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Lehrter Station (John Russell 5) [Paperback]

David Downing
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 7.93 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Paperback, 15 May 2012 7.93  

Book Description

15 May 2012 John Russell 5
November 1945. John Russell is walking home through the grey streets of postwar London when his old accomplice, Soviet agent Yevgeny Shchepkin, falls into step alongside him. Shchepkin informs Russell that his masters in Moscow have decided it's time to pay them back for securing his safe passage from Russia in the last days of the war.
Russell must return to Berlin to spy on his former colleagues in the German Communist Party, reporting on any deviation from the Stalinist line. Worse, he is ordered to offer his services to the Americans -- in short, to become a double agent on Stalin's payroll.
But Russell knows too well how short the life expectancy of a double agent is. Together, he and Shchepkin, who has finally lost faith in the Soviet utopia, hatch a plan to gain their freedom.
The stakes are high, both for Russell and his girlfriend Effi, who has accompanied him to Berlin. In a world fuelled by paranoia and on the edge of a new, 'cold' war, they will need all their wits -- and some luck -- to survive.

Frequently Bought Together

Lehrter Station (John Russell 5) + Masaryk Station (John Russell 6) + Potsdam Station
Price For All Three: 19.91

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (15 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906964750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906964757
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Remarkable ... Downing is one of the brightest lights in the shadowy world of historical spy fiction'
Birmingham Post

'Excellent ... Downing's strength is his fleshing out of the tense and often dangerous nature of everyday life in a totalitarian state
The Times

'An extraordinary evocation of Nazi Germany'
C.J. SANSOM on Zoo Station

'Stands with Alan Furst for detail and atmosphere'
DONALD JAMES

'Outstanding'
Publishers Weekly on Lehrter Station

'Think Robert Harris and Fatherland mixed with a dash of Le Carré
Sue Baker, Publishing News

'A wonderfully drawn spy novel . . . A very auspicious debut, with more to come'
The Bookseller on Zoo Station

'Exciting and frightening all at once . . . It's got everything going for it'
Julie Walters

'An outstanding thriller . . . This series is a quite remarkable achievement'
Shots magazine --...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I want more! 5 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating portrait of a society crawling out of chaos. It's not just the buildings and bridges that are reduced to rubble and ruins in post-war Berlin. The Americans are playing all sorts of games, some of them aligning themselves to ex-Nazis and the black market in order to fight the invisible war against the Soviets, whilst others appear to be totally unaware of what life was really like under Hitler's regime. The British are imperialists hanging desperately onto power, the stern teacher in the school corridor. The French are seen as inconsequential and no-one understands why they're running part of the city anyway. The Russians are playing a game of winning hearts and minds without realising that they lost them when they raped their way through the cities... as if they really care because they seem to be the only ones who have a plan. The Germans come across as befuddled victims surviving by the skin of their teeth and confused as to how all this happened in the first place... and the Jews come across as confident and fighting fit... realists in a new world.
Interesting.
I like David Downing's Berlin series. They're gripping adventures set in a dirty world. Now the war is over it's not got any cleaner and our hero, John Russell, finds himself used as a pawn by both the Soviets and the Americans. All he wants to do is survive... like most of the other characters in the novel. This isn't easy when the world is on the brink of collapse. Cigarettes are the only real currency, everything is on ration, gangsters are having a great day, peoples are in flux as they move about Europe - this is true post-apocalyptic stuff when you think about it.
It struck me, as I was reading, that I can't think of many books set in the immediate post-war period in Central Europe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy swansong 28 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some of the adverse reviews of this book describe it as a mere tidying-up at the end of the series. I respect that view but I don't agree with it. Post-war Europe had its own distinctive atmosphere, along with some new perils to confront, and I think this book does an excellent job of scene-painting while also taking the protagonists' various stories on to their respective next stages. For me this is a good end to a fine series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The best thing about "Lehrter Station" is how it so accurately captures the fractured and ad hoc reality of the months that followed the Nazi surrender in May 1945 when the survivors, victims and victors were struggling to find some kind of new equilibrium amidst the physical, social and political wreckage that was the norm in Germany and most of Central Europe.

Author David Downing's skilled blending of narrative and dialogue that lends all of his books a kind of urgent velocity is perfect for this episode that is largely about picking up the pieces of old lives, reconnecting with friends and benefactors and bringing some justice and revenge to the old regime tormentors and thugs who managed to survive the Nazi disintegration and have found new sponsors and benefactors. Above all, this book is the story of what happened to the Jews of Germany and Central Europe and how the Holocaust survivors are shaking off the horror of the past 10 plus years and are moving on to new lives--some through clandestine immigration to Palestine, some going to England, the U.S. and Canada and some few trying to return to Germany, Poland and neighboring countries. To his credit, Downing also includes the German survivors in his tale, without sugar-coating some of the complicity with the Nazis that many of them had to answer for.

There are times when the story comes close to overladen with characters and names as protagonist Russell (and fiance Effi Koenen) has more contacts than a Bausch and Lomb factory, with most of them in play simultaneously. Somehow this occasional glut seems appropriate to the time and place where order is tenuous and everyone is climbing out of hiding to restart life.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Post-war Berlin... 12 May 2012
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
David Downing's new novel, "Lerter Station", is the fifth book in his John Russell series. Begun in pre-war Berlin and continuing through the war, Downing now takes his characters in this book from London to Berlin in the fall of 1945. Russell and his girl-friend, actress Effi Koenen, return to the war-ruined city in a somewhat convoluted plot involving Soviet spies. Most plots dealing with spies in these books - Downing's, Philip Kerr's, Alan Furst's - usually have the spies double, tripling, hell, even quadruple, spying. Frankly, I got confused dealing with the who/what/why of the spying in Downing's book. So I tended to concentrate on the other parts of the story, which were far more interesting.

Life in post-war Berlin was difficult enough for the city's residents. So many buildings were damaged, so many people lost in the bombings and war battles and, of course, in the concentration camps. The city was a meeting place for the war's survivors and most people were trying to find loved ones and friends they had lost track of during the war. The city was divided into four parts - American, British, French, and Russian - and while people could move between the parts fairly easily, already the Russian Zone was taking on an ominous tone as restrictions were beginning to be put in place by the occupying Soviets. Russell has returned to do a little spying, a little reporting, and a lot of fence-mending. Effi has returned to act in a new movie, the first to be filmed in post-war Germany. She was also trying to find the father of a young Jewish girl she had sheltered during the war and was hoping to permanently adopt, as well as the daughter of a Jewish couple she had helped during the war. Downing also includes many other characters from the four earlier books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
beginning to tire with the series,seems to be struggling for story lines
Published 11 days ago by Reliant Robin
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of a great series of books.
The sixth book in this series and all have been well worth while. Apart from a great story there is an engaging over riding story ark through the six books. Read more
Published 27 days ago by B. J. Gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars Back in Berlin, before the wall went up
Lehrter Station has almost nothing to do with the railway station of that name in Berlin, 1945. Nor is it truly a spy-story thriller. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rowena Hoseason
5.0 out of 5 stars Downing's Books
Have enjoyed reading the extension of the original series. Lehrter and Masaryk Station continue this interesting saga. John Russell is an interesting character.
Published 2 months ago by Dr. James F. Mckellican
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent read
I'm really enjoying the Station series. My only regret after reading Lehrter Station is that I'm getting closer to Book 6 and the end of the series. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Traveller
5.0 out of 5 stars David Downing just gets better and better
Superb: wonderfully drawn characters and an atmosphere you can touch. A brilliant contribution to this superb series. A must read.
Published 2 months ago by Dr. Thomas Butler
4.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to the series
I was surprised to find there was a fifth book added to the series, as I had thought number four would be the end. Read more
Published 3 months ago by DibDab
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I am in awe of Mr Downing's skill at compressing so much realistic historical detail and distilling so many harsh realities of the time into one gripping novel. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elaine Tomasso
5.0 out of 5 stars Lehrter Station
David Downing as excellent as usual if you have a penchant for the period covered by these series of 'Station' books then you'll understand and know what I mean. Read more
Published 4 months ago by K R Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Lehrter Station
All the books in the series are a compulsive read and I recommend them to all those interested in that time in history. Read more
Published 5 months ago by John Powell
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