on 10 March 2008
Set in 1947, the third volume of the exploits of Charlie Bassett sees him returning from an extended period overseas to pick up the threads of his life. After an initial hiccup which sees him thrown into jail as a deserter, he is released to work in his old trade of Radio Operator for the RAF. In this book Charlie is older and shrewder, if not wiser (especially where women are concerned).
David Fiddimore has skilfully woven facts from his own background into a fine and gripping tale. Once again the story cracks and fizzes along. He conjurs up the weariness and paranoia of the immediate post-war years with consumate skill - a world where the old rules haven't quite been abandoned, and the new ones haven't quite been adopted. A rich variety of interesting characters, some familiar from the two earlier novels, follow Charlie through the cracks in this moral landscape, in which the lead character is forced to examine his motivations whilst simultaneously staying one step ahead of the various women in his life, the Russians, and the British Secret Service.
For the third time Fiddimore has created a novel I couldn't put down. I'm now re-reading the earlier two books in the vain attempt to fil the gap that has been created since I finished it. I sincerely hope that he does indeed, as he teases us in the Afterword, put pen to paper with the further adventures of Charlie Bassett.
To anyone reading this - buy this book (and the other two), you won't be disappointed. And to Mr Fiddimore: MORE PLEASE!
on 10 November 2008
I think this is probably the best of the Charlie Bassett books so far, though they are all pretty excellent. His writing is getting better all the time.
I think what marks this novel apart is the depth of human relationships, the way Charlie's new love interest develops (it's a shameless yet moving extra marital affair with a girl he seduces) and the moments of new understanding he shares with Grace. There is also the insightful treatment of post-war social issues such as homelessness, food rationing, emerging communism and the injustice metered out to war veterans.
Fiddimore's narrative is taut, loaded, vivid and action-packed. He populates his stories with bizarre yet fascinating characters, often placing them in comic, ironic situations.
This book brought to life a period of British history I had rarely thought about before. There are credible suppositions too, for example that the RAF were conducting profile targeting on soviet topography as early as 1947.
I really can't wait to read the next one...
on 14 September 2010
Yet another series in which I jump in the middle and I know i am going to go back to the start again. This story can be read as a stand alone it gives enough of a back story so that you are not lost and also enough that you want to find out more. Our hero Charlie pursues his lost love through the red menace and the remains of post war london. There is a good period feel and an engaging protagonist. I am definitely looking forward to following Charlie on his adventures. An adventure is the word to be describe this tale. This story also has a social history feel to it i just did not get that the aftermath of victory is not always great for all the victors and this rising tide took it's time to float all boats. Post war london felt like post maggie thatcher London to me, uncaring.
on 5 June 2011
I have read all David Fiddimore's books which says a lot, I think that they are good. An unusual style of writing and an unusual era to be writing about. I think that you have to be into your 70's to have lived through the history in which the novels are set. I remember the Berlin Air Lift, the Suez Crisis and the Cyprus 'war'. Some of my contemporaries were in Suez and I could have been posted to Cyprus for my National Service.
I think that the author catches the mood of the era very well and, for me, the books are a step back in time. Anyone who was not alive during the times which the author writes about will, I think, get a flavor of the post war period.
The third volume featuring Charlie Bassett and his war time exploits in the RAF. This time we find him in the immediate post-war era when it was a very strange world as some sort of peace descended on the battered survivors. He becomes involved in the initial hostilities between the allies and the Soviets, the forgotten war of the title. There is also the irksome matter of the rise of communist sympathies within the West. Another masterful dialogue in the first person mode, though this time we learn that he is recalling events whilst in his eighties and living in contemporary times. The only thing that jars slightly in this episode is the relentless sexual abandon which pervades his life and those around him. Was it really like this? I suppose that would explain the baby boom at least!
on 29 August 2009
This is a superb book about an almost forgotten period in our history. The Russians tried to oust the British, American and French form post war Berlin. The humour, pathos and historical accuracy is exceptional. I promptly bought every book in the series and am waiting for the next one impaitiently.
on 15 September 2010
Another well-written, interesting and informative novel by David Fiddimore. It makes one realise the difficult times that people experienced post war, and the stupidity of some rules and regulations. Well worth reading.
on 27 November 2008
Yet another absolutely superb book from the greatest Author of all, David Fiddimore.The third book about the adventures and misadventures of Charlie Bassett. As with the other two books i just could not put this down and felt so frustrated when i finished it. The characters are brilliant and every page will have you laughing or feeling so shocked that you have to go back and read the page again!Cant wait for David's new book next year, please please keep on writing more.And if you read this David, please let Charlie settle down with a good woman!