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Uncommon Danger (Penguin Modern Classics)

Uncommon Danger (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Eric Ambler , Thomas Jones
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A crackerjack spy story, jammed with action, intrigue, thrills and super-villainy' Saturday Review 'If you want to experience the feel of the Continent in the 1930s, you will find few better guides' - Robert Harris

Product Description

Kenton's career as a journalist depends on his facility with languages, his knowledge of European politics and his quick judgement. Where his judgement sometimes fails him, however, is in his personal life. When he travels to Nuremberg to investigate a story about a top-level meeting of Nazi officials, he inadvertently finds himself on a train bound for Austria after a bad night of gambling. Stranded with no money, Kenton jumps at the chance to earn a fee helping a refugee smuggle securities across the border. Yet he soon discovers that the documents he holds have far more than cash value - and that they could cost him his life ...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 975 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B0010KAUMC
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI98UG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,780 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "For many men that stumble at the threshold 11 Jan 2011
By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Are well foretold that danger lurks within." Henry VI, Part III.

When down-on-his-luck British journalist Kenton boarded an Austria-bound train at Nuremberg he likely had no idea what danger lurked within. Strapped for cash after losing virtually all his money in a dice game, Kenton agrees to smuggle an envelope across the Austrian border for an old man claiming to be a refugee from Hitler's Germany. This was the point at which Kenton stumbled at the threshold of danger in Eric Ambler's spy thriller "Uncommon Danger".

Long before Fleming's James Bond, le Carre's George Smiley and Len Deighton's Harry Palmer there were Eric Ambler's accidental spies. In the late 1930's the loosely defined adventure/spy genre was not much advanced from the earlier works of Erskine Childers (Riddle of the Sands) and John Buchan (Thirty Nine Steps). Typically, Ambler would take an unassuming, unsuspecting spectator and immerse him in a world of mystery and intrigue in pre-World War II Europe, a world of shadows and shades of grey. The result was a series of highly entertaining and satisfying books that many believe set the stage for the likes of Fleming (who read Ambler's "A Coffin for Dimitrios" while writing "From Russia With Love") le Carre, Deighton, and, most recently, Alan Furst. "Background to Danger" is an excellent example of Ambler at work.

Kenton's absorption into the world of intrigue begins shortly after taking possession of the documents on the train. It quickly becomes clear that the man is no refugee and the envelope contains documents that foretell danger for anyone unlucky enough to have them.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
'Uncommon danger' was first published in 1937 (in the U.S.A. this appeared as Background to Danger; it was made into a film, Background to Danger, in 1943, directed by Raoul Walsh and starring George Raft).
Synopsis: An English journalist has lost all his money in a poker game and gets on the Nuremberg-Linz (Austria) train to borrow some from an old acquaintance. A shady character offers him a substantial sum to carry some papers across the German/Austrian border, and he accepts. When he delivers the papers in Linz, the shady character has been murdered, and our English journalist is accused of the murder. He has to find the real murderer, as well as what the papers represent, and gets into deep political waters.

This book is amazingly different from Ambler's first book, 'Dark Frontier', from 1936, which didn't quite know if it wanted to be a pastiche or a thriller. I would say this one is the first of modern 'spy' thrillers, the forerunner of Deighton, Le Carre et al. There is a really good atmosphere of increasing oppression, the 'hero' is all too human, confused and scared, but stubborn and opinionated too. A nice touch is that his helpers against the forces of evil are.. communists. But then the book was published two years before the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact...
The book has a very nice line in irony and cynicism, but can be emotional too (the outburst of the English commercial traveller comes as quite a shock), and deals, in a very Ambler-fashion, with the reactions of a normal person, an amateur, with high politics and big business, and the tentacles of 'policy' carried out by criminals.
A surprisingly modern story, really; and still very readable, and still very enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncommon Danger 13 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yet again Eric Ambler has written a truly compelling book I just love his writing its just so nostalgic not that I was born in the 30"s but just that era had many things going on post and pre war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Penguin Modern Classic 5 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love Ambler, I love Penguin Modern Classics...but UNCOMMON DANGER isn't quite classic Ambler. It's enjoyable but it has a slightly jokey at times even farcical element to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Uncommonly good. 14 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First-rate spy novel set in 1930s Europe. A struggling freelance journalist get sucked into the world of espionage after boarding a night train in Nuremburg. He becomes the pawn of spies, and the spies in turn are pawns of ... wait for it ... a villainous Big Oil company. This novel is European noir at its finest. If you, like me, have run out of LeCarre novels to read and are still waiting for Alan Furst to put out his next, then Eric Ambler is the author for you. That said, he is a bit less preachy than LeCarre and has a lighter touch than Furst.
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