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Many espionage novels contain details about spies who have siphoned off some of their operating budgets into Swiss bank accounts. None other than The Intercom Conspiracy (to my knowledge) involves using a spy's awareness of how espionage is committed to encourage a retirement payoff by releasing "non-secret secrets."
The narration of The Intercom Conspiracy provides part of its charm. The central figure is Theodore Carter, the hard-drinking editor of a weekly newspaper that focuses on intelligence matters. He recounts his unpleasant experiences as editor when new owners begin providing him with real classified information . . . and various parties become interested in shutting down the Intercom, either by buying it out or by eliminating its editor.
Carter is approached by Charles Latimer, the inquisitive crime writer of A Coffin for Dimitrios, for his help in completing the story of those events at the Intercom. Latimer has learned about the background plot from one of the conspirators (a neighbor in Majorca) and wants to go public. Before long, Latimer disappears while Carter goes on to flesh out the story Latimer has dug up.
Using a combination of Carter's narration and Latimer's writing, you'll uncover what really happened. It's a chilling . . . but often perversely droll . . . tale of how espionage bureaucracies operate. Thinking back to the many intelligence "failures" that have been noted in recent years with regard to terrorism, it makes one wonder who may have been running a similar little game for their own benefit.
After you finish this intriguing story, think about how your work could be misdirected to harmful ends. How can you avoid that?
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on 1 February 2016
As a fan of Eric Ambler I have read most of his books when I was younger, but I completely missed this one. It is a brilliant novel with some very interesting plot devices. The novel takes the form of a set of notes for a book written about a magazine called 'Intercom', this is interspersed with comments to the author from various protagonists, telegrams and transcripts.
It is very easy to pick up, and whilst set in the late 1960's it feels (like a lot of Ambler's work) much more modern, because he is an expert in deciphering humans and their relationships with each other, and whilst technology changes apace, humans remain the same.
An excellent novel, recommended for anyone who hasn't yet discovered Ambler.
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on 1 February 2016
I found the story a little heavy going in the first chapter, but persevered and once I got into it I really enjoyed it.The main character is Theodore Carter who is the editor of a weekly newspaper "Intercom" which focuses on intelligence matters. The magazine is bought by new owners who give real, classified information which upsets some of the readers, and the readers try to get it closed down.Charles Latimer helps Theodore to find out who the new owners are and who wants to close it down.They both find themselves in danger and as Latimer disappears the powerful enemies will stop at nothing to close it down. The story is full of Amblers usual twists and turns to grip your attention.
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on 1 February 2016
I read this book several years back and re-reading it was as good as the first time, it's a brilliant novel by the man that Le Carre,' TV & film producers & others drew their inspiration from. The plot is deceptively simple, two European spy-masters at the pinnacle of their careers with nothing to look forward to except retirement hatch a plan to create a more financially comfortable one. The book has everything for the crime/mystery/espionage aficionado, spies, thugs, CIA, KGB, deception, intrigue, death and a beautiful woman. I look forward to the re-issue of more Eric Ambler books - read this one, you wont be disappointed
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on 30 January 2016
The book hooked me with the first paragraph - "It was on May 31 of last year, at Geneva's Cointrin airport, that the man who called himself Charles Latimer disappeared. All efforts to trace him have so far failed." The book then continues with a mix of styles as the story unfolds... no spoilers, so I'll content myself with writing that it (the story) moves at a good pace, with no real evidence of flagging, to a denouement that should give you pause for thought. I've read that it's not one of his best books,but I think it'll bear rereading.
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on 27 January 2016
I was offered this title by the publisher and once read to give an honest review on Amazon.

I found it confusing at the start and it took a while to get used to the style of writing but as the book progressed I found I was enjoying it more and more and was left at the end deciding my own conclusion (rather like the film The Italian Job where the bus with the bullion on board is balanced on the edge of the precipice - do they manager to save it or not - you decide).

All in all a rather good story once you get into it.
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on 10 February 2016
Fantastic thriller. From the first few pages I was hooked. The book has an unusual style of flitting between transcript conversation to more first person storytelling which kept me both interested and on my toes! By creating layer by layer a clandestine world of spy agencies, journalists and innocent bystanders Ambler constructs a gripping story which I was certainly wanting to get to the end to discover the fate of the protagonist Carter and the shadowy Generals. Both entertaining and thoroughly believable.
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on 9 February 2016
Another brilliant book from Ambler, well written, engrossing, funny, and prescient in its plot and themes. I like the Charles Lattimer character, so glad to see him back. I particularly liked the book's structure, which varies from letters, interview documents, narrative, and there is a clearly different voice in each - many authors now use this device, few as successfully as Ambler.
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on 8 February 2016
A gripping tale told as a series of transcriptions and letters between the detective fiction writer Charles Latimer Lewison and his agent Theodore Carter. The cast includes Carter's beautiful daughter, the mysterious Colonel Jost and various members of European and American intelligence agencies. Highly enjoyable and a fine example of Ambler's writing.
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on 1 February 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this - one of Eric Amblers less well known books perhaps. It's a typically intelligent thriller with all the characteristic sense of menace you expect from his stories, together with an uncannily modern feel. Ambler's novels don't seem to have dated at all to me. Highly recommended and unfairly neglected.
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