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The Company of Strangers

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  692 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The stifling summer streets of Lisbon are teeming with spies and informers when Andrea Aspinall, an English mathematician turned spy, disappears under a new identity. Military attaché Karl Voss, experienced in the illusions of intrigue, arrives in Lisbon under the German Legation, though he is secretly working against the Nazis so that atomic and rocket technology do not f ...more
Paperback, 481 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Mariner Books (first published 2001)
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Charles
Just finished I think all of Robert Wilson's books. company of Strangers took me to the gripping quality of Blind Man of Seville and the Javier Falcon series. Don't know what it is as I've had a remarkably unremarkably comfortable life but Wilson awakens fascinating dark places in this, among his best work. Among the many good things about Wilson's work --- you can start almost anywhere. Thank you Robert.
J.P. Lane
This book cost me $2 for the paperback and a lot of hours of sleep. I couldn't put it down. I dislike having to resort to what another reviewer has said, but I'm in complete agreement with the Los Angeles Times: "Absorbing and brilliantly written, this is caviar for the cognoscenti." But the appeal went way beyond that for me. This book isn't only a brilliant portrayal of the spy era, it captured my emotions and had them in its grip right until the end. When I came to the end, I sat with the boo ...more
Alan
Reading this thriller was like reading two separate books inexpertly stitched together. In the first half, a young English student is recruited by her country's secret service and sent to Portugal in 1944 for the purpose of espionage, although her exact assignment is not exactly explained. There, she falls in love at first sight, or rather at first grip, with a German diplomat who turns out to be a double-agent involved in an assassination attempt against Hitler. This part of the book is masterl ...more
James
Read the ARC. One of the locales of this book of World War II intrigue and romance is one of my favorite cities so I am biased from the start. Anything involving Lisboa will get my attention quick quick. How does a young English woman become involved with Germans in Lisboa? Is it wise to fall in love during such turbulent times? Are spies as romantic as we are lead to believe? Not as strong as his 'The Blind Man of Seville' but well worth the read.
Fran
I did not know what I was getting into when I started this book. It was given to me and I was told "it's a good book". Yes, it is! It is not my genre. I am not into spies, double agents, espionage, etc...;however, if that is your forte "The Company of Strangers" is a must. Starting in the 1940s and ending in the 90s the writer keeps it interesting and pacts a lot of adventure into this book. I must admit it was confusing at time, the writer used too many street names, foreign cities that were di ...more
Desiree
The company of strangers is a thriller about espionage, double agents, etc. from 1944 World War II "neutral" Portugal through the Salazar fascist regime, Eastern Germany in during the communist regime until the ending in the late 1980's after the fall of the wall.
It's also a love story about two people who fall in love in Lisbon, a love affair that only lasts two weeks but determines the rest of their lives.

Wilson's descriptions of Lisbon and Berlin are superb. The passcodes and literary quotati
...more
Rachael
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Toni Osborne
This book is the life of Karl Voss and Andrea Aspinall from the time of WW11

In 1943, Captain Karl Voss a young officer in the Abwehr (the German military intelligence organization) is recruited by disillusioned Army officers to become a double agent- posing as an enemy of the Nazi state, but remain loyal to Germany. His job is to go to Lisbon as the German Legations military attaché and security officer; once there, trade Intelligence with the British and the Russians.

Twenty year old Andrea Aspi
...more
Kelly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marianne Søiland
Jeg var overlykkelig over å ha funnet ei bok som på papiret hørtes ut som en Le Carré look-alike. Jeg simpelten elsket spionthrillere på 80-tallet. Jeg ble imidlertid noe skuffet. Det er ikke tvil om at dette er en velskrevet bok. Hva som er mer tvilsomt er om den er spesielt interessant eller engasjerende. Starten var veldig lovende, hvor vi ble introdusert til Andrea og Karl Voss og motivasjonen deres til å bli spioner for eget land. Men så stoppet det på en måte opp, og fremdriften gikk sener ...more
Carolyn
3.5 stars

You know how I love espionage, don't you? This filled that need this month. A love story betwixt a sort-of Nazi and a sort-of English spy. Murders, secret letters, unknowns. Very LeCarre. Sad. Good enough that I bought another Wilson (the one I think I had heard of first, not connected to this one except by author) and have it waiting in the wings.
Hans
Nice reference (I think) to Andrea Camilleri's The Terracotta Dog:
"you know what this looks like to me?"...
"The way the bodies are positioned, with the dog at their feet, and the fact that he's holding her hand".
"... It looks like a tomb... You know, the knight in armour and his lady wife".
"You're right, ... and they always got those little dogs at their feet."
Adonis
A great read through the life of a young woman and everything she had to go through.
Makes you realize how short life can be.
Also shows you how dark the world used to be.

Wasn't really happy with the way the book ended! But it's just personal preference.
A must read.
John
I really enjoyed this classic spy novel following an English woman who is pulled into espionage in WWII, then returning to the trade in the cold war. The "strangers" part means that in this business, one does not really know anyone (although you can still find love). Just a side note, but not a scene goes by without everyone lighting up a smoke; almost expected to see it curling out of the pages :)
Harry
A young Andrea of London is sent to Lisbon in 1944 to sink or swim in the dangerous game of the spy. Instead of going down for the third time, she comes out an Olympic champion. A very intriguing use of Historical novel, thriller and love story.
Bibliophile
Robert Wilson's Company of Strangers, which deals with the fall-out from a 1944 love affair between a young woman who's an English spy and a young man who's a German double agent. Their affair, which lasts for two weeks, has repercussions that echo through both of their lives until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and although the novel isn't quite as good as Wilson's A Small Death in Lisbon (which deals with the export of Nazi gold through Portugal and how that ties into a current-day murder ...more
Mementomori
A captivating spy thriller set across 30 years, with a shocking ending. I was interested from the start, it kept my attention, and the author captured the feel and atmosphere of WWII, and Cold War Berlin well. I'll be reading more from Wilson. Also makes me wonder again, how close the Nazi's were to a radioactive 'dirty bomb' warhead for their V bombs to England.
Shelly
There are three "books" in this novel. Book One is excellent - 5 stars - full of suspense, with a vivid sense of place and interesting characters. Book Two is a slog-fest, until the very end. The sense of place is gone, the characters are bogged down and so is the story. Book Three shows a bit more promise - we return to Lisbon so that sense of place is back - but the ending, while realistic, is terrible. I've come away with a foul taste in my mouth, all the promise and excitement from book one ...more
John Treanor
Excellent. Kind of a sleeper, as at the half way point I thought "where is this thing going?" and "should I bother going with it?", as it leapt ahead 20+ years in time. Where it was going was right into the heart of cold-war London and Berlin. Going from a fairly tepid pace (appropriate for Lisbon) into the fun-house mirror tension and confusion that was the Cold War, replete with double-agents and treachery. Good stuff. Maybe not a 4-star worthy book, but a strong 3.5.
Annie Modesitt
The story was interesting, but the confused and rather convoluted style made comprehension difficult.

I don't *think* I'm unintelligent, but I found myself re-reading passages because they just didn't make sense to me.

In the end, when the book was finished, I kept forgetting whether I'd finished it or not for a few days. I don't think that's a great sign.
Kenneth Fredette
This was a good spy book. It was full of double agents and betrayal. With a little bit of love thrown in. It was a lot better than the last Robert Wilson book. Which he recapped. This book he recapped but not until all the action was played out.
Pat
story of espionage, family secrets, deception, romance, history. Told well, and several of the characters were very well drawn... some of the politics and history i ended up glossing over, but generally kept me attentive to the story
Tracy
I've been trying to get through this book for quite a while now. I hate not finishing a book, but I'm quitting this one. Too much espionage, not enough romance. I can't keep track of who's working with the nazi's and who isn't. BLAH!
Darrell Kastin
A good read. It was quite suspenseful and I liked the characters, as well as the historical information and the setting. I was however somewhat let down by the ending. Still, pretty chilling. And nicely written.
Natalie
It was long and the ending was not what I thought it would be...the middle of the book is rather boring, and if you put it down for too long, the names become confusing...
Sanchia
One of my favourite crime authors, and another complex, detailed, beautifully written book. Not quite on parr with 'A Small Death in Libson' but a terrific read.
Chuck
A young British woman is enlisted into covert operations in WWII
Lisbon, a center of espionage both Allied and Nazi. Convoluted,
tedious, slow. Did not finish.
Christopher Culp
A worthy successor to A Small Death in Lisbon. It's not a sequel, but it contains all the same elements of history, politics, characters, local atmosphere, and more.
Leighann
Slow, slow, slow. I skipped the middle third of the book it was so boring, but I wanted to know the end of the story for the main character. :)
Pamela Klint
I liked most of it but I did not Love most of it. Hmmm... I really do need to spend more time on these horrid reviews or say nothing at all :)
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Robert Wilson has written thirteen novels including the Bruce Medway noir series set in West Africa and two Lisbon books with WW2 settings the first of which, A Small Death in Lisbon, won the CWA Gold Dagger in 1999 and the International Deutsche Krimi prize in 2003. He has written four psychological crime novels set in Seville, with his Spanish detective, Javier Falcón. Two of these books (The Bl ...more
More about Robert Wilson...
A Small Death in Lisbon The Blind Man of Seville (Javier Falcon, #1) The Hidden Assassins (Javier Falcon, #3) The Vanished Hands (Javier Falcon, #2) The Ignorance of Blood (Javier Falcon, #4)

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