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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I came to Operation Parsifal with a misconceived expectation. When I saw Ian Fleming's name in the title I made a quick assumption that it would be some kind of James Bond fan fiction. The fact that I had never read a single James Bond novel made me fear I'd be unable to relate to it, given that fan fiction typically attempts to ape the style of the original author. The only experience I've ever had of James Bond is from the movies and recently watching a documentary about Fleming himself.

What a pleasant surprise to find not a fan fiction but rather a full-blown novel about Ian Fleming himself! Operation Parsifal tells the story of Fleming's role in preventing an assassination plot against Adolph Hitler. (The reasons are far from traitorous to the Allied cause, and the pacing of the book kept me up reading and having to force myself to stop.)

The story may be fictitious, but Fleming's character is so firmly drawn that the character perfectly embodies the man himself. Over the course of the book, I felt like I was reading about a real man's adventures, perhaps recounted by a friend who knew him well as a person. The plot bears some resemblance to a James Bond adventure in that we know what the mission is early on and then watch as more information and changing circumstances require Fleming to improvise. What makes it stand out is the realism and lack of silly gadgetry that litters so many Bond adventures (at least the movie versions, as I said I can't say what the books are like).

As to the writing itself, Stevenson's narration is astounding. From the initial car chase it become obvious that the author knows London, and seemingly all the other locales in which the story takes place. There is sufficient detail to allow the reader to clearly envision each scene while avoiding the excess that can destroy a good yarn. Stevenson balances detail, description, and action admirably.

Having never been tempted to read a James Bond novel, Operation Parsifal has ignited my interest as well as made me want to read Stevenson's other Fleming books. A great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"The sight of a German rocket streaking through one's window at two in the morning is quite sobering," Ian Fleming wrote in his diary, neglecting to mention that his first thought after the incident was where else to take the young lady he was with at the time. The incident had yet another repercussion: Fleming was thrust into a forced domesticity with his longtime "steady" Ann O'Neill.

The scenes of battered yet defiant London are probably less powerful than little things we observe from the start of this novel: making the breakfast with the last of the eggs, fishing out cigarette butts from an ashtray, Ann, who's wearing an altered pair of Fleming's navy blue trousers and "scavenging crystallized sugar crusts off the rim of the sugar bowl." Things are decidedly different from the "half-forgotten paradise that was London before the war."

Damian Stevenson uses all but a mere handful of pages to firmly set the boundaries and the feeling of the time in which "The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Parsifal" is set before thrusting us into action. Breakfast and a car chase, anyone? Yet, this is just a small taste of what's to come.

As we know now, there were numerous plots to remove Hitler from power. In this novel, one of such plots has a codename: "Operation Parsifal." A "The members of Parsifal are bankers, representatives of top German businesses, officials from the Navy and Ministry of Armaments, the list goes on." Wolfgang Krupp, one of the most powerful industrialists in Germany at the time, is one of them. However, what is more important, is that Rommel, the "Desert Fox" himself, is rumored to throw his hat into the ring as well. With a man like Rommel backing the plot, it might actually succeed.

A modern reader might ask, "So, why not? If those people were to succeed removing or assassinating Hitler, that would have been a good thing, right?" However, considering the constantly changing political climate and uncertain alliances of the World War Two, the British government sees a potential problem: Krupp still sees the war as winnable; and if Germans make peace with the Soviets, then it is the rise of the Forth Reich, and God help the rest of the Europe, or what remains of it. The information about Parsifal is desperately needed.

This is where Ian Fleming comes in. While it is not in his "official" purview to go on dangerous missions into foreign countries, or as he jokes, "I've been protected [from the war] by my desk and sandbags of paperwork," in the times of war even the secret services cannot be too choosy. As "the only cunning linguist available who knows which end of a .38 is up," who's actually "been in the field a few times," Fleming is to go to Cairo to retrieve Krupp's right-hand man, who eloped with Krupp's fiancé, and who may have information about what is really going on at the highest levels of German politics.

Just like the previous novel from "The Ian Flemings Files," "Operation Armada," this book is written in a true James Bond-ian canon. The danger is presented clearly at the beginning, yet it keeps evolving over the course of the story, taking unexpected twists and turns. There's even a small "equipment" scene present before Fleming is to go on a mission, as is traveling to exotic places by a submarine. However, in this book we keep picking up small tidbits about Ian Fleming himself, his family, and his relationships. This too is done in the grand tradition: the self-searching touches are always present in James Bond books. Granted, this is a fictionalized novel, but this holds great interest to the Ian Fleming's and James Bond's fans nonetheless, to look at Fleming from a different angle, and to ask, "What if?"

With very clear and mature writing style, Stevenson guides us through the adventures of Ian Fleming through the dangers of covert operations of WWII, that could have been, and perhaps, in our mind's eye, truly were. I was looking forward to reading this book for a while and I am glad to finally get a copy of it in my hands. This is a strong recommendation to anyone who is looking for their "James Bondian" fix.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2013
A unique twist on Hitler's story.
I received an e-copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Operation Parsifal is an exciting read as we find ourselves in the 1945 when 17F is placed in the odd position of finding a way to stop an assassination plot against Hitler. In true Bond style, Fleming is paired with a gorgeous. Their adventures, spy-gadgets and exotic locales are once again reminiscent of the best 007 flicks. But this fast-paced, edgy, well written book is so much fun you won't want to wait for the movie. It's a must read for Bond lover, or anyone who just loves action, suspense, mystery and thrillers!
I loved the ending of the story it actually gave me chills..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2013
I can't believe that I waited as long as I did to read this! I loved the first book and was so excited to see that the second had come out but somehow it got buried in the one-click nightmare my Kindle has become!

When I sat down to read it, I forgot about everything and finished it over the course of one snowy evening. Ian Fleming, as characterized by Damian Stevenson, is one of the most fun, interesting spies in fiction. I can't wait to see what his next adventure will be!

In this book, Ian is asked to do what seems like the most impossible of things -- protect Hitler himself! With a car chase that gets your blood pumping right from the start, this story grabs on and doesn't let go! With a new cast of shady characters (and a couple returning friends), Ian Fleming must make certain that the enemy of the free world stays alive, despite his personal thoughts on the subject. Sexy women, high adventure and amazing gadgets fill the pages.

While I am not an expert on history or WWII, I don't have to be to enjoy the story and the adventure. Mr. Stevenson does a fabulous job of writing this tale of heroism in a way that I don't have the time to stop and question how it was they made a shoe-phone or laser guided pigeons (neither of which actually show up, sadly) in the 1940's. The action is fast paced, the dialogue witty and the bad guys diabolical, all the things needed to make a British spy thriller, well, thrilling!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2013
I am so glad I took the plunge and purchased the second book in the series after buying `Operation Armada.' This one is actually deeper and more complex and a little more sophisticated than the first one. I really felt the author got inside Ian Fleming's head this time around. I also loved the evocative descriptions of 1940s Cairo and German East Africa. There are lots of cool action sequences, naturally, and the ending is amazing. The last line is absolutely perfect. This was a very enjoyable and absorbing read. Now I am feeling impatient for the third book in the series, `Operation Uncle Sam.'
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2013
Whether you're a fan of James Bond or Ian Fleming or just love a well-written thriller, this book is definitely a 'must read'.
Set during the second world war, the novel follows the exploits of Ian Fleming as he battles against situation and foe in an attempt to save the life of Hitler.
The action is fast-paced and the attention to detail is exquisite as the reader is led through a plot which feels like a cross between a Bond film script and a real Ian Fleming novel.
It is easy to see where Ian Fleming got his ideas for the adventures of his world famous hero and Damian Stevenson is like the master himself as he weaves his tales of espionage across continents and in dangerous situations equal to any best-selling thriller novel of past or present.
A wonderful winner in the excitement stakes.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2013
It's five years after the first `Ian Fleming Files' adventure (`The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Armada') and 17F has been called into action in the final stages of the war. Hitler is destroying himself and Germany faces imminent defeat. Only a secret society of anti-Hitlerian Nazis named Parsifal have other plans. They want to assassinate the Fuhrer and replace him with Rommel. Britain's Naval Intelligence dispatches Ian Fleming to Cairo to meet with Peter Ugarte, Parsifal's treasurer who has defected and absconded with the head of Parsifal's fiancee... It's a terrific set-up and the rest of the plot is a whirlwind ride. I think this book marks an improvement on `Operation Armada.' The action has been toned down to be more credible and the characterizations have more depth. Ian Fleming feels fully dimensional and there's a lot more going on than just fights with Nazis and bedding beauties (tho there's plenty of that too!). `The Ian Fleming Files' is shaping up to be a meaty series, one readers can really sink their teeth into. I was very impressed with the overall writing. A solid entertainment up there with the best spy and World War 2 fiction. Recommended to fans of Daniel Silva, Laura Hillenbrand and of course Ian Fleming!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2013
A great follow up to `Operation Armada.' Ian Fleming voyages around the world seducing dangerous women and fighting Nazis. Love it! I really enjoyed the chapter in the submarine and the Cairo sequence. The ending was poignant and has me hooked for `Operation Uncle Sam.' This series is recommended for anyone who loves a good spy thriller. It's like `Raiders of the Lost Ark' meets the James Bond books. Very well done!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Damian has done it again managed to take us on a great adventure including Adolf Hitler of all people!
Like the last book the action scenes are top notch and not over the top but you get a great sense of it as if watching it unfold before you. As well as setting the tone and scene just as well hope he keeps writing these and we keep swapping for honest reviews as i enjoy these files so much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2013
I am brand new to the literary world of Ian Fleming, and after reading Damian Stevenson's wonderfully thrilling 'Operation Parsifal', it is a world I am looking forward to revisiting. I was hooked by the intriguing and very unusual premise of British agents setting up a search and rescue operation for, of all people, Hitler!! Fortunately the novel did not disappoint. The research and setting details felt spot-on. The dialogue popped (as you've come to expect from Fleming/Bond stories), and the action sequences are plentiful and enthralling. As for the Bond super-villans we're all accustomed to, Wolfgang Krupp is as good (and surprisingly three-dimensional) as they come! I discovered after I downloaded this book that it is actually a sequel, which means I need to pick up Opertaion Armada ASAP!

I can now say with all certainly that I am a HUGE Fleming fan!

Great read!
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