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Red Sparrow
Red Sparrow
by Jason Matthews
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant........Fantastic, 24 July 2014
This review is from: Red Sparrow (Paperback)
This is an absolutely brilliant spy story. It is rich in detail, utterly convincing and very, very exciting. Whilst the writing is not as good as John Le Carre, the construction of the plot is on a par with The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and the Smiley/Karla trilogy. A totally fascinating insight into the deadly war of espionage fought between the United States and the Russian Federation. Charles Cumming's review in the New York Times is absolutely spot on.


Night Heron
Night Heron
Price: 6.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Good, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: Night Heron (Kindle Edition)
Every so often a debut espionage/thriller novel is published which stands out for its originality, authenticity, excitement.....or whatever. Thinking about the debut novels that stand out for me - The Day of the Jackal, Fatherland, Remembrance Day, Lie in the Dark, Los Alamos - they are usually written by journalists. Night Heron is a stunningly good debut. Written by a BBC correspondent, it offers a great insight into the espionage war against China. Exciting, authentic...and, above all else, interesting.


HHhH
HHhH
Price: 4.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and innovative, 2 July 2014
This review is from: HHhH (Kindle Edition)
BThis really does deserve 5* because the author has managed to write a book which we all trying to categorise. It can just about claim to be a novel but it is an indication of the author's skill that the argument will continue. The book sets out the story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942 and, in doing so, honours the extraordinary bravery of the two assassins and their supporters in the Resistance. It also captures the tragedy of Czecholovakia from 1938 and highlights the abandonment of the country by Britain and France but also the mind of Heydrich. Massive research has gone into the book and the author is sufficiently confident to take on and challenge others who gave told the same story in film or literature.


Midnight in Europe
Midnight in Europe
by Alan Furst
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Enjoyable................But Not His Best, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Midnight in Europe (Hardcover)
Alan Furst's novels are as good as those written by Eric Ambler at the end of the 1930s. In his latest book, we visit Paris, Madrid (briefly), Berlin, Gdansk, Istanbul, and Odessa. The reader really is taken back in time - the first 8 months of 1938 as the Spanish Civil War comes to a close and the rest of Europe waits and watches the rest of Europe fall into conflict. In this, Alan Furst is as good as ever: one just gets lost in the book. It's wonderful and I will never tire of his stories of ordinary men and women getting caught in the danger and ugliness of the period. My only qualification with Midnight in Europe is that it was not quite was taut as previous books and that I felt that a little too much sentimentality can come in.


Gone Girl
Gone Girl
Price: 2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Majority of Reviewers Are Right - It's Very Good, 9 May 2014
This review is from: Gone Girl (Kindle Edition)
I think 1 and 2* ratings are very unfair. This is a very good - not brilliant - literary thriller. The writing is superb, the plot well constructed and the portrayal of the media's involvement in America's criminal 'justice' system brilliantly done. The final part of the book is not as good as the first two - the ending is not completely satisfactory. But this is a really enjoyable read - not quite as good as Kate Atkinson.


A Colder War
A Colder War
by Charles Cumming
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Spy Story, 25 April 2014
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This review is from: A Colder War (Hardcover)
Charles Cumming's previous book - A Foreign Country - earned a 4* from me but his latest work is truly excellent. The bleakness and ruthlessness of espionage are brought to life vividly. Much of the book is set in the great city of Istanbul and it's a shame that the publishers did not include a map so that the reader could refer to it to see where the islands were etc. My Istanbul pop up city map, sadly, does not show the islands nor, of course, Athens, Izmir, Ankara and Odessa.


Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain (Extremism and Democracy)
Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain (Extremism and Democracy)
by Robert Ford
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.79

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Analysis, 28 Mar 2014
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Potential readers should ignore the absurd review where the book was given 1* and thought of as Dull, dull, dull.

This is a very analytically rigorous and highly readable account of the rise of UKIP over the 20 years of its existence. Anyone interested in British politics should read it.


The Madness of July
The Madness of July
by James Naughtie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written......but unconvincing, 9 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Madness of July (Hardcover)
This book is really good and enjoyable in places - the description of the weekend in Scotland and the brutal way in which the Education Minister's Bill is wrecked by a 'group of political fixers' are fine. As a general statement the book is extremely well written and the author has a fine turn of phrase.

I started the book just after reading Charles Cummings' review of it in The Spectator and was prepared to be thrown into the world of John Le Carre - there are similarities as that review mentions but it's more than 50 years since the Spy Who Came in from the Cold was published and no-one has equalled his style.

I hope that James Naughtie writes another book - my hopes would be that he leaves the reader with a much sharper sense of time - this was set in the 1970s but this was not brought out particularly well - and that he relies more on the plot/conspiracy itself than all the padding/ wandering avenues etc. Le Carre's plots were clever like Naughtie's is but when they were revealed they contained a compelling personal/political/ strategic rationale - this did not and the biggest reason why this is not a 4*.


Taking Morgan
Taking Morgan
by David Rose
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a crowded marketplace........this stands out, 14 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Taking Morgan (Paperback)
This is David Rose's first novel and he uses his knowledge of America and the Middle East to great effect. This is very well written, informative and exciting. It has something of the quality of Henry Porter's books in showing how appalling are some of the features of the 'War on Terror'. I hope he writes more novels but I would be disappointed if her were to repeat the characters - it would be good to move on. Africa perhaps - crying out for attention from the espionage writer community.


Ostland
Ostland
by David Thomas
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly 5*, 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Ostland (Hardcover)
Other reviewers have rightly praised this book for its horrible authenticity. I nearly gave it 5* but felt that the book was not quite complete. I wanted slightly more about Heuser's time from 1945 to his arrest and, more importantly, in the 20 years after his release. The book raises very challenging questions about the nature of guilt and I wanted more detail about his defence. I know the book is a novel and not a biography but the genius of the book lies in the way it draws the reader into an appraisal of Heuser's guilt. The book is superbly written.


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