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on 21 March 2016
In good condition
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on 9 May 2011
I don't normally do reviews, but I am prompted to do so by Officer Dibble who seems to have missed the point completely. If this book will frustrate the Dibbles, it will delight many. Reviewer Dibble dislikes its silliness and no doubt hates the 39 Steps, the plot of which this novel basically shares. The silliness is the enjoyable and forgiveable silliness of the plotting found in all the Hannay novels or perhaps in a Geoffrey Household novel. One happily accepts such silliness for a prose style that several notches up the ladder from a MacLean novel - Dibbles inappropriate comparison. On the evidence of this book Lyall was that satisfying combination of both a wordsmith and a storyteller. I will happily agree that the moralising reflections are its least successful aspect, but they are not mind-numbing and it is refreshing that they are even attempted.
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on 14 July 2017
It was Gavin Lyall's books, read in my youth, that inspired me to write. His books contain no wasted words, the plots are intricate and the settings spellbinding. He has an amazing eye for detail but never waffles.
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on 30 November 1999
I first read this book when I was about tweleve years old. I have read this cover to cover many times since. Gavin Lyall created some charactors with real texture. If you like hardboiled with European flavor, this is the book for you. Unlike their American counterparts, the heros of Europe has a little blueness to their hardness.
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The book: An ex-SOE operative is hired to transport a businessman across half of Europe, with a deadline involving millions of pounds. It all starts off wrong, when the first body is found close to the starting point - and it gets more complicated, more tense, and more treacherous along the way.

The author: Lyall served in the RAF in the early 1950s, and his first strand of thrillers is usually about pilots (though this particular one isn't):
The Wrong Side of the Sky (1961)
The Most Dangerous Game (1963)
Midnight Plus One (1965)
Shooting Script (1966)
Venus With Pistol (1969)
Blame the Dead (1973)
Judas Country (1975)
his two other 'strands' are on the number Ten SAS adviser Major Maxim; and the 'Honourable' series of four is about the fledgling British spy service at the start pf the 20th century.

My opinion: very very good: well-written, well paced, knowledgeable, and springing sudden tension in unexpected places. The slightly washed-out and self-doubting 'hero' makes this more realistic than many a thriller; this is a tight, well-crafted thriller with a devious plot, of which the strands are only getting clear slowly. One of Lyall's best!
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on 28 April 2015
Having read Lyall's other books over the decades I was delighted to find one I had missed. I wasn't disappointed at all. The hero, like most of Lyall's, is flawed, but seems to have insight into his failings. I enjoyed the twists of the plot and, perhaps naively, didn't predict the denouement.
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on 27 May 2014
I have had this book in paperback for years and decided to get the hardback version as it is a great story to reread like all of Gavin Lyall's books. The condition wasn't quiet up to the description but it is a fair number of years old and a lot better than my poor old p/back.
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on 3 November 2013
I just love this book. I've lost count of the number of times I've read it. It's a car chase through France. I've been lucky enough to have driven around the country a few times so I know that the book is accurate. It's a great thriller by a great British author.
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on 22 December 2014
Lyall is a top-notch writer and this is one of his best. I first read it in the 60's, and come back to it, as I do to all of his books, on a regular basis. Very pleased to see it's about to be released on Kindle.
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on 16 March 2013
Excellent book, glad it has been reprinted and is still available.Keeps you in suspense right up until the final pages.
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