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Silesian Station (John Russell series Book 2) Kindle Edition
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The only reason i am not giving 5 stars is the over descriptive nature whenever Russell takes a trip across Berlin, we seem to get an A to Z of the journey giving all the street names travelled, do we really need to know this!
Not since Phillip Kerr has someone come along who has created a character and stories to equal his Bernie Gunther series.
I read Zoo Station before Christmas and held out on reading this so that I could enjoy this and prepeare for the what will hopefully be the third in the series later this year.
I read this while recovering from the flu and kept my wife amused as I purred, laughed and sighed my way through the book. It immediately brought back my own visits to Berlin (though not that long ago). You can smell the food, beer and see the sights as you read the book.
Russell is again caught in a vice between the German, Russian and American intelligence services. In between times he has a missing Jewsess to locate. All this is set against the impending war that everyone knows, and fears, is coming.
We follow Russell as he travels around Eastern Europe, taking in an occupied Czech republic, an "autonomous" Slovak republic, a pre=invasion Warsaw and Moscow just as the non agression treaty is agreed.
We meet spies, policemen, actresses and ordinary people struggling to survive in "the cage" - as Nazi Germany was known to those who lived there.
There is not only a thriller here but moments of comedy that surface without warning; moments where your heart is squeezed and, hidden away, small stories of everyday events that really happened.
Buy this and enjoy a great read by a superb author who really knows his craft and his historical place.
As with the first book, espionage plays a part and at times it's easy to forget who is playing off who, and who is getting fake information and who knows what. But that does take us on a whistlestop tour of central and eastern Europe during the days of quickening Nazi occupation and aggression, again Downing paints a very involving, gripping picture - all the more so if you have been to Berlin or any of the other cities mentioned.
Another theme of the book is the thoughts and words of ordinary Germans during this era - yes there is some licence here, but it's a good reminder that fundamentally we are all the same and few people look forward to war...
In all, an intricately-woven web of a story that manages to grip and entertain, without being too heavy - considering the subject matter. Now on to book three...
"Silesian Station" is a well-written, well-researched thriller set in Berlin in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War. John Russell, a journalist, becomes involved in espionage, in the embryonic Jewish resistance and in the hunt for a young woman who has disappeared shortly after arriving in Berlin.
The characters are well drawn, the plot measured and the atmosphere evoked outstanding. In Russell, David Downing has created an excellent character of some complexity.
I look forward eagerly to the third book in the series.
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