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Silesian Station Paperback – 11 Jan 2011


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Silesian Station + Zoo Station (John Russell 1) + Potsdam Station
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (11 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906964599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906964597
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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

'A remarkable achievement . . . David 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

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

'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 --...

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By ST FERGUSON on 6 April 2008
Format: Paperback
I really liked "Zoo Station", the first John Russell thriller but with "Silesian Station", David Downing has crafted a thriller of some class worthy of the likes of Alan Furst or John le Carre.

"Silesian Station" is a well-written, well-researched thriller set in Berlin in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War. John Russell, a journalist, becomes involved in espionage, in the embryonic Jewish resistance and in the hunt for a young woman who has disappeared shortly after arriving in Berlin.

The characters are well drawn, the plot measured and the atmosphere evoked outstanding. In Russell, David Downing has created an excellent character of some complexity.

I look forward eagerly to the third book in the series.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Parry VINE VOICE on 24 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been waiting for something like this for almost 20 years. A series about pre-war Germany that actually makes you feel that you are there.
Not since Phillip Kerr has someone come along who has created a character and stories to equal his Bernie Gunther series.

I read Zoo Station before Christmas and held out on reading this so that I could enjoy this and prepeare for the what will hopefully be the third in the series later this year.

I read this while recovering from the flu and kept my wife amused as I purred, laughed and sighed my way through the book. It immediately brought back my own visits to Berlin (though not that long ago). You can smell the food, beer and see the sights as you read the book.

Russell is again caught in a vice between the German, Russian and American intelligence services. In between times he has a missing Jewsess to locate. All this is set against the impending war that everyone knows, and fears, is coming.

We follow Russell as he travels around Eastern Europe, taking in an occupied Czech republic, an "autonomous" Slovak republic, a pre=invasion Warsaw and Moscow just as the non agression treaty is agreed.

We meet spies, policemen, actresses and ordinary people struggling to survive in "the cage" - as Nazi Germany was known to those who lived there.

There is not only a thriller here but moments of comedy that surface without warning; moments where your heart is squeezed and, hidden away, small stories of everyday events that really happened.

Buy this and enjoy a great read by a superb author who really knows his craft and his historical place.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Moi, j'aime lire... on 3 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
Like Zoo Station, this is a thoroughly detailed and gripping historical spy novel. Appealing are the backdrop, the gathering pace and especially the way the lead character falls into a horribly complicated situation without really trying. Really good, I await the third volume with bated breath.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Darren McCormac VINE VOICE on 5 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The second book in the Station series is as tightly written as the first, but much darker. We are quickly drawn into Berlin in summer 1939, just before the War, and whilst on the surface life is good for John Russell, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he is asked to look into the disappearance of a young Jewish girl. This is one story arc, and one that ends with imagination and pace towards the end of the book.

As with the first book, espionage plays a part and at times it's easy to forget who is playing off who, and who is getting fake information and who knows what. But that does take us on a whistlestop tour of central and eastern Europe during the days of quickening Nazi occupation and aggression, again Downing paints a very involving, gripping picture - all the more so if you have been to Berlin or any of the other cities mentioned.

Another theme of the book is the thoughts and words of ordinary Germans during this era - yes there is some licence here, but it's a good reminder that fundamentally we are all the same and few people look forward to war...

In all, an intricately-woven web of a story that manages to grip and entertain, without being too heavy - considering the subject matter. Now on to book three...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jl Adcock VINE VOICE on 28 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This feels like a long book for one that comes in at just over 300 pages. That's essentially down to the chapters being quite lengthy and packed with detail, but the story itself meanders quite badly and feels directionless some of the time.

Downing's ability to reconstruct the atmosphere in Europe on the brink of war in 1939 can't be faulted, but the plot feels a bit slow and laboured, and the fact that journalist John Russell is also combining his day job with espionage duties for the Nazis and the Russians adds layers of complexity that occasionally need some unpicking.

The main story - the disappearance of a young Jewish girl arriving in Berlin - is finally resolved at the end of the book, but rather lamely it must be said, and after a suspenseful final chapter the narrative drags on a bit too long. As another reviewer has rightly said, the book was in need of an edit to give it some sense of pace, because this is lacking for large chunks of the book as Russell rides around parts of Europe on endless train journeys.

Perhaps the meticulous attention to detail is the appeal in this series, but there needs to be an injection of something new in the later titles, otherwise it's going to be a hard journey to the end. As mentioned in a review of Zoo Station, I unwisely started this series with one of the mid-point books, which you simply can't do - so I'll stick with them in the right order now, but hope for something a bit pacier in the next one: Stettin Station.
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