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Spy Line (Bernard Samson #5)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,712 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
British agent Bernard Samson finds himself inexplicably hunted as a traitor, forced to abandon his life, his job, his position, and plunge into hiding in the most dangerous and darkest corner of Berlin. What is happening? What has he done? Nothing makes sense until Samson discovers that the Secret Service has known all along where he is. In fact, they have never taken him ...more
Published October 14th 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published November 25th 1989)
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Community Reviews

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Scott Holstad
Jun 28, 2015 Scott Holstad rated it liked it
As utterly atrocious as this book's predecessor, Sky Hook, was -- and it was horrible -- this book is a serious improvement on it. The last book left the reader with all sorts of unanswered questions and was obviously written for the sole purpose of getting readers to buy the sequel, which really pissed me off. So I bought the sequel, which pissed me off even more, and a lot of these questions were finally answered. British spy Bernard Samson is back and remains largely clueless about so much. H ...more
Jan 25, 2017 Jan rated it liked it
Did review this, but must not have saved it!
This is a continuation of Hook, all books leave you in the middle of the story, so, unless you are prepared to not buy the next one, don't pick up this book! Friend gave me Hook, and I fell, Hook, Line and Sinker, and had to buy the next one, and the next etc. Good for her, as she now gets to read them at my cost!
Story: Bernard is on the run in Berlin, he is hiding out, the British Intelligence agency knows where he is hiding out, so he is not fooling
Oct 18, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, 2014, espionage
Continuing on from Spy Hook, Bernard Samson manages to pull himself out of one set of trouble which had ended the previous book and straight into the next. Answering along the way a number of the loose ends left by the previous book, but also producing a number of clever twists and turns that leave though important unanswered questions for the final book in the series.

Len Deighton continues to write books of well rounded characters, that concentrate on plot lines and characters rather than the t
Apr 12, 2013 Kw rated it really liked it
So I picked this up at a sale, loved it, and now must find The Hook and The Sinker to make the sandwich complete! I usually avoid series books, but this one makes the search for it's predecsssor and sequel worth it. Great writing (where have I been all his career?) and clever amusing sentences when you least expect them. Set in the Cold War, and comparable to other writers who spotlight that era, such as Ludlum and LaCarre, in my view.
Brad Lyerla
Jul 20, 2016 Brad Lyerla rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this installment of the Bernard Samson series very much.
May 09, 2017 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, fiction, read_2017
Overall I enjoyed the plot, but unlike previous Samson novels, this one lacked the sense of place that Deighton handled well, especially in the first trilogy. More time was wasted on overly drawn out exchanges between the characters, time that would've been better spent describing Salzburg and Vienna, or delving further into some of the Berlin neighborhoods new to this series. I have yet to read Spy Sinker but I wonder if the story in Spy Line had been told in a tighter format, would the two boo ...more
Simon Mcleish
Feb 19, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in October 2004.

The start of this novel, second in the Hook, Line and Sinker trilogy, marks the lowest point of the career of British spy Bernard Samson, at least during the period documented by Deighton. The first scene is set in a seedy nightclub, from which Bernard goes to the squat where he is living in one of the most sordid areas of Berlin, a derelict housing estate up against the Wall. Here he is hiding from his employers, who have a warrant out for hi
May 19, 2009 rabbitprincess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Deighton fans
Shelves: borrowed, 2011
Every time I read an installment in the Bernard Samson series I think, "Okay, THIS one is my favourite, I swear." Deighton's "Samson Saga" is made up of consistently good thrillers with an excellent narrator and lashings of Deighton's famously detailed descriptions, and Spy Line is no exception. In this installment we find Bernard living in a squalid corner of Berlin, on the run from London Central, considered a traitor for reasons that may have been provided in the previous installment, Spy Hoo ...more
Aug 26, 2016 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Spy Line more enjoyable than its predecessor, though (at least from the perspective of two books in), the Hook, Line, and Sinker books don't work as well as standalone novels as the ones from the preceding Game, Set, and Match trilogy. As other reviewers have pointed out, the last installment was basically a lot of set-up without much payoff. While there was definitely more payoff here, Hook and Line together read like a really great spy thriller that was padded-out to make multiple inst ...more
The Berllin Wall plays a big part in this book, almost like an 'off camera' monster that's threatening to rear its ugly head at any moment. It was published in 1989, not too long before it came down, pretty much changing the focus of spy novels like this. So many spy novels are very topical, they seem so out of date now, but Deighton's have managed to stay relevant. Maybe this is because he focuses so much more on character rather than strictly on plot. Plenty of oddballs populate this story, wi ...more
Feb 11, 2016 Jak60 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book in the long Samson saga (the second of the second trilogy) and a clear step up vs. the previous Spy Hook.
You can appreciate here an acceleration of the storytelling, of the drama, a few big things happen with some interesting twists and turns.
But the author also takes you through a pretty evocative and decadent atmosphere of a critical historical moment, the moment when the old world (the cold war one) is ending leaving space to the dawn of the new era; as usual in thes
John Defrog
Mar 04, 2014 John Defrog rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second book in the second Bernard Samson trilogy, in which Samson manages to get out of the trouble he got into in Spy Hook, and is sent to Vienna to pick up a package from a stamp auction. As usual, what is supposed to be a straightforward assignment turns out to be far more complicated – in this case, to the point of taking one of the central points of the series storyline and turning it completely on its head. This installment really delivers the goods as a spy yarn, to include some genui ...more
Victor Gibson
Apr 15, 2012 Victor Gibson rated it really liked it
Spy Line is the fifth of the nine book set featuring Bernard Samson. Various loose ends which hung prominently in view in Spy Hook were tied up in a most dramatic manner in this book.

Bernard proves again that he is the coolest man on the planet, and despite the fact that he says he is afraid at times, we don't really believe it. This book reveals some of the Le Carre like twists and turns of the plot, and London Central proves to be even more Machiavellian in its thinking than either Bernard or
Gareth Evans
Sep 09, 2011 Gareth Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been working my way through the Bernard Samson nonology. Whilst Deighton claims the books cam be read stand alone, I expect that a lot of the pleasure is lost - the books rely so much on what has gone before. Having passed the half way point in the series, I already feel some regret that the series is not longer. Although I wil be surprised if the tensions and humour of the penultimate chapter of this book will be surpassed in what is to come.
Jul 09, 2015 Mira rated it it was ok
Shelves: spy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2012 Jim rated it it was ok
Shelves: espionage, my-book
I only finished this book because I started it and needed another notch on my goal list. I seriously had to look at the cover each time I picked it up, because I couldn't remember the name. It wasn't action packed, more like a Le Carre book, but without the depth of character or the feel of intense, underlying danger. It was't bad, but wasn't good either.
Mary Warnement
This draws you in. I can't say much without giving away the ending. Does it seem plausible? Am I a little disappointed? This has led me to start reading Deighton's Winter, rather than the next in the series. Deighton refers frequently in it to events described in Winter, so even though that book is a huge brick, even in paperback, I feel it should be next.
Oct 18, 2013 kagami rated it liked it
Shelves: uk, spy
I would have given it 4 stars if I liked Bernard Samson but I get annoyed with him because he doesn't stand up for himself. Other than that, I really like this book, as well as the previous four. I think they are very well written. I love the subtle humour and the realism, and I want to know what happens next.
Feb 08, 2016 JoAnn rated it it was ok
It was OK, typical espionage. Who did what to whom and why? Who knew about it? Which country is spying on whom, what information did they get, can they use it against another country? Who is friend, who is foe and for how long? If you like this genre, this book is for you.
Jan 24, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
A novel that contains its own plot, but is really a transitory piece of the second Bernard Samson trilogy. Entertaining, but it felt more like prologue to the conclusion, if it had some serious plot points with history stretching back to his Mexico Set novel.
Jul 22, 2011 Charles rated it really liked it
2nd in a series of 3. typical english novel, moves slow but good characters.
Teri Cooper
Jan 13, 2012 Teri Cooper rated it liked it
Deighton's Hook Line & Sinker trilogy wasn't quite as good as his Game Set & Match trilogy, however its well worthy of 3 stars nonetheless.
Tove Soderberg
Mar 10, 2015 Tove Soderberg rated it really liked it
Nick Benson
Oct 25, 2013 Nick Benson rated it really liked it
Good writer and good series
Feb 27, 2016 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good solid three, though somewhat listless and dull more than need be..............
Oct 04, 2011 Christine rated it liked it
Despite being rather dated, excellent.
Sep 09, 2009 Jeff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A good book to read when you are trying to ignore a toothache.
Tatty writing in all the ways that doesn't matter ...
A Dei
Apr 12, 2016 Debby rated it really liked it

I can't be objective about the B Sampson books as my Dad introduced me to them and my husband grew up in divided Berlin.
I love them ! Can't wait to read Sinker and hear Fiona's story.
David Wen
Jul 07, 2014 David Wen rated it liked it
Good spy novel and quick read. Would probably enjoyed more if I read the entire series but enjoyable nevertheless.
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 3 10 Aug 08, 2014 07:12AM  
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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
More about Len Deighton...

Other Books in the Series

Bernard Samson (9 books)
  • Berlin Game (Bernard Samson, #1)
  • Mexico Set (Bernard Samson, #2)
  • London Match (Bernard Samson, #3)
  • Spy Hook (Bernard Samson, #4)
  • Spy Sinker (Bernard Samson, #6)
  • Faith (Bernard Samson, #7)
  • Hope (Bernard Samson, #8)
  • Charity (Bernard Samson, #9)

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