2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Captures 1939 Berlin on the brink.,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Zoo Station (John Russell series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
John Russell is a new anti hero for me. My first read if a book by David Downing and I was completely absorbed. The power of words is to take the reader to the place and time in the imagination of the author. I felt as if I were in Berlin, seeing the avenues and extravagantbuildingsfirst hand. I sensed suspicion, hatred, anger and mistrust, particularly towards Jews. I gained painful insight into the minutiae of day to day life in Nazi Germany where Hitler worship was the only acceptable life style. For those without that choice, there were few options.
This tale exposes, in a fictional setting, the facts around Nazi attitudes towards not only Jews, but anyone who failed to meet the Aryan 'model' intellectually or physically. It's a frightening indictment of a nation whose moral compass was defined by one malignant individual and embraced without question by a majority.
I loved the slow and detailed pace in the first part of the book. Characters are introduced and defined by the mundane detail of their daily activities, but in a context that lays the foundations for the latter part of the book. The pace built slowly and inexorably as Russell challenged his own values. I was holding my breath at one point where his false bottomed suitcase was discovered by the Gestapo...
All in all, this is a compulsive introduction to a central character whose conflicting allegiances to Germany and Britain, son and lover, friends and family are thought provoking and plausible. I like the characters, I enjoyed the plot and in terms of edgy historical fiction, Le Carre with a twist, this ticks all the boxes. On the basis of this, I've bought the rest in the series...loved it!