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Declare by [Powers, Tim]
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Declare Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
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Length: 612 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Tim Powers is a brilliant writer. Declare's occult subtext for the deeper Cold War is wonderfully original and brilliantly executed --William Gibson

Dazzling - a tour de force, a brillant blend of John Le Carre spy fiction with the otherworldly, packed with historical fact, dazzling flights of imagination, and wonderful suspense --Dean Koontz

Philip K. Dick felt that one day Tim Powers would be one of our greatest fantasy writers. Phil was right --Roger Zelazny

Book Description

A mesmerising, award-winning, daringly imaginative, multi-levelled thriller for fans of John le Carre or Neal Stephenson, Declare reveals the secret history of the twentieth century

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1664 KB
  • Print Length: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus; Main edition (1 Jun. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003Y3BLPI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,101 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tim Powers has written a number of novels on the theme of mystical influences behind the real world, and Declare is no exception. Protagonist Andrew Hale joins the British Secret Intelligence Service during WWII, serving against Germany and then in the infant Cold War, confronting increasingly strange events that culminate in some desperate mission on the slopes of Mount Ararat in 1948, codenamed Declare. Flash forward to 1963, and Hale is reactivated and thrown into another desperate attempt to finish Declare. Powers weaves the two timelines expertly, so we gradually discover some of the truth with the young and naive Hale, while following the older and more cynical man into the heart of the mystery.

Declare carefully takes as many true events as it can, inserting Andrew Hale and the mysterious forces he faces into the unexplained spaces between official accounts. A central figure is Kim Philby, real-life KGB double agent who worked for MI6 for 20 years before exposure. Powers also gives us real-life Soviet spy rings in Paris, machinations in Arabia, and post-war Berlin. He never leans too heavily on his intensive research, and it just flows and merges beautifully. Without Wikipedia you'd never be able to tell what is real and what is imagination. Hale is a character in the tradition of John Le Carre - insecure, frightened, and very human. The book depends totally on the reader engaging with him, and thankfully he is one of Powers' best characters.

Powers has never had the success he deserves, and Declare is a perfect example of why he should, but never will. It could have been a blockbuster-style spy novel with pulp monsters and sold well with a cheesy cover, but instead he crafts a Le Carre tale of tradecraft with enigmatic and subtly terrifying mystical forces.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Declare" follows the career of Andrew Hale, literally born into the British secret service and destined to join a decades old operation against a supernatural threat to the West. Powers knits together various unexplained anomalies from the life of Kim Philby, the notorious traitor to MI6, with the life of Lawrence of Arabia, with hints in the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights, and the story of the Ark on Mount Ararat, to name only a few sources. It reminds me of John Buchan's description in Three Hostages (Wordsworth Classics) of how he produced his "shockers" - taking a number of bizarre and seemingly unlinked characters or situations then creating a backstory for them. Powers' backstory takes us from wartime Paris to postwar Berlin, the Middle East before climaxing in 1960s Russia, creating a whole hidden history for the rise and fall of the Soviet Union

If it all sounds unlikely, just take my word for it, he produces a credible and consistent story, one where the familiar Smileyesque world of mirrors and double dealing never quite goes away... while at the same time much deeper and darker secrets are (eventually) exposed than the Circus ever kept.

I spotted one or two cultural glitches with the (presumably American) author's writing about Britain, but they didn't really detract, it would be picky to list them.

Basically, great fun and enjoyable to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I haven't yet finished this novel. However I am a fan of Tim Powers who alway leave you with a residue of sometimes disturbing images.
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Format: Paperback
This was a fantastic achievement. Powers really is a great writer. This worked superbly as both an espionage novel and as occult/fantasy book.

It was slightly slow at the start and but I soon got into it. There were some slightly jarring elements to it, such as the English main character using American words and some very few slight historical inaccuracies.
However those are about the only criticisms that I can make.

The occult and the supernatural elements are very well done and always leave you wanting to know more. The spy and adventure story parts are also very well thought through.

The research that has gone into this book is very impressive and it doesn't overwhelm the plot.

Maybe the best thing that I can about this novel is that it almost seems believable and plausible.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This WWII/Cold War supernatural, espionage thriller was excellent. I've only read two of his books but already I think I'm becoming a Tim Powers fan. I was very impressed by how well the story fit into the gaps between real events -admittedly I've mostly taken the author's word on this, but he seems like a writer who does his research. Declare was intriguing as at first I didn't know quite what was going on (much though I enjoyed The Anubis Gates I did guess a major plot point by the end of the second chapter). The supernatural elements unfolded far more slowly and were initially more subtle. It kept me reading as I wanted to know what was going on.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is written very much in the Le Carre style of gritty detail, which I find hard work and slightly depressing. It does however convey enormous authenticity, and as a result the added supernatural element is really frightening and horrific. I found I preferred to read during the daytime as I had bad dreams if I read chapters before sleeping!

I was delighted by a robust love story in a spy novel and really enjoyed the excellent recreation of the various milieux. However, I am an English pedant, and I wish Mr Powers had had an English friend proof read the novel for him. To have a quintessential upper class Englishman like Kim Philby say "in back" instead of "at the back", or refer to the "draft" when English people call it "conscription" is slack, and a let down when other things seem so accurate.
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