Customer Reviews


67 Reviews
5 star:
 (30)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a novel.
This is historical fiction of a very high order, with fact and fiction so closely and skilfully blended and intertwined that it is never easy to be quite sure where one begins and the other ends: the author's note at the end of the book does give considerable help in this regard, but I would urge you not to look at it until you have read the book itself - just dive in...
Published 18 months ago by Ian N.

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good History, Poor Characterisation
I should have enjoyed this book more than I did. I'm very interested in this period of German history and I enjoy thrillers. The benchmark for this type of novel was and remains 'The Day of the Jackal.' This book, unfortunately, comes nowhere close.

On the plus side, the sense of time and place - Germany and, in particular, Berlin, in 1938 - is impressive. The...
Published 12 months ago by Watcher


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a novel., 1 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
This is historical fiction of a very high order, with fact and fiction so closely and skilfully blended and intertwined that it is never easy to be quite sure where one begins and the other ends: the author's note at the end of the book does give considerable help in this regard, but I would urge you not to look at it until you have read the book itself - just dive in and enjoy it first at the basic level of a gripping thriller.

That done, though, this is a book with higher levels too; it is almost documentary at times, and as you go on you may be surprised to learn just how much of it is either recorded historical fact, or at least closely based on fact with just a few tweaks. It is valuable too for highlighting the existence and extent of resistance to Hitler and National Socialism within Germany itself, and even in the years before the outbreak of war in September 1939 - although it did not of course end then. That is a story which deserves to be far more widely known and told, and the fact that the resistance was ultimately unsuccessful (partly due for whatever reason to lack of outside support, it has to be said) in no way detracts from its intrinsic worth, or from the vision, courage and self-sacrifice of those involved with it. This book goes some small way towards redressing the balance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A skilful blend of fact and fiction, 5 Aug 2013
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
What a cracking story! I've enjoyed Mr Ridpath's Iceland series and was unsure whether a book set in Nazi Germany, on the brink of war, would be credible and engaging.

The characters rang true; their language, attitudes, backgrounds and their interplay all went to give them depth and make their conflicts and motivation plausible. The period detail was significant and informed. I felt as if I was in Berlin, with the central characters, sharing their fears and hopes. The difficulties of being Jewish were explored with sensitivity and compassion. The plot was sufficiently complicated to be intriguing. Set in the context of Hitler's proposed invasion of Czechoslovakia, and a secret plan to depose the nasty Nazi, it presents a clever meld of fact and fiction. I found the period detail rich and could visualise buildings and their setting, without feeling overwhelmed by extraneous information. A clever and interesting take on what might have been and why. Informed and entertaining, I really enjoyed it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good History, Poor Characterisation, 19 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
I should have enjoyed this book more than I did. I'm very interested in this period of German history and I enjoy thrillers. The benchmark for this type of novel was and remains 'The Day of the Jackal.' This book, unfortunately, comes nowhere close.

On the plus side, the sense of time and place - Germany and, in particular, Berlin, in 1938 - is impressive. The author has clearly done his research well, and that includes the real people involved in tentative anti-Hitler activities. Regrettably, though, the fictional characters come over as tediously two-dimensional. The reader feels little involvement in the lives and fate of the cardboard cut-out protagonists. There is little in the way of character development and not much credibility in their barely displayed thoughts and emotions.

This is a pity as there is a strong story to be told here. It just isn't in this novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable, 4 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
Michael Ridpath's latest masterpiece takes you back to 1938 - to the tense setting of pre-war Berlin. This is not a typical "war book", it manages to tell a fascinating little-known story in a very readable and engaging way. One of Ridpath's skills is his ability to create really appealing characters. In this case, they not only guide you through the story, they also make you think about the strength of friendships, loyalty and human nature. Traitor's Gate is a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading and - like Michael Ridpath's other books - it stays with you long after you've closed the cover.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, 24 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
Well crafted characters, a believable plot and the depth of writing to keep a reader truly entertained. I'd heartily recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alles ist in Ordnung..., 23 July 2013
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
An enjoyable read and the period atmosphere is quite authentic,although at times it felt like the author had been reading the Robert Harris Manual on How to Write a Nazi-Germany-based Thriller (Rule #1: mention a Berlin place name on every third line). I had somehow hoped The Plot and its machinations was going to be painted more vividly and occupy centre stage but it felt like it was more in the background. Worth a try anyway.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars One of my year's top ten, 7 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
There will be those of you out there who watched Valkyrie and loved it.

Traitor’s Gate does the same thing but better.

There will be those who hated Valkyrie.

Traitor’s Gate is more accurate and more tense. You will prefer it.

There will be those who’ve never seen Valkyrie.

Don’t bother. Read Traitor’s Gate!

I’m not an avid reader of the WW2 era, nor a student of the period, though I’ve delved here and there. I’ve watched a number of movies based on the period, including some from the German point of view, but it’s still far from my comfort zone.

To be honest, if a friend of mine had not raved at some point about how good the book was, I would never had picked it up on a whim, needing a change from Roman stuff, and read it.

I’m glad I did. Though early on, I realised that this is not strictly speaking a war book. This is a book about people and espionage and the hell that was the Third Reich before the war. This is a tale about a confused and dreadful time during which trust was hard to come by, and humanity even more so.

Though the direct protagonist and antagonist are fictional, the story introduces us early on as supporting characters to two key figures in the history of the 3rd Reich, both of whom were already familiar to me. Reinhard Heydrich is one. If you know anything about the period, that name should make you shudder. He was one of the architects of the Holocaust and one of the most brutal and unpleasant people during the war, running the Gestapo. The other is admiral Canaris, head of the German secret service, hero of mine and unsung hero of the war. To be honest, if I’d known it involved Canaris, I might have read it earlier.

Essentially, this story tells the dreadful tale of an Englishman in Berlin in 1938 battling with his family loyalties and his conscience in a world rapidly descending into hell. It is refreshing to see a tale that tells of high-powered and intelligent Germans, even in the party itself, understanding that Hitler was bad for Germany as well as for the rest of the world and beginning to put together a plan to remove the Fuhrer from power.

A lot of the story relies on secret negotiations between high level anti-Nazi Germans and peripheral members of the British government, arranging to carry out a coup against Hitler should the Fuhrer decide to invade Czechoslovakia despite British and French opposition.

Traitor’s Gate is a tremendously tense novel, building up with the crescendo of Nazi power in the days before the annexing of the Sudetenland. For those of you who’ve seen Valkyrie, it carries the tense moments of planning the coup in at least as stunning a manner – better, in fact. Despite the fact that even the least informed reader will go into the meat of the novel already aware of the fact that Hitler did not in fact die in 1938, and therefore we know that any plot failed, the novel is so well written that it is impossible not to be swept up in the tension and hope against hope that somehow the plot succeeds. Impressive, that.

In addition to the plot concerning a potential removal of Hitler from power, the story is cleverly interwoven with another thread involving a woman with Jewish ancestry (you can guess the direction that one’s taking.) This allows Ridpath not only to explore aspects of divisions in the higher ranks of the Third Reich and grand moral and political concerns, but also to investigate and reveal the deeper, more personal effects of the rise of Nazi power on the ordinary people of Germany. I gave to say that at least one anecdote told in relation to this thread will stay with me for a long time.

So… the characters are extremely well constructed and smoothly filtered in among real personages of the era, all of whom are excellently portrayed. The feel of the book is utterly atmospheric. It is like stepping into the page and finding yourself in just pre-war Berlin. The plot is tightly-constructed and builds continually to an impressively tense conclusion (especially given the foreknowledge that Hitler doesn’t die!) Clearly Ridpath’s research has been spot on and his storytelling is impeccable.

I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is exactly the sort of book I would not have thought to read, and I would have missed out. Don’t make the same mistake. This will most definitely hit my top ten of the year.

Go get it and read it. You will NOT be disappointed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Updated Dennis Wheatley?, 11 Dec 2014
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
Dennis Wheatley wrote a book called "Traitor's Gate" - one of his Gregory Sallust novels set in WW2, and although this is completely different, Ridpath does show some similarities in his handling of Nazi-related material to produce an almost swashbuckling thriller that combines both a period feel and throwback to simpler, more direct storytelling times.

The bulk of the action centres around a possible plot to get rid of Hitler as Europe approached the 1938 crisis around the possible German invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the political and diplomatic posturing around the rights of the Sudeten Germans. Ridpath has clearly done his homework on the period, and combines interesting detail and real characters with some typically fast and furious action sequences. It's certainly in the mould of Jack Higgins in terms of style and ease of reading.

The second half of the book feels a tiny bit laboured, with Ridpath having the explain the diplomacy behind the scenes in some depth in order to give context to the situations his fictional characters then operate in, but that said, it's still pacy enough.

Unlikely to trouble the likes of Philip Kerr and David Downing in terms of becoming an authorative fictional voice with books set in this period, it is nevertheless entertaining enough, even though it doesn't offer much that is new.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tepid Traitor, 24 Mar 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Kindle Edition)
I think once you have enjoyed the writings of Phillip Kerr and Alan Furst any other World War Two book centering on German politics tends to pale by comparison. Ridpath is a good writer but this book tends to drag a bit as you know pretty well what the outcome will be. I wouldnt waste my time with this one although I have to say it's OK but nothing more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Mills & Boon dressed up as a historical thriller., 29 Mar 2014
By 
Mark Jeffery - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Traitor's Gate (Paperback)
This is a case of a potentially promising plot ruined by corny and cliche ridden characterization. I should have stopped reading it after the opening couple of chapters, but continued out of some sort of masochistic perversity - a bit like watching car crash TV.

If you like thrillers set in 30s Berlin and about the Third Reich, read Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, which are so superior to this novel that they'll make it seem like a bowl of cold cabbage soup starter before a Michelin starred haute cuisine main course.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Traitor's Gate
Traitor's Gate by Michael Ridpath
£2.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews