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Masaryk Station (John Russell 6) Paperback – 25 Jun 2013


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Masaryk Station (John Russell 6) + Lehrter Station (John Russell 5) + Potsdam Station
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (25 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908699132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908699138
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'In the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr'
Washington Post

'A superb sequence of spy novels comes to an end . . . Like its predecessors, Masaryk Station offers tight, intelligent plots full of moral ambiguities and a cast of shadowy characters for whom deception is as natural as breathing. The clammy atmosphere of espionage is wonderfully conveyed.'
Marcel Berlins in The Times

'The author not only creates intrigue but, over the course of six engrossing novels chronicles the shifting conscience of his main character. His descriptions ring true, not only in moments of crisis and action but of the quotidian days between: prewar negotiations, threats and reprieves, false alarms, dashed hopes, everyday pleasures, encroaching dread . . . Almost epic in scope, Downing's "Station" cycle creates a fictional universe rich with a historian's expertise but rendered with literary style and heart.'
WALL STREET JOURNAL

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

'Downing's outstanding evocation of the times (as masterly as that found in Alan Furst's novels or Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series), thematic complexity (as rich as that of John le Carré), and the wide assortment of fully rendered characters provide as much or more pleasure than the plot, where disparate threads are tied together in satisfying and unexpected ways.'
Library Journal on Masaryk Station

'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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Christopher H TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 May 2013
Format: Paperback
With the final installment in the John Russell series of novels, David Downing now takes his characters to the first crisis of the Cold War with the Berlin Airlift. Loose ends left from the previous book are tied up, sorting out what will happen to characters and relationships; and along the way the author subtly uses what is occurring politically in Yugoslavia, and in Czechoslovakia, to present the two main options facing East Germany as Stalin cracks down on countries he has occupied. Of course, there is a mystery to solve, too - a puzzling suicide - but it isn't forced. People get on with everyday living.

If John Russell is often away on work in Trieste, Prague and other locations, his wife Effi Koenen is back in Berlin, and it is through her that we watch the Russians clamp down on the capital, inch by inch trying to isolate the city and cut it off. In this Russell's old friend Gerhard Strohm gives the view from inside the German communist party, showing how members are manipulated/coerced by Moscow into doing things they fundamentally disagree with. Strohm is incredulous to discover that forced Labor Camps are being set up within East Germany, and through him we see the impact that Koestler's then fresh novel Darkness at Noon had on German communists as Russian oppression set in. In subtle ways Effi and Gerhard characterise Berliners who can see repression creeping up, and just don't know what to do to prevent the rise of a new police state.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk on 30 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the last in the "Station" series and I'm already thinking that I've been a bit harsh in only giving it three stars but I'm sticking to it for a number of small reasons that I shall explain later.
In "Lehrter Station" David Downing painted a superb picture of post-War Berlin; a grubby world of mixed morals, the fit child of the Nazi War. In "Masaryk Station" the world of 1948 feels perhaps a little less grubby but more uncertain because of the political game the Soviets are playing. It was interesting reading about a Berlin where the divisions of the times to come did not exist and which were unimaginable. People seem to move around between zones with perfect freedom but also with an understanding of the undertones that exist in Soviet behaviour. Abroad (because that's where a lot of the action in the first half of the book takes place) it is the Americans who are playing a duplicitous game just as they did in "Lehrter Station". They have allied themselves with former Nazi supporters in what they know will be the coming conflict with the Soviets. They play a quiet role in supporting the number of escape routs that have been set up for Ukrainian Nazi-supporting nationalists, bloodthirsty Croat racists and for Soviet defectors. Our hero, John Russell is in the middle of both these worlds and thus has no illusions about either party. His hands feel filthy and he would love to get out.
Then along comes an opportunity. Something has turned up that might just provide Russell and his family with a get-out-of-jail-free ticket...
On the whole this was a good read marred only by the terrible grammatical errors that appear to have been thrown into the publication like spanners intended to ruin my day.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Davyloyal on 12 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Up there with the rest of the series, and I'll be sad to see the last of John and Effi. Maybe if we put enough pressure on Mr Downing, he will do another, after all, the ending gave me the impression that it's at least a possibility. Or maybe that's just wisful thinking on my part.
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By Luis Gouveia on 25 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i) my evaluation is for the whole series
ii)at the end of the last book, Downing mentions Greene and Furst as the two authors in the special "elusive writing"
club; i guess that with the book sin this series, Downing deserves to be in the club
iii) in the last book, the author refers a lot, in fact it is na importante part of the story,
to Yugoslavia after the war and the "disagreement" between the communist parties of Yugoslavia and Soviet Union;
this was quite refreshing; not clear why this topic is not more seen in other spy/thriller books

Great series ! Pity it is the lastbook in the series. Hopefully, the author will get back to it in the future
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit on 24 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
With this, the sixth novel in the John Russell series, David Downing brings to a finale the chronicle covering the years between the World Wars, those following the collapse of Nazi Germany. It has been quite a journey, with Russell having served as a double agent for both the Soviets and Americans, certainly as dangerous as an existence can be. Each of the novels reflected the times and the clashes of the ideological differences between the two countries.

In the final book, the story of a divided Germany and Berlin is recounted, ending with the seeds that were sown in the fall of the Soviet Empire. At the same time, the personal conflicts that beset Russell and others who at first embraced and then questioned socialism are explored and analyzed.

Each entry in the series was well-crafted to not only tell a gripping story of our times, but to call to mind the era as portrayed by real-life characters. It has been an excellently told saga. (It is unfortunate that the latest volume suffers from poor production, editing and proofreading, riddled with typographical and grammatical errors.) Next spring, we are promised a new series by the author moving back in time to World War I.

My parenthetical criticism notwithstanding, the novel is recommended.
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