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15
4.6 out of 5 stars
Winter of Spies
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2006
I have just read David Newham's WINTER OF SPIES and have to rate it as one of the best wartime thrillers I have read for a long time.The plot held me engrossed for several hours - its a big book!
As I am quite hard to please, I found the characters very believable and it took me to the Lincolnshire Fens,quite literally,because it led to a visit and a magical mystery tour following the places in the book.
Although it may be a novel, it really stirs the imagination, bringing to life what it must have been like during the war years, and the young men who had a living part to play.
I should like to advise Sir David Frost not to re-make the Dambusters, ask David Newham to write a screenplay for Winter of Spies. Could be a blockbuster!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2005
A different viewpoint on a well documented period in history. Believable characters and very well researched. Twists & turns throughout, with a nasty sting in the tail.
The book puts you into the situation from the first page, and from then on I found it very difficult to put down. One thing leads to another, without a dead spot occurring as can happen in some cases. The characters as they appear are brilliantly described, and you don't need a vivid imagination to picture them in your minds eye.
The technicalities, which are bound to arise in a book of this sort, are dealt with in understandable language, easily understood, and don't "Bog Down" the storyline.
As a one sentence summary, this book rattles along apace, similar to a well maintained steam railway engine.
This is David Newham's first foray into the literary world, and I for one, hope it won't be his last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2005
Winter of Spies starts at a fast pace, and keeps that exciting momentum throughout. David kept me more than interested with surprise after surprise. As a whodunit, the book is brilliantly written with twists and turns at every corner. The story line is flawless and quickly moves from one intriguing moment to the next. It is his intricate nitty-gritty detail, which makes it seem so real. Not just the characters, but also the historical setting. I found the characters, were totally believable. They came complete with all the flaws and problems in the uncertain world they faced on a daily basis. Other authors may have been tempted to have the odd clichéd RAF Officer utter ‘Whacko’ or the like (for apparent authenticity) but this was thankfully and gratefully avoided. The language and vernacular used is absolutely real and accurate of the day.

Despite the fact that David was born after the book’s time-frame, his research into the subject matter is excellent. He obviously has a love for and a wonderful inside knowledge of all the trials and tribulations of the forces generally, and the Royal Air Force in particular during those dramatic and dangerous years of World War Two.

Like all readers who enjoy this genre, I was constantly trying to solve the mystery. In my infinite wisdom, I was convinced I had guessed the culprit. It was obviously going to be the least likely person who would be the villain. I was not even close. Was it filled with Irony? Yes. Was it true to life? More than somewhat.

Congratulations on a great first book. I shall look forward to the second with eager anticipation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There are books that you read and somehow it takes you ages to get into the mind of the author and indeed the plot. David Newham's "Winter of Spies" definately does NOT fall into that category. Right from chapter one I was enthralled and although it is my habit to only read books at bedtime, several chapters had passed before I could put it down and even then I sneaked the first paragraph of the next chapter!
His central character of Sam Carver keeps the whole novel in perspective and is a very credible young Pilot Officer in wartime Britain. Throughout the book one suspects that David has brought to life past acquaintances of his, in his much later post war career in the RAF!
The spying plot is very well thought out and I have not read anything quite like it before. There are twists and turns everywhere and each time you think it is all over you suddenly realise 'that the fat lady has not yet sung!'
The service language may not be to everyones taste but that is how it was in those wartorn days and even after the war service language is legendary and most people will have experienced it. It is anyway very common today everywhere. The descriptive process makes me think that this book was designed to be a film and indeed that is exactly what should happen with it I believe.
A terrific read and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in wartime novels. I look forward to his next offering with enthusiasm. I believe this was David's first book and is certainly deserving of success for the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2005
Having spent almost fifty years reading novels and being an admirer of Stephen Coonts and WEB Griffin, I have just read a novel in the tradition of those two authors that held me from Page one line one to the very brutal ending. "Winter of Spies" by David Newham builds the plot using as the central figure a young Pilot Officer in the RAF during wartime. The author has built all the characters into believable people and the detail that he inserts into the bombing raid made me feel that I was up there with them. The service humour and pathos is there warts and all, but that is what life was like in the RAF during the period in which the novel is set. This novel is a "I'll just read one more chapter novel", it is so hard to put down as the end of each chapter builds the scene for the next one. I await in anticipation for the follow up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2008
Brilliant first novel. It was hard to like Sam Carver with his smart ass ripostes but I suspect there was a bit of esprit d'escalier in the conversations, answers we all would have liked to have given to arrogant senior officers and colleagues but couldn't think of them at the time. The ending was gruelling and gut wrenching; it might well have been possible unfortunately. I look forward to his next book but I suspect it will not be up to this calibre; it felt like David had given his all but Winter of Spies is a worthy monument on its own.
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on 31 December 2010
There is no argument from me that David Newham's "Winter of Spies" certainly has enough twists and turns to keep the pages turning for almost 400 of them. My main problem with the book is the quality of the writing which in places is quite amateurish. How it managed to get past an editor in publishing house is beyond me but I have to congratulate Mr Newham for convincing a publisher to take it. In fact, I think the writer has been done because a canny literary agent would have edited the story into two books and tried to get a 3-book contract from a publisher. I found the twist in the tail particularly nasty and question again whether it has any merits, although the epilogue was quite moving. It says a lot that I perservered with this book because the 'boys own' prose and the quite fantastical series of coincidences stretches ones credibility (and suspension of critical faculties) to the limit.
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on 3 July 2010
I've just finished reading Winter of Spies, and must confess to a feeling of disappointment in the book. The story is intriguing and does carry you along with it, but there was something not quite right about it. I didn't like the central character, Sam Carver, much, but there was more to it than that. None of the characters seemed right for the time. I know I wasn't around in 1943, but then neither was the author. I'm not convinced that RAF officers spoke or behaved in the way that Newham wrote about them at that time, although possibly they did when Newham was serving in the RAF much later. I don't expect people in a novel to speak like a wartime propaganda film, but I think these go too far in the opposite direction. The final chapter was a surprise, though, completely unexpected! Three stars for a good try.
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on 7 June 2008
In terms of number of words to the pound (sterling) it's hard to beat and a tremendous output for a first novel. There's three books in there! I couldn't find it in me to give it 5 stars, as previous reviewers have, but it is very readable and fun. I was, for want of a better word, confused between what I think are two styles; the self depracating 'Boy's Own' hero and a straight fiction of the Jack Higgins type. The tendency to 'wordiness' is what gives it the period feel and takes away some of the punch that should be there if it is to compete in the Higgins arena. There is a good, plausable plot, enjoyable characters and a good sense of the times, but I kept on wanting to edit it as I read it. The ending, too, is unnecassary and very bitter. Never-the-less, I enjoyed it and look forward to David's next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2006
A well written and well plotted book which is in 'the difficult to put down' class.
The author's knowledge of the Royal Air Force and the personnel thereof shows through. Well done David. Let's have some more like it.
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