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Potsdam Station [Paperback]

David Downing
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 July 2010 Station
April 1945. Hitler's Reich is on the verge of extinction, and its enemies are already plotting against each other. Assaulted by Allied bombs and Soviet shells, ruled by Nazis with nothing to lose, Berlin has become the most dangerous place on earth.
Anglo-American journalist John Russell has travelled to Moscow, having escaped from Berlin in 1941 as America entered the war following the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Russell's eighteen-year-old son Paul, born to a German mother, is on the Oder front line, awaiting the final Soviet onslaught, ready to retreat towards Berlin, and resigned to the certain prospect of either death or imprisonment. Inside Berlin, Russell's girlfriend Effi has a Jewish orphan to care for, and the Gestapo on her trail. The advancing Red Army promises liberation, but is also seeking retribution, particularly from German women.
To find and save his son and girlfriend, Russell must reach Berlin no later than the Red Army. But only the Soviets can get him there, and the price of their help will threaten both his and the world's future.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (6 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905847947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905847945
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 488,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'An extraordinary evocation of Nazi Germany'
C.J. Sansom

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

'Stands with Alan Furst for authentic detail and atmosphere'
Donald James, author of Monstrum

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

'A wonderfully drawn spy novel'
The Bookseller on Zoo Station

'Exciting and frightening . . . It's got everything going for it'
Julie Walters on Silesian Station

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

About the Author

David Downing is the author of numerous works of fiction and non-fiction. The first 'John Russell and Effi Koenen' novel, Zoo Station, was published in 2007 and became a word-of-mouth bestseller. It was followed by Silesian Station in 2008, Stettin Station in 2009 and Potsdam Station in 2010. David lives in Surrey with his wife and two cats. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A punch in the gut 7 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I greatly enjoyed the three previous *Station* novels and ordered this early. I was a little disconcerted to read that the action has skipped across some three years, and that this installment brings together all the key protagonists as the Reich contracts to its core, Berlin.

This must have been a challenge to write. Downing has to orchestrate his characters, bringing Russell back from the US and his son back from Russia. The latter is simple--he retreats; the former is more complex and while plausible, it ratchets up the plot to a higher level of physical action than the series has seen before.

I thought I had seen and read enough about Berlin in 1945 to get a sense of time and place, but this account takes the challenge of survival to a whole new level. The noise, smells and sights are piled on, almost to breaking point--as indeed they were for the German population, waiting either to vanquish their enemies at the last moment, or instead to die.

By the last third of the book, I was virtually unable to read ahead or put the book down--the tension was almost too much. It seemed impossible that the characters could survive the SS, the Red Army or the USAF bombs (and of course in reality many did not]. As the Thousand Year Reich shrank to a city, then a few districts, the characters are aligned, find each other, lose each other and .....well, you need to read it yourself!

I can't say this was a fun summer read. It stepped well beyond the minimal action of Alan Furst and Phillip Kerr and offered up a true inferno of intense experience. It would be a shame if David Downing now abandoned these people after investing so much in them; just as Bernard Gunther has become more interesting after 1945, I hope we get to see what happens to this cast in the post-war world.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly Detailed and Engrossing 28 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The third in David Downing's "Station" series featuring John Russell is as every bit as engrossing as its predecessors. It will help readers to read them in the correct sequence, but each is an excellent book in its own right.

It is now late 1941 and America is on the verge of entering the War. John Russell, American passport holder, journalist and sometime spy-of-sorts, clings onto life in Berlin because of his actress girlfriend and his son. It is an increasingly desperate Berlin which Downing evokes. It is dark, it smells, it is subjected to not-very-effective night time bombing raids from the RAF. We know, of course, that things will get much worse for the German capital, and the fate of those Russell leaves behind when he escapes at the end of the book is something we cannot predict. Perhaps there is more to come in the series, although as an American citizen Russell would be an enemy of Germany's from here on in and it will tax even the imagination of this excellent writer to find a way of returning his chief protagonist to Hitler's Germany.

Once again Downing rights with his usual flashes of wry and often bitter humour as he describes life in Nazi Germany, on the verge of its long and awful slide to annihilation. It is splendidly detailed - the description of human waste emanating from a train carrying Russian prisoners is one example - and it leaves with a clear idea of what everyday life was like in the hellhole of 1941 Berlin.

Russell's dawning realization of what the Nazis have in mind for Europe's Jews horrifies us even though it is nothing we don't already know.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series about Nazi Germany 18 Aug 2010
I can't remember how I found these novels but I am sure it was through scouring Amazon for similar books to David Fiddimore's Charlie Bassett series which are also excellent. Like many of the other reviewers here I have really enjoyed this series of 'Station' books. I read them all over the last couple of weeks and agree with others that you need to start with Zoo Station. Can't say I have a favourite as I thought they were all excellent! I am now trying to find something else along the same lines....
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric 4 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the third in the Joihn Russell series from Downing. Like te previous 2 (Zoo & Silesian Stations) this is set in Berlin, here in the run up to Pearl Harbour.

Russell is an English journalist, with an American passport, working in Nazi Berlin in order stay with his actress girlfriend and close to his half German son. He is an ex-communist who hates the Nazi party for what they have done to the Berlin that he loves.

This book os set in the few weeks leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and follows Russell as he tries to find out what is happening to the city's disappearing Jewish population. This leads him and his girlfriend into danger.

At the same time he is being used as a pawn by the US intelligence services and the Abwehr and SD. He has to stay one step ahead of everyone while trying to find a way to protect his loved ones from the Nazis and a way to stay close to them if America comes into the war.

This is full of atmosphere. You can feel wartime Berlin asyou read every page. The conflict between Nazi propaganda and the experience of everyday Germans. There is the way that the news is massaged to hide what is starting to happen in Russia as the army surrounds Moscow. You feel that victory is a short step away, even though you already know the result.

The story flows quickly and there is danger at almost every turn. Russell is hunted after a mission to Prague for the Abwehr is found to be a ruse by the SD to find a conspiracy in the Abwehr's ranks.

The end is a little contrived and makes you wonder how the series can continue, maybe it'll move onto the war's end and Germany's demise next but you never feel let down or cheated.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... books in this series and this is just as good as the others
Have read all the books in this series and this is just as good as the others.
Published 2 days ago by dodo
5.0 out of 5 stars Judy
Clearly cleverly written and contains a suspenseful storyline together with the feeling of being in war torn Berlin before and during the war. Read more
Published 2 days ago by judyjon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent book
Published 9 days ago by Derek Antony Everest
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A compelling story, well written. Ended abruptly leaving me wanting to hear more about the main protagonists. I will probably read more from this author.
Published 14 days ago by Steve C
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent story and vivid picture of wartime Berlin
excellent story and vivid picture of wartime Berlin.Would have prefered a better conclusion as we are left in the air about the future of both lead characters
Published 14 days ago by Denis Lindley
3.0 out of 5 stars moderately interesting but no more
Hard to comprehend the outstanding reviews for this book; I felt it was a moderately interesting story that ultimately went nowhere and ended with a whimper. Read more
Published 16 days ago by garrisonhalibut
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
The books just get better. This one was more compelling and felt even more real than the first two. Great read.
Published 19 days ago by A C HALLETT
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not my thing
Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the books I actually regret buying, it is not bad it...
I have deducted one star for really elementary spelling and grammar errors. Another because the story is OK, possibly realistic, but lacks a definitive start and end leaving the... Read more
Published 29 days ago by H. M. Sykes
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good read
Published 1 month ago by vic
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Why has this disappeared? Reprinting now not out till April 2011? 4 28 Oct 2010
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