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State of Siege

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  268 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
All in all Steve Fraser had enjoyed his three-year stint in the former Dutch Southeast Asian colony of Sunda, and he’d been well compensated. But now he was looking forward to a last weekend in the capital before heading home. But Sunda was newly independent, and not entirely stable. An opposition faction with fundamentalist Islamic leanings was set on overthrowing the pro ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 19th 2011 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published January 1st 1956)
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Sam Reaves
I am a great admirer of Eric Ambler and thought I'd read all of his novels (most of them more than once); imagine my excitement when I came across this one, which had somehow escaped my notice. It concerns a British engineer in a fictionalized Indonesia in the 1950's who is about to fly out at the end of his contract when a coup attempt traps him in an apartment in a building being used as headquarters by the rebels. Most of the action takes place on that reduced stage, as he and his female comp ...more
Julian King
Jul 10, 2013 Julian King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thriller worthy of the name, from the days shortly before Ian Fleming got his typewriter out and everything began to get a just a little bit silly.

Steve Fraser is the reluctant hero of this short retelling in the first person of his horrific involvement in a coup (or counter-coup) in colonial SE Asia. He's a resourceful fellow, of perhaps better than average height, build, courage, intelligence, etc., but no superman. Fraser's an engineer, so has practical knowledge and skills, and he speaks t
Sep 17, 2016 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not typical Ambler, but still worth the read.
A light thriller with no ramifications for the main character who adds no insights despite telling the story in first person some time after it occurred. As it is a short book that is understandable, the focus is on crafting a tight thriller that keeps the pages turning and the reader engaged. This is a book for escapist reading, and doesn't ask for much from the reader and won't leave lingering questions about society and self.

It is perfectly poised and polished for what it is, an unpretentious
Nov 29, 2014 nina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eric Ambler invented the modern political thriller, and his best novels hold up today, both as thrillers, and as explanations of various arenas of the cold war. A typical thriller goes like this: a young Englishman with some convenient profession, unsophisticated and politically naive, accidentally gets en-snarled in some dangerous situation along with a convenient beautiful young woman. They fall in love as they flee danger. You are supposed to identify with the young man and vicariously enjoy ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An English engineer finishing his three-year assignment in a fictional Malaysian banana republic in the mid-50s is caught up in a civil war. This is a straightforward story, but it's elevated by its attention to problems facing politically unstable countries, as in the following:

"The moment of greatest difficulty for all revolutionary leaders seems to be the moment of success; the moment when, from being rebels in conflict with authority, they themselves have suddenly become the authority, and
Apr 21, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
The UK title The Night-Comers is the title to use if you are downloading as an entertaining 6.5-hour-long audiobook from Audible.

Searching for information about this book, either under the UK title or the US title State of Siege, yields a spider's web of irrelevant connections. People or groups irrelevantly connected include but are not limited to: Marlon Brando, Henry James, Patti LuPone, Albert Camus, the US Agency for International Development, and Tom Clancy.

Perhaps it is bad form to re-cy
Mar 29, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm borderline obsessed with Ambler's pre-WWII golden age, and The Night-Comers is the latest written, chronologically-speaking, Ambler novel I've read. Compared to his classics, this one starts slowly, but the last half is can't quite put it down riveting. Still, I rank it a notch below his best work.
Aug 06, 2013 AC marked it as i-get-the-picture  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-mystery
This one has lost my interest. Either I've burned out on Ambler for the week (3 books in 5-6 days) or it's simply not as good as the others. I think it's probably the latter.
Jun 09, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Ambler, Eric. THE NIGHT-COMERS. (1957). ****. About a third of the way through this novel, I realized that I must have read it before, but could remember so little of it that I read on. That had to be about forty years ago. Doesn’t matter. This is still a fine novel in the inimitable Ambler style, that shows a skilled craftsman telling a story that is based on enough of a true background to be convincing. The scene is the capital of an island republic in Indonesia, some years after the withdrawa ...more
Paul Jellinek
Dec 10, 2015 Paul Jellinek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eric Ambler at his best, which is very good indeed. This wonderfully convoluted but tightly structured tale of political intrigue plays out in a small island somewhere in the Indonesian or Malaysian archipelago. Jospeh Conrad would have loved it!
Douglas Mcintosh
Feb 13, 2014 Douglas Mcintosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2016 Tom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Have really liked Ambler's previous efforts, but this fell flat for me. I tried to hang on and hang on, but just couldn't get into it.
Keith Currie
The story is set in the early 1950s in an imaginary country in the Far East which has gained its independence from the Dutch - not Indonesia, but I suppose that's what we are meant to think. The country now undergoes an attempted coup by an Islamist faction and a British engineer becomes embroiled in the resultant chaos. This is an exciting thriller which tackles themes of colonialism, post-colonialism, corruption, military government, Islamism (long before it was everyday news) and racism. Our ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Divad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great Ambler... he really was a master of character development and plot... and created lots of characters along the way
Oct 19, 2014 Wendy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelves
Also known originally as the night-comers - rereleased as the seige
My copy from pan books under original name
Jun 21, 2007 Leanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those really, really interested in characters
I mis-took this book for another my book-club was reading and didn't realize until I showed up for the meeting! However, I found this to be a fairly enjoyable book. The characters are very realistic and, despite the fact that the book is set during a time of coup, the plot development revolves only around the characters' interactions. I found the book surprisingly slow at times but I did think the author managed to talk interestingly about racial identity, personality, and how both inform person ...more
Cathy Houston
a good thriller that is I think very timely in today's world situation
Ed Kohinke sr.
Ho hum.
David Lowther
The Night Comers is set in an unsettled Indonesian island where revolution is in the air. A British engineer gets caught up in it all, along with his newly acquired girlfriend.

The book starts slowly but picks up when the action starts. Characterisation is good but this is really a minor Ambler and nowhere near as smart as his masterpiece The Mask of Dimitrios.

David Lowther. Author of The Blue Pencil, Liberating Belsen and Two Families at War, all published by Sacristy Press.
Nader Elhefnawy
Feb 12, 2012 Nader Elhefnawy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
State of Siege is the story of an engineer winding up a job in the imaginary Sunda republic. Before he can fly out he gets trapped in the capital by a rebel attack, and forced to navigate the intrigues that follow.

After the early chapters it is a bit short on the humor characteristic of Ambler's best work, but the book is engaging throughout, and in its treatment of the battle for the capital, anticipated the military techno-thriller.
Jan 17, 2014 J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ambler
Haven't read in too long, will revisit.
Alan Marchant
Aug 09, 2009 Alan Marchant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, adventure, spy
Intrigue, romance, and combat adventure packed in a trim build that matches Ambler's spare prose. This 1956 novel offers insights into the post-war rise of Muslim militancy. But mostly State of Siege is as easy to pick up and put down as Steve Fraser's pretty little call girl.
Thomas Burchfield

"But The Nightcomers, in addition to being didactic, is a trifle boring, especially for an author as charged up and engaged with the world as Eric Ambler."

More at:
Gordon Howard
A solid suspense, set in a far-off dangerous land (in this case, a proxy for 1950's Indonesia), which is an Eric Ambler specialty. Nothing special, but quite enjoyable.
Frank Kelly
Jul 31, 2012 Frank Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Everything by Eric Ambler is superb. Enough said. Just read him.
Vivek Mathews
A light read, suitable for reading while travelling.
An enjoyable read
Good yarn.
John rated it really liked it
Sep 24, 2016
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Eric Ambler began his writing career in the early 1930s, and quickly established a reputation as a thriller writer of extraordinary depth and originality. He is often credited as the inventor of the modern political thriller and John Le Carre once described him as 'the source on which we all draw.'

Ambler began his working life at an engineering firm, then as a copywriter at an advertising agency,
More about Eric Ambler...

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