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3.9 out of 5 stars12
3.9 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2011
I recently re-read this book after many years..
and it was a joy to relive the many twists and
turns that Deighton loves to weave into his stories..
The stunning way that he builds characters with care
that keeping you gripped until the last page..

A great story tracking down Nazi gold and the Hitler Diaries,leaving dead bodies behind along the way ..

Recommended read..!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon 17 September 2000
Deighton has surpassed even his normally high quality work with this post-World War II thriller. Weaving a compelling tale of finance, intrigue and history, he draws the reader into the story with subtle proficiency. This departure from his established run of 'spy' novels was an inspired decision. It's a shame this book isn't on the active inventory here.
The story recalls the recovery of hidden Nazi gold, art and documents by American soldiers at the end of World War II in Europe. Some of the soldiers seize the opportunity to filch some of the treasure, setting up a Swiss bank. The real prize, however, resides in the documents - they possess a secret from the early days of the war. The pivotal point of the story, the secret is sought by many, each with their own focus. It's a compelling idea, given impetus by the 'discovery' of a set of 'Hitler's Journals' a few years ago. The bogus Journals don't detract from Deighton's quite credible suggestion hidden in the documents' pages.
Without taking anything away from the plot, it is Deighton's characters that remain his strong point. In this book he conveys unalloyed identity to a diverse cast of participants from the US, Germany, the UK and Russia. None of them fails to convince the reader of their authenticity. You come to know them intimately, even the unpleasant ones. Strangely, the weakest character is the British Intelligence agent, Boyd Stuart. Remoulding Bernard Samson into Stuart would have been transparent, leaving Stuart slightly inconsistent. The real star of Deighton's cast in this book is Charlie Stein. Deighton displays his finest talent in painting this American war veteran in perfect colours. Tom Clancy couldn't have bettered Deighton's depiction of this sergeant running an Army Company with absolute confidence. Officers are merely decorative and built into the organization by default. The sergeants are the real managers, and Stein typically carries the ability through to today. Not having had a brain transplant from an American, Deighton's descriptive presentation of all of the Americans is more than just impressive.
Deighton's prodigious research underlying this book is clearly brought into view through his adept writing skills. You will learn much from this book, while enjoying the story he weaves. Surprises abound, but nothing is out of place. A fine addition to any collection of Deighton, historical speculation, or just plain captivating reading. Why wasn't this story put on film?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2012
I was put off by the product description but found that the story is quite different from what was billed.
A classic Deighton spy story and a very enjoyable read.
If you like Deighton, you should read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2013
For those who have read my comments on Billion Dollar Brian this is really engrossing. After such a long time away fro Deighton I feel I am back to a really good read. This book as most of his of the period is history as well as espionage in a difficult period in post WWII Europe.
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on 2 September 2015
Dire; gave up out of sheer tedium about half way through. The story line is ok but it is so badly delivered as to make it difficult to suspend ones disbelief enough to want to continue. The factual stuff appears poorly researched and therefore fails to persuade. The characters are universally unconvincing and worse, uninteresting. The is a long way from Len Deighton at his best. I have read and enjoyed many of his books, some of which are excellent (e.g. bomber - a thoroughly researched and hugely engaging, intelligent and thought provoking read). If you are new to Len Deighton, don't start here or you may be put off an otherwise fine author. Of course it's always possible that the book magically comes to life in the second half and I am doing it therefore a huge disservice, in which case I am happy to be corrected
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on 24 November 2015
Its a good read but not Deighton's best. The plot line starts very encouragingly - secret meeting between Churchill and Hitler to come up with a peace plan between UK and Germany - dossier of info stolen , any one who see's gets killed. Only thats not quite works out in the book. It is of its time and the persona of the people in the novel reflect the late 70's/early 80's and to a modern reader that might grate a little. The end is great the beginning good but it does sort of loose it way a little 3/4 the way through. Its worth a read but there are many other books that I would rate above it
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on 4 September 2014
Not Mr Deighton's best, a bit too bang-bang, too far from reality. In Winter, for example, everything seemed reasonable, probable, but this is fiction too far into fantasy (not fantasy, just improbable). Kind of James Bond-ish. In summary, no very guid.
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on 6 May 2012
XPD is a period read. Ideal to take you back to how spy books used to be written. A classic thriller of it's time with lovely period detail.
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on 3 January 2015
Where does LD get his story lines from? Brilliant read, couldn't put it down!
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 23 October 2009
Re-issued to celebrate Deighton's 80th birthday in 2009, XPD shows how incredibly dated spy novels from the 1980's have become. This is terribly dreary and pedestrian throughout, with an impenetrable plot and characters that make cardboard cutouts look interesting. Misleadingly, the book is billed as a novel about the so-called Hitler Minutes, from a meeting that supposedly took place between Churchill and Hitler that could have resulted in a very different outcome for the Second World War.

In fact, it's a novel that allows Deighton to show off all sorts of knowledge about spying, technology, military hardware, the film industry, food and drink, the geography of Los Angeles, Nazi military and political history, with scant regard for decent writing and tight plotting. I used to love Deighton's work. But re-reading XPD has made me re-appraise things. The ending couldn't come quickly enough, and it's been a revelation just how out-dated his work has become.

Rather than "the master of fictional espionage" as billed on the cover of the paperback edition, Deighton in many ways heralded in the age of the techno thriller with this novel -doorstep sized books of impossible political double-dealings where the military hardware and technology became more important than character and story-telling. Something of a mixed blessing, I think.
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