, and is drawn equally unwillingly into a current 1954 operation targeting a senior STASI Officer in the DDR.
However, Bernie as ever, is a born survivor, and tells his interrogators ( and us the readers ) only an edited version of his perceived subjective truth, and Bernie still keeps some essential details hidden from all concerned.

We have followed Bernie's progress from Berlin in 1931 to the very different Berlin of 1954. He's now 58 years old and perhaps can at last escape his past.
But I hope not, there's still some life in the old bull from the Alex. Happy wil be the day when we meet him yet again.

An excellent read, thoroughly and highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much history, not enough detection 30 Jun 2011
Ever since Hammet and Chandler, we've become used to the conventions of the hard-boiled private detective novel: a cynical but basically decent individual is trapped between powerful enemies, but wisecracks his battered way to some kind of resolution through a labyrinthine plot. The originality of Kerr's early Bernie Gunther novels was their setting, in 1930s Germany, with evil villains and moral dilemmas which would have made Philip Marlowe's head explode. Later novels picked up Bernie after the War, facing new dilemmas in Latin America. "Field Grey" is Kerr's attempt to answer the inevitable question: "what did you do in the war Bernie?" And that's where things start to go wrong. The story is told as a series of flashbacks from 1954, but covering mostly the period 1940-46. Rather a lot went on in those years, and so the ostensible plot of the novel has to be put on hold periodically while characters lecture each other on the history of that time. Most of these conversations take place in prison: indeed, Bernie spends much of the book in prisons of one kind or another, and much of the first hundred pages being kidnapped and beaten up by various agencies. It becomes clear very quickly that at least some of these stories are unreliable, tailored to interest whoever is currently imprisoning him, and the violent twists and turns of the plot, as Bernie tries to play different parties off against each other provide more confusion than real suspense. The ending (and several of the twists in the plot for that matter) is very hard to swallow. A pity, because in this long and complicated story is a shorter and better one trying to get out: the homecoming of a flawed but decent man to a country uneasily at peace, which he does not recognise, and which is full of new dangers for him. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A trifle confusing 4 April 2013
By McNott
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great story, taking Bernie from Cuba to the US and then Germany where he is interned for war crimes. He describes unter interrogation his times in France, Russia, the Ukraine and in the developing East Berlin. great history and facts though the story becomes confusing and I have deducted a star because there is no real clarity in respect for his working for the Ami's or in turn the East Germans. Bernie jumped around so many places it all became a little confusing. It would of been good to know just what DID HAPPEN in the end!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding
I keep describing the Gunther series as outstanding but their is no other words to describe them, I can't believe some of the negative comments I read on Amazon as if you have read... Read more
Published 16 days ago by alan
4.0 out of 5 stars Bernie's back! And this time he's locked up.
I've only given this 4 stars because it doesn't quite reach the heady heights of some of the earlier Bernie Gunther novels (among my favourites of all time). Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Faria
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Bernie novel ...
Another great Bernie Gunther novel ... I have now read the entire series from Bernie's first outings in Berlin Noir all the way through to the post-war period. Highly recommended.
Published 2 months ago by EagerReader
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing
I have tried to read all these novels in the order that they were published but the jumping backwards and forwards from before the war, to during, to after is confusing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jardiniere
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read.
Philip Kerr has created a really great character in Bernie Gunther. I love the whole series. Like the way he doesn't bother about the timeline. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paul Norton
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernie's Life Doesn't Get Easier
Life doesn't get easier or simpler for Bernie Gunther in this the seventh of the series. It certainly gives you some idea of the challenges of being born in Berlin in 1896. Read more
Published 3 months ago by C. P. J. Millhouse
1.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read, I'm afraid.
I really didn't like this book, very dark and dour. I won't be buying any more by this author, I'm afraid.
Published 3 months ago by Mr S Jenkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Field Grey
Another great Bernie Gunther book, which explores the history of the second World War from inside the conflict and gives a revealing and close up view. Read more
Published 3 months ago by John Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue and murder - on a grand scale.
Once again Bernie Gunther is in the thick of the action in a tale that provides some of the less savoury details of his backstory that have only been hinted at before. Read more
Published 3 months ago by still searching
4.0 out of 5 stars Tangled cold war fiction
The second Bernie Gunther novel I've read. Tangled and twisted like Len Deighton and equally able to evoke a darkly romantic image of Berlin after the Second World War.
Published 4 months ago by Dan Thompson
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