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on 7 April 2003
My personal favourite of Price's Cold War espionage thrillers, but then I prefer the First World War to the Second (read it to see what I mean).
Make sure you read the series in the right order, or you'll be terminally confused - the personalities and the events are as complex as real life, and the present is dictated by the past, both the individual's and deeper history
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on 18 February 2002
In David Audley and Paul Mitchel and subsequently other players Anthony Price has created an ordered conflict of imense proportions. Throughout the series of Novels it slowly becomes clear that the expected roles of father figure and son are not filled.
This is the first novel in which Paul is introduced to Audley. It is a novel which uses its authors knowlege of the Great War to propel the protagonists to an unusual and attention grabbing conclusion.
This and the other books in the series have given me great pleasure; Mr. Price has captured the mindset of the subaltern of the mid 20th century, the warrior of the Great War and the civil servant of the late 20th century (and no caps for those beggars) with skill, wit, and some not insubstantial humour.
Should you even hazard a guess as to the "Shaws of Tripoli" are, or even know the lyrics to "The Halls of Montezuma" then you may appreciate Mr. Price.
Sadly I have never met him to say thankyou for all the pleasure he has given me.
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on 9 February 2010
I was introduced to Anthony Price a long time ago, when the BBC adapted "Other Paths to Glory" for their Radio 4 Saturday afternoon slot.

I find this to be Price's most readable novel, being much more straightforward than a lot of his other work. The characters are clear cut, the plot makes sense and there's a good pace throughout.

Too many of Price's books are cluttered with pages of what seems to be filler material about the characters' confusion. This one has none of that and moves forward at a grand pace.
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on 21 July 2014
From the opening moments, when Paul Mitchell's researches into individual actions in WWI France are interrupted by two strangers who should never have been able to get unaccompanied into the Great War Documents Room of the British Commonwealth Institute for Military Studies, to the end of the book, on the First World War battlefields of the Somme, the pace of this book never slows. There are murders made to look like accidents, clever information-gathering to make a suicide convincing, and a very unusual collection of Intelligence personnel from different countries, but throughout it all is woven the story of that war, its massive casualties (57,000 men lost in one day), the sense of commitment, bravery, camaraderie, and determination to go on, whatever the cost (and no, it's an insult to all the men to say they went on because they had no option, there's a lot more to it than that).

The team of Dr David Audley and Col Jack Butler are the true professionals in this game of detection, and it's fascinating to watch Paul Mitchell not only try to work out the relationships between the players, but at the same time bring his excellent brain with its amazing depth of knowledge and analytical ability into play in this bewildering new world. Nothing is simple or straightforward, and the story is on several levels, for there is still the present-day plot intertwined with the battlefields and unexploded munitions being ploughed up annually.

All the characters in the book are brilliantly drawn, from the old General to the mentally-limited boy in the garage; I shivered at the menace of the police motor cyclists, shuddered at the portrait of the battlefield tour guide in pink, was very thankful Mrs Mitchell wasn't my mother, and was totally absorbed in Paul Mitchell's thought processes. As always, the tortuous world of national Intelligence is full of suspicion, obfuscation, and is utterly baffling. It must be exhausting for all players.

Like another reviewer, I find Anthony Price's books much more lively, more readable, and more human than John Le Carre's. This one is among the best.
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on 29 December 2012
I have been reading Anthony Price's novels from when they were first published.
As with any paperback that is much read, 'age has withered and the years condemned' so what a joy to be able to load them on the demon Kindle.
Anthony Price is a writer of huge talent. His novels, though now 'of their time' read well, are engaging and are hugely enjoyable.
Not for him the dark melancholy of le Carre' but they do have that edge which makes for a good read that defies the clock – even after all these years and having read them several times before.
I can but recommend them to a new audience, they are smashing novels with good plot lines and characters that are more than plausible. Set in the days of the 'Cold War' they give an insight to those times when the Russian Bear was Red in tooth and claw.
What more could you want in a book.
Well done his publishers for making them available once more.
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on 1 July 2008
I don't often buy "bargain" books, but this was an excellent exception. A smoothly written and enlightening historical story. If you've finished Robert Harris, you might look here, although the political side is played down rather.
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on 26 May 2002
This is one of the best of the David Audley series. As with all of the books there is a clear connection between past and present. The book was written early in the series and introduces a new character Paul Mitchell, an historian researching World War I who becomes involves in a current problem outside the norm of academia. The author's plot, characters and their motives drive the book and the characters are as interesting as the plot. If you like history, spy novels and good writing you will enjoy this book.
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on 20 June 2002
All the books by Price are fine, this is a superb "entry point" into this stylish and atmospheric world.
Why Mr Price is not more famous than Le Carré I will never know.
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on 10 April 2015
Great book, I'd forgotten over the years just how good a story this is
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on 30 December 2014
great book had read many years ago confimed what a great author he is
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