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on 6 November 2010
I bought this book on personal recommendation and am very glad I did. My family couldn't get a look in while I read it on half term holiday. This is a compelling read that cleverly replicates the fear that gripped many people in occupied France when trying to help any of those Nazi-persecuted communities. Fred Nath repeatedly reminds us of the torment which comes from the feeling you are betraying your friends. I would recommend this to others. I'm sure it would successfully translate into a screenplay.
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on 3 April 2016
I bought this because it is the first book in Fred Nath's WW2 trilogy, which he has since expanded with more books about WW2 (currently six). It's a bit heavy on the main character's wrestling with his God and his conscience but overall it's a good read. Personally I preferred the second book in this trilogy (which features the same locations in the Dordogne and some of the same characters) and found the writing better with book 2 so perhaps Fred was getting into his stride with this first book?
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on 21 December 2012
An evocative, powerful and emotional story set in Vichy France during the German occupation of WW11. Assistant Chief of Police in Bergerac, Auguste Ram, a Frenchman, faces a dilemma when he is ordered by Brunner a German Major in the Security Police to round up Jews for transportation. Then a young woman is murdered and the prime suspect is the Nazi Major. This book is about a very difficult time in French History, when neighbour is set against neighbour. It relates to a terrible time when truly brave men and women fought to protect their country and their way of life against atrocities committed during the German Occupation. I enjoyed reading this book very much, the author conveys a real feel for the sadness and terror people felt during that time; I understand this tragic period of French co-operation with the Germans still resonates today amongst many people.
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on 14 December 2010
The Cyclist - Fred Nath

It took me a long while to marry together the title and the contents, but now I think I get the symbolism.

This is a story of courage, of conscience and of justice, of one man fighting against the flow. A decent man, Auguste Ran, just wants to do his job, do right by his country, his compatriots and his family, but he is drawn out of his ordered little corner by the murder of an innocent young girl. This one act brings him to realise what has been going on around him - events to which he has become conveniently blind.

As a policeman, Auguste has been complicit in the rounding up of the Jews of his town for deportment to the death camps and of ignoring the barbarity of the Nazi occupiers. Now he risks the safety of his wife and child by taking into his own home the daughter of his best friend Pierre, a Jew.

As Auguste battles with his religious convictions, his conscience and his desire to see justice done, we are dragged by the metaphorical collar through a whole range of emotions.
The book is a page turner by any definition. It is unputdownable - you need to know what is going to happen next and when it does...
There are a few annoying niggles in the formatting, but these are easily overlooked and do not detract from the story one jot.
I loved the story, it made me smile and it made me cry, but most of all it left me fwith a deep respect for men like Auguste Ran, who risked their lives and all they held dear to do the right thing.
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on 10 August 2013
A well written enjoyable read. Good character portrayal and evocative description of the time in which it's set. The only reason I didn't rate it 5*'s is that, given the huge risks to himself and his family, I struggled to find credibility in the lead character's dogged pursuit of extra-curricular justice for a dead girl, whom he barely knew, however laudible his motives. If you ignore that, and instead consider his actions in the context an awakening anti-nazi conscience and refusal toe the Vichy line, it was a very entertaining novel with a good measure of suspense and excitement. I look forward to reading another Fred Nath offering.
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on 2 April 2015
'The Cyclist' is the first of a series of books following the lives of partisans, or resistance fighters, in occupied France. The whole series contains excellent well-written plots with believable characters offering an insight into life under the Nazi reign. The author has certainly done his homework with regards to historical research. I was recently delighted to find there is in fact a fifth book out now and I bought it straight away. But before I read it I'm going to read the previous four again, only this time around in the correct order!!
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on 9 September 2012
I have just finished reading The Cyclist,and found it to be an enjoyable read,with a main character who is reminiscent of Graham Green's troubled Catholic souls.I had been back to the Dordogne this summer and was transported there again in a wartime setting.
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on 18 September 2010
This is a book that keeps you reading on and on. You can't put it down even if you want to.
Well written in every respect.
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on 14 October 2012
This sounded so promising, but it so quickly lets the reader down that I cannot believe it got so many good reviews, so I have to add mine just for some balance.
Firstly, it is so badly written, lumpen is the word I use to myself. There is simply no feeling of life to the dawning of the hero's realisation that he has found himself on the wrong side of morality. Also it is just too rambling, there is no tension at all.

I could forgive all that if the plot was good enough or if it was interesting, but it isn't and then there are the mistakes. It is as if the author never checked anything. At one point he states that Bergerac to Drancy is only an hours journey - really? Not even now with motorways still less in the war torn 1940s, when I would guess it would be at the very least a days drive.

In a similar vein, driving from Bergerac to Lyon and back by lunchtime in war time France. You couldn't do that now!
At the conference much is made of General Himmler being unknown, but the 'coming man of the Reich'. Anyone with knowledge of history knows that he was powerful and important throughout the lifespan of the Third Reich and that he was not a General, but Reichsfuhrer by the war. I think our author mixed him up with Heydrich, who was a General and really was the coming man before his death.

All in all a wasted effort and a tedious read, sorry.
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on 27 April 2014
I made a BIG mistake recently, I read Farewell Bergerac by this author before I read the Cyclist. It too is a 5* read, I would recommend that you read this novel first.

For the past 12 years I have had the advantage of living in the middle of the area in a village next to the Dordogne River that the author writes about. As a new author myself and, writing about the French resistance in my novel "The Frenchman's Daughters," I have been absorbed into the atmosphere that was imposed on the local population all those years ago.

I spend hours driving and walking, exploring the the local forest tracks researching the history and also mixing with the elderly locals who were involved in region's terrible situation during WW2.

"The Cyclist" realistically captures it all. For me Fredrik Nath is a Master scribe well worthy of the 5* accolade. I would gladly award a higher rating if it was available.

I will now move on to his next novel.

Thankyou....
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