Billion-Dollar Brain (Secret File, #4)
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Billion-Dollar Brain (Secret File #4)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  438 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The fourth of Deighton-s novels to be narrated by the unnamed employee of WOOC(P) is the thrilling story of an anti-communist espionage network owned by a Texan billionaire, General Midwinter, run from a vast computer complex known as the Brain. After having been recruited by Harvey Newbegin, the narrator travels from the bone-freezing winter of Helsinki, Riga and Leningra...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Harper (first published 1966)
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This book isn't perfect. But it's my favourite of the Deightons. Maybe it's almost-perfect. I have the 1960s Penguin paperback which must've been a tie-in with the movie. And it's one of my prized possessions though as a valuable asset its worth is possibly $0.50. Great writing, because Deighton got into his stride in terms of elliptical style and a way of conveying more with less description. The scenes of the narrator with Signe the possibly-teenaged hired assassin are very funny. And though i...more
really enjoyed this book I think the backdrop of cold war paranoia appealed to me as I remembered much of that when growing up in the seventies and eighties and how it fed into popular culture in the form of Bond movies and Frankie goes to Hollywood videos to name but two!!
This is a well-written book and is darker than some spy treatments of the time,there are twists aplenty yet the plot never becomes muddled in itself.
it's a book in some ways low in sensation but high in espionage plotting and...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in January 2004.

The fourth Harry Palmer novel (in which he is still an unnamed narrator; the name was given him for the films) is the most dated of all of them. It relies on a plot device straight from James Bond or even The Man From UNCLE - the network of agents run by a computer. The novel begins with a Finnish journalist making waves when he starts investigating what he thinks is a massive British Secret Service operation in Finland - but there isn't one,...more
I loved what Ken Russell did with this Book. The Film is such a weird mixture of Fantasy and the kind of megalomania that has now become commonplace due to the advances in the very rudimentary computers that feature in the film itself that I am finding the book far more difficult to read. What I love about Deighton's style of writing is that it is so well researched and refined that I find a lot of modern Novel Writing very boring and film script like in approach. I like to be able to climb into...more
John Defrog
The fourth Secret File novel from Deighton, in which the unnamed hero (a.k.a. Harry Palmer) is instructed to investigate and infiltrate a private intelligence organization run by an American anti-Commie billionaire whose agents receive assignments via a massive supercomputer. Also, one such agent – who also happens to be an old friend of Palmer’s – may also be stealing viruses from the British govt, and not necessarily to give to his boss. The computer angle is obviously dated, but I liked the a...more
Not my favourite of the four unnamed agent books, but still a very good read. The film was spoilt by being over the top in parts, but beautifully filmed in others!
This was one of the books that Deighton introduced an error, intentional I assume, concerning drinks.
The characters Newbegin, Signe and the unnamed agent, start off with a whisky in chapter 3.
One page on Newbegin finishes his vodka with no mention inbetween, of a change.
Another book describes two characters drinking Dutch gin, they fin...more
The plot was kind of absurd.
A fantastic Cold War spy thriller. Better than some of Deighton's earlier "unnamed spy" books; clearer in its descriptions, tidier with its characterizations. Deighton writes with fantastic economy of style, glazing over passages of time or periods of transit with a few quick sentences to get to the good stuff: the intrigue, the girls, the danger, the high stakes, the world-weary cynicism.
Fredrick Danysh
A plot is afoot to distribute a plague virus throughout the world. In play are a civilian "anti-terrorist" group, and intelligence groups from both England and the United States as well as Russia. A wonderful 1960s thriller.
An entertaining book, good for bus reading, but not if you're looking for something a bit deeper.
Beautifully written but not the most griping story in the series.
Brian Christy
A classic spy story and wonderfully written.
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Deighton was born in Marylebone, London, in 1929. His father was a chauffeur and mechanic, and his mother was a part-time cook.After leaving school, Deighton worked as a railway clerk before performing his National Service, which he spent as a photographer for the Royal Air Force's Special Investigation Branch. After discharge from the RAF, he studied at St Martin's School of Art in London in 1949...more
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