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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read
After seeing this book being used partially for a TV adaptation I was pleased to find a copy for my Kindle. Robert Ryan manages to catch the feeling of the period the Great Train Robbery took place, and seamlessly mixes fiction with fact. Obviously a lot of research went into this book and it shows, making this a very compelling read.

Starting off in 1992...
Published 12 months ago by M. Dowden

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A good read but not as good as the BBC mini series recently on TV which was based on this book!
Published 9 months ago by Mr. Ian Pearce


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read, 27 Dec 2013
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Signal Red (Kindle Edition)
After seeing this book being used partially for a TV adaptation I was pleased to find a copy for my Kindle. Robert Ryan manages to catch the feeling of the period the Great Train Robbery took place, and seamlessly mixes fiction with fact. Obviously a lot of research went into this book and it shows, making this a very compelling read.

Starting off in 1992 with an incident involving one of the robbers we are then transported back in time, to before the robbery was even being thought of. The story really comes alive and feels very real as we read of events that led to the heist at Heathrow, and then on to the train robbery itself. Although the robbery has entered folklore, when we persons who weren't born until years after can only come up with a couple of names of the criminals involved you really have to admire the fact that so many people were involved, and kept their mouths shut, not grassing up others. You can read accounts by the criminals themselves, accounts by others, and watch TV programs, but this book is such an easy read and would be a good introduction to anyone wanting to learn a bit more, as a first port of call.

In today's world the money stolen from the train would actually be about £41 million which gives you some kind of idea why there was so much furore at the time, and the authorities wanted harsh long prison sentences to try and curtail others of thinking of big money crimes. As we read here of the planning and execution of the crime we also see what happens in the aftermath. With corruption in the police force anyway, officers are tempted to fabricate evidence, due to pressures for results from above, and to make a name for themselves.

Well thought out this shows the troubles of the criminals, the corruption of some of the police and the end results of stealing so much money, with the biggest irony being that no one really gained a happy carefree life with loads of money, and as well as keeping one eye on who is behind you, having to deal with others wanting to get their hands on the cash. A thoughtful, well plotted story this would make a good read for book groups as something that you can have a really good discussion over.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story Worth Telling, 20 April 2012
By 
John Richard "camban99" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Signal Red (Paperback)
The loveable rogue sort of criminal once had folk hero status but seem not exist these days. This is a well written and researched piece of history that describes an amazing, well planned example of historical criminality that shocked and impressed the public at the time. If they had not injured the train driver and some of the gang had had more discipline we might still be wondering who had pulled off this epic robbery.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different take on The Great Train Robbery, 31 Dec 2012
This review is from: Signal Red (Paperback)
Although I've most of Robert Ryan's excellent books I didn't rush out to buy this one.The main reason being that as a fan of true crime I'd read so many books about the Great Train Robbery that I couldn't see what Ryan could bring to the table by way of something different.Well he manages it in a couple of ways,firstly by introducing fictitious characters where the identity of those involved isn't known and secondly by concentrating on the story of one of the less well-known robbers,Roy James,getaway driver and up and coming racing driver before several years in prison stunted what appeared to be a very promising career.
Signal red reminded me very much of Jake Arnott's crime novels set in the same era,bent coppers,sleazy tabloid hacks and brutal villains.Thankfully Ryan spares us the "Robin Hood" tale of cheeky chappies having a lark and putting one over on the establishment.The reality as we know now is that many of the robbers were nasty,brutal thugs who battered the innocent senseless on more than one occasion during robberies and Buster Edwards was more Vinnie Jones than Phil Collins.
Writing a book on an event many readers will have a comprehensive knowledge of is a brave thing to do and Robert Ryan pulls it off admirably.While it's a work of fiction it weaves the fictional with the facts seamlessly and is believable and entertaining.Sprinkled liberally throughout the tale are snippets of information about the robbers and the robbery,Roy James nickname and the debate over it for example.
On occasion I got the impression Robert Ryan was enjoying himself planting pet theories into the story,for example
one of the main characters is a used car salesman who runs his business from Warren Street,notorious for it's dodgy motor traders.Reading the autobiography of Bernie Ecclestone reveals that he had a used car business there at that time and it was suggested more than once that he was involved with the Great Train robbery,and in fact knew Roy James.
Great read and probably the descriptions of some of the robbers is more accurate than you'll find in the earlier books about them,the truth is somewhat less pleasant.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY-FACT AND FICTION, 14 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Signal Red (Paperback)
A book like this is difficult to write-we all know the ending,and what happened to the main characters. This was an enjoyable read,and gave a good insight into the social and cultural climate that existed in the 1960's.It gives an insight into the murky and devious role of the police in those days. The police and the criminals do not seem to be too far apart from each other,and as it states in the book there is a certain respect on both sides towards each other. The book does illustrate that the crime was too big for everyone-the criminals they got away with too much money,what if they had done the raid earlier as it was originally intended-the establishment-the government- the British public-it was all too much.
I thought the afterword by Bruce Reynolds summed up everything in relation the crime very well,and gave further insight into the main protagonists
The book used the use of real and imaginary characters well, and it was possible to do this because the real characters have become so well known,we still retain a morbid interest in the lifes.
Good page turning read that will make a boring train ride or a daily commute pass much quicker.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, evocative read, but no heros, 27 Feb 2011
This review is from: Signal Red (Paperback)
An extremely well written 'novelisation' of the Great Train Robbery, the pace and the plot hold together well, much better than some of the other 'historical facts' that Robert Ryan hangs some of his other books on. Despite the ending being to a large part 'well known' it still reads as a compelling thriller. The use of music, clothing and cars helps establish the period vividly, and the introduced, fictional characters mesh well with Ryan's interpretation of actual people featuring in this novelisation. It seems that the imagined, glamourous life of 'gangsters' has provided fodder for novels, movies and other types of public consumption for centuries. No one wants to read about the humdrum life of 'mugs' - security guards, bank staff, GPO employees, - who only serve as 'cosh' fodder - as they try to earn a living wage, keep families together, bring up kids - for witty, interesting, cool, 'rouges'. Like most authors, Ryan cannot help projecting what are basically vicious, violent and greedy men as likeable characters - a number of greedy, bent coppers seems to provide justification for the robbers avaricious violence - and Ryan portrays even the most violent (including drug traffickers and other psychopathic violent men) as likeable rouges - cheeky chappies cocking a snoot at entrenched establishment - kind of like Jamie Oliver, but with a lead weighted cosh! Ryan even takes a quote to portray these 'working class heroes' as running foul of an enraged society rather than as ultimatly unsuccesful violent criminals who got caught. A well written story that would have benefited from a bit more 'harsh reality' in its portral of violent crooks
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read about the Great Train Robbery, 4 Jan 2011
By 
D. Cameron (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Signal Red (Paperback)
This is a really excellent, pacy read. Based on the Great Train Robbery and including many real episodes that are hard to believe weren't invented, the narrative races along. It evokes the 60s really well and offers fascinating insights into the times and the Establishment's reaction to the crime. The huge sentences meted out to the offenders, even for those on the periphery, add to the tension; we get to know a lot of the characters and we, the readers, know exactly what is in store for them. Fascinatingwell researched and well written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, 5 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Signal Red (Paperback)
When I first got this book I did not realise it was a novel, (I usually only read non fiction); however, this has the blessing of the main Great Train Robber himself, so this speaks volumes for the volume (excuse the pun!).
It's a good read & gives a good insight into the life of the gangster community.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: Signal Red (Kindle Edition)
Great book and a good read, how they got it wrong
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put this book down, 3 Jun 2014
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An excellent read. This book is an excellent read and although described as a novel is more or less an accurate account of the infamous train robbery
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect present, 28 April 2014
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This review is from: Signal Red (Paperback)
This was bought for someone with a great interest in the great train robbery,it was a perfect gift! Delivery was on time,very satisfied.
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Signal Red by Robert Ryan (Paperback - 19 Aug 2010)
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