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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undercover in Foreign Fields
Spy thrillers set during World War I are not that common but spy thrillers, wherever set, as intelligent and well-written as The Posion Tide are positively rare.
Andrew Williams has shown in previous novels The InterrogatorTo Kill a Tsar that he is good at handling big historical themes as well as small historical detail and The Poison Tide is his most ambitious...
Published on 5 Aug. 2012 by M. D. Ripley

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work
Well in the space of a week I have read all 4 Andrew Williams novels,this being the 3rd, it suffers by comparison to"kill a Tsar" and unfortunately does not have the same gripping intensity as" The interrogator" or "Suicide Squad".
Pity.
The research is as ever,extremely thorough,which adds credence to the novel
Published 5 months ago by Mr. B. Carter


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undercover in Foreign Fields, 5 Aug. 2012
By 
M. D. Ripley "Mike Ripley" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Poison Tide (Hardcover)
Spy thrillers set during World War I are not that common but spy thrillers, wherever set, as intelligent and well-written as The Posion Tide are positively rare.
Andrew Williams has shown in previous novels The InterrogatorTo Kill a Tsar that he is good at handling big historical themes as well as small historical detail and The Poison Tide is his most ambitious book to date. As the Great War rages in the mud and blood of the trenches on the Western Front,
another, quieter but just as deadly, war runs in parallel between the newly-formed intelligence networks of Britain and Germany. On the British side, officer and gentleman Sebastian Wolff is recruited by spymaster "C" (the forerunner of James Bond's "M")and whilst he shows a natural talent for the dirty side of the spy trade, he is always conscious that what he is doing out of loyalty for his country is eroding every decent thing he was brought up to believe in.
His initial objective is to travel undercover to Berlin and spy on Sir Roger Casement, the Irish Nationalist co-operating with the Germans in order to throw the British out of Ireland. When his mission takes him on to neutral America to infiltrate the pro-Irish independence movement there, Wolff stumbles on an operation run by German Intelligence which is far more terrifying than the prospect of an uprising in Ireland (which happened in 1916). In fact, it is nothing less than the development of the first true Weapon of Mass Destruction.
The historical background is fascinating and totally believeable, the plotting is tight and the narrative pacy for a book of this length, but what shines out is Williams' grasp of character. When the hero accidentally kills a friend rather than a foe his grief and self-doubt are heart-achingly well-done, as are the scenes of teh spy falling in (and out) of love and when the British "traitor" Sir Roger Casement comes to realise what a tragic, impotent figure he really is.
If you are looking for a slam-bang, shoot-'em-up spy yarn, look elsewhere. This is a very clever, very satisfying, very well-written thriller.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sir Read-A-Lot's Review, 17 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Poison Tide (Hardcover)
Lieutenant Sebastian Wolff returns for another adventure in Andrew Williams' latest novel, released yesterday.
It is 1915 and Europe is at war. The latest assignment for Wolff is to discover the plans of a known Irish rebel who is using the pre-occupation of Britain's war with Germany to organise a rebellion that will free Ireland from the yoke of English rule. However, a conspiracy to sink British ships carrying vital supplies across the Atlantic is uncovered. The trail takes Wolff from Berlin to America, where an even more sinister plot to develop a poisonous gas to be used against the British is uncovered.

Williams has created a series of novels, this being the third, which could be described as a "niche" product. Set in the era of the First World War, Williams knowledge of the time, combined with a talent for story-telling, means his historical thrillers are compelling and extremely enjoyable. Williams skilfully creates a character that is honest, ruthless and flawed. You get under his skin and feel his dilemmas, his amoral behaviour with women and the steely determination with which he ensures each mission is successful. The modern era of spycraft is being born and developed by the newly created Secret service Bureau; dead-drops and sewing tissue paper filled with sensitive information inside linings of coats are some of the imaginative ways Wolff smuggles his findings back to his superiors.

The Poison Tide is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The technical and historical detail is unencumbered, allowing the reader to follow the plot without distraction. I have always enjoyed spy novels and there are times when the antics of the hero are implausible, but this is not the case with "The Poison Tide". Williams has created a character that will appeal to a predominantly male audience, but I am sure women will see him as a early 20th century Jack Reacher and enjoy these novels too.

Sir Read-A-Lot gives "The Poison Tide" 4 crosses!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret War, 11 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Poison Tide (Hardcover)
I have been looking forward to Andrew Williams' new novel as I really enjoyed his first two books. I am not disappointed, 'The Poison Tide ' is an exciting, well researched and very well written novel, that illuminates aspects of World War One not normally covered in books on the war. The author skilfully weaves together fact and fiction and there is an Historical Note giving details of the sources at the end of the book - worth reading for an insight into the craft of the author.The novel moves at a lively pace and the sense of atmosphere created in Berlin and New York is excellent.The hero of the novel Sebastian Wolff is a complex character who is confronted by the moral dilemmas of war. He is an interesting hero and I hope he may appear in future novels - the door has been left open. A central figure in the story is Sir Roger Casement and he is depicted as a man of integrity striving to achieve his goals for Ireland but who comes to a tragic end through his weaknesses and abandonment by those who sought to exploit him for their own purposes.There are a number of other interesting characters including Dr Anton Dilger - a doctor who uses his skills to develop biological and chemical weapons, the ' poison tide ' of the title and Laura McDonnell the young Irish campaigner with whom Wolff falls in love.All the characters are believable and well drawn.I recommend 'The Poison Tide' without reservation. Lesley Dunn
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A ripping good read, 31 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The Poison Tide (Hardcover)
From the opening chapters in a ruthless 1914 Germany determined to use biological warfare against its unsuspecting enemies, to the denouement of this thriller on the other side of the Atlantic, Poison Tide has the reader well and truly hooked. When it comes to taking historical characters and events and turning them into riveting fiction, Andrew Williams has few equals. First there was First Officer Lieutenant Douglas Lindsay who prises valuable secrets from a German U-boat commander in The Interrogator The Interrogator- with a cameo from Ian Flemming no less - followed by Dr Fredrick Hadfield and some spirited female assassins in To Kill a TsarTo Kill a Tsar. With British spy Sebastian Wolff in Poison Tide, Williams has created his best incarnation yet. While Wolff adopts many guises and personas in his mission to thwart his enemies he never loses the essence of being human. Unlike many action spy heroes who kill and move on, Wolff is troubled by those who die, even those not by his own hand, his prickled conscience a constant source of discomfort.

Nothing and no-one is black and white and this is particularly true when it comes to fighting for a cause, particularly for one's country, a theme that is central to this gripping story. This is particularly true of Sir Roger Casement the Irishman whose passion for Irish Home Rule leads him into an ill-advised deal with the Germans. The ambiguity of Wolff's relationship with Casement, who he ends up admiring despite Casement having been declared a traitor, also reinforces Wolff's human side and gives the story another unexpected dimension.

Likewise, Wolff's opponents are much more than cardboard cut-out baddies, they are highly complex people who despite their heinous acts often demand the respect and sometimes sympathy of the reader. For instance the intelligent but cold aristocratic spymaster Count Nadolny who is always two steps ahead of everyone else and Dilger the misguided and ultimately weak German/American doctor who sacrifices his medical ethics to support his country's war efforts.

Prepare to burn the midnight oil with this page-turner which draws you into the murky world of espionage so effectively you will feel the chilly dockyard mist clinging to your clothes and imagine figures in trenchcoats and fedoras lurking in the shadows for weeks to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting and well-researched, 9 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Poison Tide (Hardcover)
The Poison Tide is an excellent novel, well-researched, exciting and tense - a classic espionage thriller but with an unusual subject matter: the contest to win the hearts and minds of America and to stop, or continue, the flood of material from American factories and farms during the early part of the First World War. Against this primary drama is set the cause of Irish republicanism and, specifically, the strange case of Roger Casement's flirtation with Germany. The main character, Sebastian Wolff, is conflicted and challenged by the moral dilemmas and betrayals that are the stock in trade of the undercover spy's existence and Williams handles these well, building a complex and intriguing character sometimes in control, sometimes at sea in the intrigues that buffet his attempts to find out what the Germans are up to and what, specifically, Anton Dilger is doing in the USA. The pace of the novel is crisp, the narrative believable and the characters complex and multi-dimensional. All in all, I devoured this first rate book and I think others will do the same. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling tale of espionage, 25 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Poison Tide (Hardcover)
For his third novel Andrew Williams turns successfully to the First World War. He leaves the horror of the trenches and the Battle of the Somme as ever-present background, whilst he explores the murky territory of espionage. Research has been detailed and thorough, and the story is set in the historically accurate context of events leading up to the Easter Rising in Dublin and the struggle of the American authorities to remain neutral. Sir Roger Casement is depicted as an idealist exploited by the Germans but ultimately let down by those whose cause he is fighting.

The hero, Lieutenant Sebastian Wolff, is a thoroughly professional spy whose previous hard knocks have not diminished his ruthless determination and loyalty to the task for which he is engaged; neither have they destroyed his basic humanity and his chagrin when he has to betray the girl he loves and finds he has killed an innocent man. His initial contacts with Casement in Berlin and the study of efforts to harness Irish nationalist fervour in America to sabotage British interests and supplies lead him to uncover a potentially more lethal threat. We follow separately the German research into the uses of germ warfare, and the moral dilemma of Dr Anton Dilger, a German-American reluctantly recruited to the cause, and the climax of the novel comes when this narrative coincides with Wolff's pursuit of the Irish saboteurs.

The complexity of narrative with several simultaneous story lines, and the number of characters, most of them with aliases, doubling the number of names the reader must contend with, does not make The Poison Tide an easy read. The author's craft, however, ensures that it remains compelling and enjoyable, not least because of the skill of characterisation.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work, 15 Dec. 2014
By 
Mr. B. Carter - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Poison Tide (Kindle Edition)
Well in the space of a week I have read all 4 Andrew Williams novels,this being the 3rd, it suffers by comparison to"kill a Tsar" and unfortunately does not have the same gripping intensity as" The interrogator" or "Suicide Squad".
Pity.
The research is as ever,extremely thorough,which adds credence to the novel
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3.0 out of 5 stars a 200 page story crammed into 450..., 20 May 2013
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This review is from: The Poison Tide (Kindle Edition)
The story line was OK. Being a fan of thrillers, espionage and WWII, I thought this would be right up my alley. There were far too many characters to keep track of, with many going by different names, only adding to the confusion. Seem characters were introduced almost as an afterthought, but never developed. I would not necessarily recommend this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 9 April 2013
This review is from: The Poison Tide (Paperback)
This brilliantly told spy thriller is a great read and tells a fantastic story of intrigue during the first world war. The historical detail is flawless and yet it doesn't interfere with the pace of the story.
Loved it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an exciting and gripping read, 28 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: The Poison Tide (Hardcover)
My husband is a very selective reader - he enjoys writers like Alan Furst. I bought this book in desperation as he has exhausted all our reading material. He enjoyed the book very much and has recommended it to friends.
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The Poison Tide
The Poison Tide by Andrew Williams (Paperback - 11 April 2013)
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