Top positive review
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A truly great book
on 26 November 2004
Kingsley Amis called this one of the best ten books of the 20th century, and I'm not going to argue. Deighton normally writes agreeable spy and war fiction, but this is on a higher plane (no pun intended). The story of Creaking Door, Joe for King, The Volkswagen and all the other Lancasters flying out of Warley Fen seems to have tapped a deep root of emotion in Deighton, leading him to write a book that for sheer emotional engagement has few parallels. He writes above himself consistently, making the characters live - and die - for you in a way few if any writers could equal. The story is by turns amusing, interesting, and in the end horrifying. I find it hard to believe that anyone could read this without being deeply moved. If Deighton could write like this all the time, he would be acclaimed as one of the greatest novelists of the age; he never reaches such heights in any other work, but I for one am glad he did it once.
The audiobook of the 1995 BBC radio adaptation is (if possible) even better, being quite simply one of the finest examples of radio drama ever produced; Deighton's powerful story is interwoven with comments from real veterans of the bombing campaign (British and German) and the terrific acting, incredible atmosphere and superb adaptation combine into a solid gold masterpiece. Buy both book and CD, and enhance the quality of your library.