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Ratlines

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3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,194 Ratings  ·  224 Reviews
Ireland 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German national is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end lest ...more
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Soho Crime
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,920)
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Megan
Jan 06, 2013 Megan rated it really liked it
Set yourself in Ireland 1963, 18 years after the end of WWII but 18 years is hardly enough time for people to forget the horrors that occurred in and by Nazi Germany. During the war Ireland stayed neutral not wanting to get pulled into another one of Britain's fights, though some like the main character Ryan, did fight with the British. Many Nazi's sought refugee in Ireland after the war to try and save themselves persecution. It is true that Skorzeny, like in the novel, lived in Ireland. It isn ...more
Rob Kitchin
Feb 14, 2013 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing
The strengths of Ratlines are the characterisation, plot, contextualisation, and pacing and prose. Neville revels in tales of conflicted, outsider characters placed in difficult circumstances. The lead character in Ratlines is Albert Ryan, an Irishman, but also protestant who has served in the British army fighting the Germans, who has some sympathies with those administering justice to Nazis on the run. He thoroughly dislikes his mission of protecting Skorzeny and the politics underpinning it, ...more
Eric
Oct 12, 2015 Eric rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction
Before getting into my review, I have to give full disclosure -- I almost never read historical fiction. In fact, the only other historical fiction novels I can think of that I've read are Operation Napoleon (review) and The Guns of Navarone (review). Also of note is that I am a poor student of history, and did not know that Otto Skorzeny or ratlines were real, non-fictional aspects of this book, though the specifics of the plot were entirely fabricated.

With that out of the way, I'll admit that
...more
Tony
Jan 23, 2013 Tony rated it it was ok
Shelves: thrillers
RATLINES. (2013). Stuart Neville. **.
My expectations of this novel were higher than it was able to deliver against. Previous novels by Mr. Neville have been excellent, especially “The Ghosts of Belfast.” This latest was formulaic to the max. Our hero was Albert Ryan. He is ordered to identify and deliver over to authorities the people responsible for the murder of a man who was known to be a former Nazi, but had emigrated to Ireland after the war under an assumed name. What made this assignment
...more
Lisa B.
Dec 12, 2012 Lisa B. rated it really liked it
Excellent!

I have decided that I like Irish authors and this book is a perfect example why. There so much history to draw from. This book had it all - murder mystery, plot twists, back stabbing.....what more could a reader ask for?

Thank you to Soho Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 1, 2013
Michael Griswold
Jul 29, 2014 Michael Griswold rated it did not like it
Ratlines by Stuart Neville is a weird book for me. On the basis of plot alone, I should’ve loved this book. A secret underground network known as the Ratlines smuggles Nazi perpetrators and collaborators out of Germany and onto the somewhat friendly territory of Northern Ireland. But now, days before a visit by US President John F. Kennedy, someone is murdering Nazi collaborators. Political leaders are desperate to solve the case out of fear of what having a Nazi-murdering killer could do to the ...more
Larraine
Jan 12, 2013 Larraine rated it it was amazing
It's often the case that a well-crafted novel can teach the rider about a subject. In this case, I learned something I never knew: that Ireland had sheltered high level Nazis after WWII. Ireland was officially neutral in WWII. However, perhaps due to the animosity between Ireland and Britain, the Irish government chose to allow a large number of high level Nazis as well as sympathizers to settle in Ireland after WWII.

I also learned that some Bretons of the French province of Breton (Brittany,)
...more
Gloria Feit
Jun 01, 2013 Gloria Feit rated it it was amazing
Starting with the historical fact that many Nazi war criminals escaped after World War II with fortunes stolen from their victims and became ensconced in various countries like Franco’s Spain, Peron’s Argentina and anti-British Ireland, Stuart Neville has created a first-rate mystery. The protagonist is a Lieutenant in the Directorate of Intelligence, Albert Ryan, who lied about his age to enlist in the British army and fought in the European theater, Egypt and Korea before returning home.

Ryan i
...more
Gayle
Feb 09, 2013 Gayle rated it really liked it
Well-plotted albeit violent thriller set in Ireland on the eve of John F. Kennedy' visit, Ratlines is a tale of the enemy of my enemy is my friend or is he? The protagonist is Lt. Albert Ryan, a member of Ireland's G-2 Directorate, an intelligence agent. His assignment is to find out who is threatening Otto Skorzeny, the Austrian Nazi who rescued Mussolini in 1943. The paradox of our hero is that he finds out that the Irish government tolerates the presence of Nazis (human beasts) and their coll ...more
Linda
Nov 01, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
So pleased that I have discovered this author, I just love his style. This is a standalone and so compelling that when I had to put it down for a few days I was annoyed!
My history is somewhat ignorant, so I really enjoy novels that incorporate slices of history.
Ratlines are the escape avenues set up by the Nazis, ways out, channels, escape routes. In 1963 Ireland, someone is killing off the "Nazis" that have escaped there.Lieutenant Albert Ryan is ordered to investigate the killings but at the s
...more
Joseph
Dec 18, 2014 Joseph rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
As with other Neville books, the pages kept turning. But for me, Ratlines isn't as good as Collusion (better) or Ghosts of Belfast (best). The book's hero seems to take an unnecessary amount of punishment. And by 'unnecessary' I mean not only the amount of gruesome imagery the author subjects the reader to, but also within the context of the plot itself -- the motivations of the bad guys don't seem to match up with their actions.
As Albert Ryan takes his beatings, he swears comeuppance for his to
...more
Carey Combe
Jan 10, 2013 Carey Combe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this. Great idea for a novel, although had to skip the torture scenes...
David Carr
Oct 07, 2015 David Carr rated it really liked it
I'm finding great pleasure in Mr. Neville's work. This historic setting was particularly engaging, reminding me that when I was eighteen, when this fiction is happening, we were just that many years away from WWII. How many hatreds and grudges, how many escaped war criminals, how many compromised political survivors must there have been as I was barely grown. For any reader who shares my pleasure in the Reacher books by Lee Child, and the Matthew Troy novels by John Lawton, ought to look for all ...more
Seana
Dec 26, 2014 Seana rated it it was amazing
Read this one for interesting material Neville uses. I hadn't known before reading this that Ireland's neutrality during World War II, which was more about hatred for the English than any particular love for the Germans led to the curious situation that Ireland became a place of refuge for various Germans after the war. Although undergoing a process of deNazification, there were some pretty creepy characters that actually floated through. Neville's crime novel is an exploration of this odd time ...more
Ben
Jun 12, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book intrigued me for ages before making it's way into my collection after hearing good things about it via Ben Kane way back in 2013, it then languished in my 'To Be Read' pile for quite a while until it finally reached the top.

Definitely worth the wait!

Very well written, Ratlines keeps a good balance between dialogue and physicality (some of which won't be for the more squeamish amongst you).

I really enjoy when an authors writing style easily allows me to conjure images of what I'm readin
...more
Deborah Gray
Jul 28, 2012 Deborah Gray rated it really liked it
Albert Ryan's strong moral code has not made it easy for him. He never really fit in anywhere, but compromise to get along wasn't in his DNA. He fought with the British against the Nazis in WWII, making him very unpopular in Ireland and branding his family as turncoats in their small village. His Irish countrymen wanted nothing to do with "The Emergency" as they called the war. After all, any enemy of the British is a friend to the Irish. In 1963, Ryan is a Lieutenant for the Directorate of Inte ...more
Randy
Dec 24, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing
Though based partly on fact, RATLINES is mostly fiction. This thriller is set in 1963 Ireland. They are preparing for a visit from the young American President Kennedy.

Something has happened that may or may not be connected. A German national has been murdered, the third of three foreigners dead within a few days of each other. Lieutenant Albert Ryan of the Directorate of Intelligence has been assigned to find out who's doing the killing and stop them.

You see, the three men all have a connectio
...more
Susan Jacoby
Jul 20, 2013 Susan Jacoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


As expected from Stuart Neville, this is a good, solidly crafted story that quickly captures the imagination with a morally complex mystery set in 1963 Ireland. The title "Ratlines" refers to a system of escape routes through Europe utilized by Nazis after the end of WWII. Having never heard the term before, I was surprised when a quick internet search revealed that the novel's villain, Otto Skorzeny, was not only a real historical figure, but the very Nazi who masterminded the "Odessa File" und
...more
Ade Couper
Sep 16, 2013 Ade Couper rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(This was a free review copy from Dead Good Books- a review has been submitted to them & will appear on their website.)

This is on the CWA shortlist for this year- but I'm not entirely sure why....

Ratlines has an intriguing premise- it's about a nazi colonel, Otto Skorzeny, who fled to Ireland after WW2; when he is pursued by unknown killers, he uses his friendship with the then Minister of Justice Charles Haughey to have Albert Ryan from G2 (the Irish secret service) assigned. There then fol
...more
Robert Intriago
Jan 08, 2013 Robert Intriago rated it really liked it
A stand alone book by the author of the Lennon series. This book remains me of the departure that Lehane made from the Kenzie series and moved to what I call the "quasi" historical fiction genre. This book has as it main character an Irishman, Lt. Ryan, that fought for the English during the WW II and Korean wars despite the stance the Irish took against helping Britain during the conflict. In 1963, prior to the JFK visit to Ireland, several expatriated Nazi are murdered by unknown individuals. ...more
Kathy
Jan 24, 2013 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Wow! Super book. Set in Ireland in 1963. After WWII Ireland offered refuge to some Nazi war criminals (this is fact). One of them Otto Skorzeny, seek the help of the Minister of Justice,. Charles Haughey. Both these men are also real as is the relationship between them. Now the fiction takes over. Someone is killing off the Nazis in Ireland and Lt. Albert Ryan of G2 is assigned to track the killers down quietly so the scheduled presidential visit of JFK will not be cancelled.
Now the convolutions
...more
Tuck
a mystery/police procedural and a semi-noir novel set in ireland 1960's in where the protag is a badass uk army commando who gets assigned to minister of justice (corupt greedy douche bag) and tasked with taking care of a very rich nazi living the life in ireland. lots and lots of torture, murder, and mayhem ensue. another, and better take on nazis and germans in ireland is vargas llosa's novel The Dream of the Celt: A Novel it was just serendipity that i read both at same time.
Sid Nuncius
Oct 08, 2015 Sid Nuncius rated it really liked it
This is a good thriller. Stuart Neville is a fine writer and this is well up to standard.

Ratlines is set in Ireland in 1963. The plot revolves around Nazi fugitives who were given safe haven in Ireland after the war, and around one real historical Nazi figure who is known to have lived in Ireland and to have met Charles Haughey (the future Taoiseach). Neville creates a fast-paced action story around these characters, featuring an Intelligence Operative, a beautiful woman, dangerous gangs...and s
...more
Robin
Aug 09, 2014 Robin rated it liked it
I'm a big Stuart Neville fan and thoroughly enjoyed Collusion and The Twelve. Ratlines, which I think was shortlisted for the 2013 Steel Dagger for best thriller, is an intriguing tale, but didn't hold me quite so tightly in its grip.

The story is certainly fascinating, involving Nazis residing in Ireland – a neutral country during the Second World War – and networks used to spirit away war criminals in the post war period. This is set in 1963 and features the real-life figure of Justice Minister
...more
Ian Brydon
May 15, 2014 Ian Brydon rated it liked it
This was a chance acquisition, on the basis that the blurb on the back of the book gave an offbeat appeal. The story is set in Dublin in 1963 with the Irish government preparing for the imminent visit of President Kennedy, and features an intriguing mix of real and fictional characters. Albert Ryan is a lieutenant in the Irish Army, attached to its intelligence service. He is summoned to the office of the Minister of Justice, Charles Haughey, who advises him about a series of killings that have ...more
Sarah
Loved this--I'm going to check out what else he has written. The torture scenes were a little much for me, but, at least when I'm reading print books, I can easily skip past those parts!

Irishman Lt. Albert Ryan is a veteran of WWII (he fought for the Brits and his family still gets grief for it) and Korea. Now he's a G2 for the Directorate of Intelligence, but he doesn't always love his job. His current assignment is stopping a rash of murders in Ireland that he really doesn't care to stop--some
...more
Peter Sørensen
Feb 01, 2015 Peter Sørensen rated it liked it
An interesting setting for a crime novel: A young nation, struggling with a very complex relationship with it's former oppressor and a one of the few to remain untouched by the horrors of WWII, became a safe haven for quite a few Nazis after their defeat.
In this novel, someone is going round killing them off, and the protagonist, a Protestant who joined the British to fight the Nazis (not a popular move in Ireland at the time), and now works for the Irish Directorate of Intelligence, is set to t
...more
Naomi
Aug 02, 2013 Naomi rated it really liked it
Read my full review: http://bit.ly/137icXL

My opinion: This was an awesome read. Forget the fact that it was a really fast paced, twisted read. Forget the fact that it was incredibly well written. Forget the fact that it was laden with complex characters. This book made me think. This book taught me about an area of history that I knew nothing about.
Nick Davies
Objectively I can see why this book was nominated for a Crime Writer's Association award (which is one of the reasons why I added it to my Amazon wish-list late last year) because it's ambitious, well-written and complex. This tale of a young man involved in investigating the killing of exiled Nazis in the early 1960s certainly does have some big ideas and plenty of twists and turns. I thought the writing was very good with regards the character definition, and in building the time and environme ...more
Mary
Jun 11, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it
While reading this historical mystery, I learned how Nazis were welcomed and protected by the Irish State following World War II. I was totally unaware of this fact The main character Albert Ryan served with the British during World War II and I also learned that Irish men who served in the War with the Allies were shunned when they returned home. This story is set in the sixties right before the visit of Kennedy to Ireland and predates the "troubles" but the IRA plays a strong part in the plot ...more
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2880615
I have been a musician, a composer, a teacher, a salesman, a film extra, a baker and a hand double for a well known Irish comedian, but I'm currently a partner in a successful multimedia design business in the wilds of Northern Ireland.

I have published short stories in Thuglit, Electric Spec and Every Day Fiction. THE TWELVE is my first novel, and will be published in the UK and Commonwealth by Ha
...more
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