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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thriller of some class
I really liked "Zoo Station", the first John Russell thriller but with "Silesian Station", David Downing has crafted a thriller of some class worthy of the likes of Alan Furst or John le Carre.

"Silesian Station" is a well-written, well-researched thriller set in Berlin in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War. John Russell, a journalist,...
Published on 6 April 2008 by ST FERGUSON

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ponderous second book in the Station series
This feels like a long book for one that comes in at just over 300 pages. That's essentially down to the chapters being quite lengthy and packed with detail, but the story itself meanders quite badly and feels directionless some of the time.

Downing's ability to reconstruct the atmosphere in Europe on the brink of war in 1939 can't be faulted, but the plot...
Published 20 days ago by Jl Adcock


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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thriller of some class, 6 April 2008
By 
ST FERGUSON "Bromsgrovian" (Bromsgrove, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Silesian Station (Paperback)
I really liked "Zoo Station", the first John Russell thriller but with "Silesian Station", David Downing has crafted a thriller of some class worthy of the likes of Alan Furst or John le Carre.

"Silesian Station" is a well-written, well-researched thriller set in Berlin in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War. John Russell, a journalist, becomes involved in espionage, in the embryonic Jewish resistance and in the hunt for a young woman who has disappeared shortly after arriving in Berlin.

The characters are well drawn, the plot measured and the atmosphere evoked outstanding. In Russell, David Downing has created an excellent character of some complexity.

I look forward eagerly to the third book in the series.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Fine Mess, 24 Feb 2009
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J. E. Parry "Jeff Parry" (Pontypool, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Silesian Station (Paperback)
I have been waiting for something like this for almost 20 years. A series about pre-war Germany that actually makes you feel that you are there.
Not since Phillip Kerr has someone come along who has created a character and stories to equal his Bernie Gunther series.

I read Zoo Station before Christmas and held out on reading this so that I could enjoy this and prepeare for the what will hopefully be the third in the series later this year.

I read this while recovering from the flu and kept my wife amused as I purred, laughed and sighed my way through the book. It immediately brought back my own visits to Berlin (though not that long ago). You can smell the food, beer and see the sights as you read the book.

Russell is again caught in a vice between the German, Russian and American intelligence services. In between times he has a missing Jewsess to locate. All this is set against the impending war that everyone knows, and fears, is coming.

We follow Russell as he travels around Eastern Europe, taking in an occupied Czech republic, an "autonomous" Slovak republic, a pre=invasion Warsaw and Moscow just as the non agression treaty is agreed.

We meet spies, policemen, actresses and ordinary people struggling to survive in "the cage" - as Nazi Germany was known to those who lived there.

There is not only a thriller here but moments of comedy that surface without warning; moments where your heart is squeezed and, hidden away, small stories of everyday events that really happened.

Buy this and enjoy a great read by a superb author who really knows his craft and his historical place.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Convincing and compelling, 3 Nov 2008
This review is from: Silesian Station (Paperback)
Like Zoo Station, this is a thoroughly detailed and gripping historical spy novel. Appealing are the backdrop, the gathering pace and especially the way the lead character falls into a horribly complicated situation without really trying. Really good, I await the third volume with bated breath.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darker but just as good, 5 April 2011
By 
Darren McCormac (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Silesian Station (Kindle Edition)
The second book in the Station series is as tightly written as the first, but much darker. We are quickly drawn into Berlin in summer 1939, just before the War, and whilst on the surface life is good for John Russell, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he is asked to look into the disappearance of a young Jewish girl. This is one story arc, and one that ends with imagination and pace towards the end of the book.

As with the first book, espionage plays a part and at times it's easy to forget who is playing off who, and who is getting fake information and who knows what. But that does take us on a whistlestop tour of central and eastern Europe during the days of quickening Nazi occupation and aggression, again Downing paints a very involving, gripping picture - all the more so if you have been to Berlin or any of the other cities mentioned.

Another theme of the book is the thoughts and words of ordinary Germans during this era - yes there is some licence here, but it's a good reminder that fundamentally we are all the same and few people look forward to war...

In all, an intricately-woven web of a story that manages to grip and entertain, without being too heavy - considering the subject matter. Now on to book three...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Zoo Station first..., 12 Dec 2009
By 
Paradigmshift (Bournemouth, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Silesian Station (Paperback)
...and then get this one.

Better still, buy this one, Zoo Station and the one after: Stettin Station. Make yourself comfy and have a great read. They are really good, balanced and well researched.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent evocation of life in Nazi Berlin, 22 Dec 2009
This review is from: Silesian Station (Paperback)
This atmospheric portrait of life in wartime Germany is a well observed and chilling observation of the depressing reality of life under Nazi rule.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb atmosphere, 1 Sep 2013
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Silesian Station, the second in a consistently excellent series, combines a great story with convincing and sympathetic characters. Above all, however, you can almost touch the atmosphere of Berlin on the cusp of war, taste the food, hear the sounds of the S-Bahn, feel the oppressively warm days as war slides unstoppably closer. Strongly recommended!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ponderous second book in the Station series, 28 Nov 2014
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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This feels like a long book for one that comes in at just over 300 pages. That's essentially down to the chapters being quite lengthy and packed with detail, but the story itself meanders quite badly and feels directionless some of the time.

Downing's ability to reconstruct the atmosphere in Europe on the brink of war in 1939 can't be faulted, but the plot feels a bit slow and laboured, and the fact that journalist John Russell is also combining his day job with espionage duties for the Nazis and the Russians adds layers of complexity that occasionally need some unpicking.

The main story - the disappearance of a young Jewish girl arriving in Berlin - is finally resolved at the end of the book, but rather lamely it must be said, and after a suspenseful final chapter the narrative drags on a bit too long. As another reviewer has rightly said, the book was in need of an edit to give it some sense of pace, because this is lacking for large chunks of the book as Russell rides around parts of Europe on endless train journeys.

Perhaps the meticulous attention to detail is the appeal in this series, but there needs to be an injection of something new in the later titles, otherwise it's going to be a hard journey to the end. As mentioned in a review of Zoo Station, I unwisely started this series with one of the mid-point books, which you simply can't do - so I'll stick with them in the right order now, but hope for something a bit pacier in the next one: Stettin Station.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, 7 Oct 2013
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This is the first novel I have read by David Downing but it will not be my last. The plot, characters and mores of the Germany just before the start of the 2nd World War were all well described. I partcularly liked the descriptions of the travel methods pertaining at the time especially rail travel. I felt that was well researched and faithful to its time. The plot was intriguing and entertaining throughout the book. An excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book - worth reading, 9 Sep 2013
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Good writer, interesting characters and plot set in well researched historical context. Suggest you read the series of books in the right order.
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Silesian Station
Silesian Station by David Downing (Paperback - 11 Jan 2011)
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