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Istanbul Passage Paperback – 28 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847398340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847398345
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Istanbul is the setting for Kanon's tale of rival spying agencies competing in an atmosphere of post-Second World War paranoia. US businessman Leon Bauer navigates his way through this Byzantine puzzle as he helps to smuggle a Romanian fascist out of the city' - Sunday Express

A brilliantly compelling novel...Istanbul Passage cleverly combines a nail-bitingly tense narrative with a sophisticated exploration of the moral dilemmas its protagonist faces in the efforts to protect a man who is arguably not worth protecting...Leon is a sympathetic and complex character and his story makes a gripping and deeply satisfying read - BBC History Magazine, September Issue

'The perfect combination of intrigue and accurate history brought to life' - Alan Furst

'Kanon is fast approaching the complexity and relevance not just of le Carré and Greene but even of Orwell' - New York Times

'Magnificent' - Minette Walters

'Spectacular in every way... wonderfully imagined, wonderfully written, an urgent personal mystery set against the sweep of glamorous and sinister history. Joseph Kanon owns this corner of the literary landscape and it's a joy to see him reassert his title with such emphatic authority' --- Lee Child

A brilliantly compelling novel...Istanbul Passage cleverly combines a nail-bitingly tense narrative with a sophisticated exploration of the moral dilemmas its protagonist faces in the efforts to protect a man who is arguably not worth protecting...Leon is a sympathetic and complex character and his story makes a gripping and deeply satisfying read --BBC History --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Joseph Kanon is the author of four previous novels: Los Alamos, The Good German, The Prodigal Spy and Alibi. He lives in New York City. Visit his website at www.josephkanon.com

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Maine Colonial on 1 July 2012
Format: Paperback
Leon Bauer is, or appears to be, just an agent for American tobacco interests in Turkey. Rejected for military service, he's spent several years in Istanbul, learning the language and customs and steeping himself in the beautiful city that sits between east and west. With his German refugee wife, Anna, he has made Istanbul his home. Even after World War II ends, he has no desire to return to the United States.

Leon's other life is on the fringes of the intelligence community. He does occasional side jobs, mostly package deliveries, for a friend at the U.S. consulate. But when he gets an assignment to pick up a human package from a fishing boat one night, the job goes very wrong. Now, Leon has left the fringes of the murky world of espionage and is left stranded in its dangerous center, not knowing who he can trust, and improvising to complete his task on his own.

It turns out that Leon has a talent for acting as a lone agent, keeping his own counsel and observing everyone in his life to try to figure out what went wrong at the pickup, who might have been involved and who they might represent, all while he's working hard to figure out how to get Alexei, his human package, out of Turkey. Now he looks at everyone differently. Might there be a traitor at the consulate? Is an old friend a Russian agent? What about the hostess whose parties bring together people from all countries and interests; the guy who forges documents; the police investigator; Altan, the scrupulously-polite-but-threatening commander from Turkey's secret police; even those closest to Leon?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zangiku on 13 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
masterfully intricate plot with a switch round every corner. but so sparely, even cryptically written that the brain must be on full alert to follow & unravel it. evocative atmosphere, good characters, excellent history strewn with moral land-mines, a deep & troubling tale. not an airplane book. proceed at your own risk.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
The title quote refers to the Ottoman Empire and early 20th Century Turkey's always tenuous political situation. At the end of WWII, the country finds itself sliding into backwater status, but still hosting numerous postwar intrigues--the smuggling of Holocaust survivors to Palestine, early Cold War fencing by the Americans and Soviets, and once again defending its own territorial integrity from the historic Russian/Soviet menace.

The novel's protagonist, Leon Braun, has lived in Istanbul through the war years and is now treading water as American interests in the city are shrinking and he hangs on to hope that his seriously ill wife will recover and they can move on with their lives. Early in the story, Braun becomes involved the smuggling of an East European refugee with a highly dubious past. His involvement is in service to an official of the American Consulate General for whom he has done favors in the past. The smuggling attempt goes awry and Braun finds himself taking responsibility for the refugee's safety even as he learns more and more about the latter's horrific wartime record. It is this mounting knowledge that sets up the moral dilemma that becomes the structure of the novel.

This an intelligent, finely crafted story that picks up tension and velocity as it moves forward. The protagonist is on moral tenterhooks throughout, and because the author has effectively convinced the reader of Braun's integrity and worth, we are pulled into (and care seriously about) his decisions and fate all the way to the explosive finish.

Author Joseph Kanon is being compared to Le Carre and Greene, but there also glimpses of Eric Ambler and Alan Furst here. A great read. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Davidson VINE VOICE on 21 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
"Istanbul Passage" is one of the best books that I have read for some time. It is an expertly written spy thriller set in Istanbul just after the end of the Second World War. Leon Bauer, an American on the fringes of the colourful espionage community in Istanbul, gets sucked right into it's vortex after an errand to pick up a Romanian spy,with a despicable past, from a boat goes wrong. Leon and this unsavoury character have to evade detection from the Turkish secret service, the Russians as well as the Americans , as Leon tries desperately to smuggle him out of the country. Can Leon keep him alive and keep himself free from captivity as well ? The author creates a superb picture of 1940's Istanbul in this book- it really comes to life and the reader feels part of it. The detail is fantastic and the characterisation and dialogue is really sharp and impressive. There is plenty of action and unexpected twists,turns and complications in the plot to enjoy and appreciate. I couldnt recommend this intelligent book highly enough.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Ferguson on 11 Jun. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Joseph Kanon crafted Istanbul Passage beautifully, and I enjoyed it immensely. I like broad-based stories, especially ones with international intrigues, politics, espionage, culture and cuisine. Istanbul in the late 1940s captured the essence of that flavor with Western Europe and Eastern Europe gearing towards cold war, Arabism on the rise as Israel appears on the map. Joseph Kanon did a great job coming up with a story from this amazing setting, using a fascinating plot and masterful characters. The colorfulness of this story reminds me of Triple Agent, Double Cross. Overall, Istanbul Passage is a well written story that is full of surprises right up to the last page, with enough suspense to keep the reader wondering what the next page would hold.
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