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Stettin Station (John Russell #3)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  1,309 ratings  ·  85 reviews
In the fall of 1941, Anglo-American journalist John Russell is still living in Berlin, tied to the increasingly alien city by his love for two Berliners: his fourteen-year-old son, Paul, and his longtime girlfriend, Effi. Forced to work for both German and American Intelligence, he's searching for a way out of Germany. Can he escape and take Effi with him?
Paperback, 320 pages
Published 2009 by Old Street
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I must say I have enjoyed this series (which I recommend reading in order) so far. This is the third and continues an examination of Germany during World War II as seen through the eyes of Russell, an American journalist, who is tied to Germany by his girlfriend, Effie, and his German-born son.

You get a real sense of the claustrophobia people must felt as they became hemmed in by bombing and the repressiveness of the regime, constantly having to watch what you say, who you say it to, and who mi
For those looking for a detailed and evocative description of wartime Berlin, it would be hard to find a better way of getting insight into this time and period.

For those looking for a tight and taut plot that propells the narrative from beginning to end....not so much.

Given how carefully Downing catalogued every breakfast, lunch, dinner, break for tea, stop for cocktails, trip to a coffee shop and more it is not surprising that copious detail and attention are given the quality (poor) of the
This is the 3rd installment of John Russell's ongoing struggles. In this story he finds himself in an increasingly complicated situation. "In reality he had done nothing to help Nazi Germany and several things to impede it, but the number of people who could actually testify to that fact were decidedly thin on the ground. If all of them dropped dead before the war's end he would have some difficult explaining to do."

The story begins in the fall of 1941 when the Nazis are apparently about to take
Rob Kitchin
Stettin Station is the third book in the John Russell and Effi Koenen series. The strengths of the tale are the characterisation, sense of atmosphere and place, and the historicisation. Russell and Koenen are well realised and rounded characters and they are accompanied by a broad spectrum of nicely penned others, including journalists, administrators, various forms of police, family, friends and other citizens. Downing manages to nicely blend the everyday realities and complexities of living in ...more
“Stettin Station” continues the story of John Russell, a British/American journalist living in Berlin during WWII. While the last three books focused more on espionage and Russell’s involvement with the Nazi’s, the Americans, and the Russians, this book focuses more on the personal life of Russell and the events and decisions he has to make in order to survive. Once again David Downing’s writing is excellent and he is able to create such incredible tension and anxiety about this period in histor ...more
Robert Ronsson
It's number three and David Downing is into his stride. I gave three stars to the other two in the series and this one merits a four. We aren't subjected to as much regurgitated research as the earlier John Russell books and the number of meals we sit at table with John Russell for has diminished somewhat. Consequently, we have a tighter read with the tension ratcheting up as we approach the denouement. I'm a sucker for any tale that involves the adoption of false identities and I invested more ...more
Jim Angstadt
This is John Russell #3; I've read numbers 1, 2, and 5.
This one is set in Berlin just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941.

Russell is up to his usual tricks. He is trying to play the gap between spy factions that include the US, various factions within the Reich, and the underground resistance. His interaction with Effi, and his love for her, come through more strongly than previously.

In other notes, I've described this series as atmospheric. That continues here. Another s
Sonya L Moore
I just finished this, the third, in the series and am really enjoying them. They are quick, easy reads and are well written. What I like most is that they are set in Germany during WWII and give me the citizen's view of the war.
From Publishers Weekly
"Fans of the intelligent WWII thrillers of Alan Furst and Philip Kerr should enjoy Downing's atmospheric and tension-filled third novel featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell (after Silesian Station). By November 1941, Russell has decided
Downing continues this fascinating series. His writing about Berlin prior to WWII and its aftermath is heartbreaking, but he puts just enough romance and humor into the story to make it readable, even through the dark settings.
Tom Hughes
Very atmospheric! and a genuine nail-biter. He tries too hard to share his knowledge of Berlin underground, tram and rail lines -- there's some unnecessary "he took the U-bahn and changed to the S-bahn" descriptions -- but since the whole series hinges on Berlin's train stations (Zoo StationZoo Station, Silesian, Station...), maybe this is just part of his offering.

If you like Alan FurstAlan Furst's books, the "Station" series is a close comparison.
In late 1941, Downing's hero, American journalist John Russell, lives a precarious existence in Berlin just before the US enters the war. He's involved with Communists, Jews, his German actress girlfriend, and even some Nazi officials. While cut off from real news about the war, he's slowly discovering Western companies' active trading with the Germans, as well as the truth about transfers of Jews to cities further East.
Downing handles all these tangled affairs very well, and continually shows u
This is number three in the John Russell series set against the backdrop of wartime Berlin. Two years have passed since the last book and life in Berlin has become more perilous than ever, especially for Russell whose Resistance activities have involved him with German, American and Soviet authorities. By far the most suspenseful of these books to date, this one has some hairbreadth escapes and lots of thrills. I look forward to the next installment.
By the way these novels MUST be read in order
James Kemp
In the third of the series the focus widens to also include Effi Koenen, John Russell's film star girlfriend. She's been there in the first two as a strong supporting character, but she really comes into her own in this one.

This story starts in the Autumn of 1941 leading up to the entry of the Americans into the war. Having been largely left alone for a couple of years following the outbreak of the war by the Germans and the Soviets Russell has been working as a foreign correspondent for some A
It must be hard to write any kind of book, fiction or non fiction, set in or around Germany during the Second World War and not at some point come up against the situation of whether 'they’ knew about what was happening to the Jewish population. The ‘hero’ of David Downing’s wonderful ‘Station’ series (you really don’t have to read on any further now, do you? You can guess this is going to be (another) good review, eh?), John Russell has, as in the previous two books, both become aware of someth ...more
==A WW2 British-American journalist/spy thriller set in Berlin==
This is the third book in Downing’s wartime thrillers about British journalist/spy John Russell. I would recommend reading the first two books before this one since what happened before has a large bearing on what happens in the last quarter of this one. Having read first two, Zoo Station and Silesian Station, I was disappointed by the lack of intensity in the first half of Stettin Station but the last half more than makes up for la
Somehow this book did not quite convince me. In particular, did the Germans really lay narrow gauge railway all the way to Moscow? What are his sources? Maybe I just have reservations about using Hitler's Germany as a backdrop for a thriller. For me there are too many difficult issues connected with Hitler's Germany which deserve better treatment in literature than just to be 'scenery' for a thriller.

And then I went on to read books by Joseph Kanon, which just seemed far more thoughtful.
Helen Hutt
Another entry in this fantastic series. Great evocation of wartime Berlin with the viewpoints of different communities within the city as the Wehrmacht is trying to reach Moscow, and American diplomats are preparing for war to be declared. Most sadly it also describes the plight of those Jewish Berliners who remain in the city. The plot is really effective again at bringing in the experiences of those in the outer Reich, as characters talk about a "unified Europe", unfortunately unified under Na ...more
This book is a good addition to Downing's John Russell series. It has plenty of suspense to tempt a reader to keep turning pages well beyond midnight. The one sustained impression it leaves with me is the awful realization that events like these actually destroyed countless real lives. Yes, it seems the books' main characters survive, but many of the minor characters died like their real life counterparts. The narrative is fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time.
I debated giving this 5 stars not 4; it's an excellent book which describes some of the horrors of wartime Germany, including the personal horrors of individuals. The characters are very human - I won't give anything away but their guilt, sadness and anger at what happens is heartbreaking in places.
I didn't give the book the full 5 stars because the Kindle version I read was fairly badly edited, which spoilt the flow of the story. I was also a bit unsure of the way the narrative jumps between E
Ross Mckinney
This was a delightful read. To stereotype it: a well written WWII novel, written about a Brit posing as an American living in Berlin in the the Fall of 1941, just before Pearl Harbor. Lots of intrigue, lots of anxiety provoking moments, good characters who don't always do what you expect - in short, top level fluff. The history is fascinating, the story better than most, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I plan to read more of the series. Highly recommended if you enjoy the genre.
Phyllis Gauker
This was my second David Downing novel in the WWII genre and it was just as exciting as had been the first, Zoo Station. I look forward to reading more of them. Maybe it's because I have also been an expatriot, but they really ring true to me. My experience was not in Germany, and certainly not during a war. I'm too young to remember all the deprivations of WWII, but do remember a little. My parents always stressed how lucky we were to be safe in the US with almost no threat of war on our soil. ...more
I liked this third book much better than the second in this series, all named for different U-Bahn stops in the Berlin transit system. It is 1941, and wartime rationing and bombings by the British are taking their toll on daily life and the spirit of the citizens of this major German city. How long will John Russell be able to play off against each other the various governments and agencies that employ him? As the Germans continue to advance against Moscow, rumors escalate about the likelihood o ...more
Mary Warnement
Given how long I took to read this, one would guess it wasn't a quick read or that I didn't like it. But there were the holidays and I travelled. Like his other books in the series, this one ends leaving one wanting to start the next immediately. I won't spoil anyone's pleasure and give away anything. I'm glad I'm not reading as these were published; I need not wait. I'll probably check the next one out of the library but wait a little. I have others on deck. I'm reading Larson's non-fiction abo ...more
Gareth Evans
This the 3rd book in the 'station' series by David Downing. To my mind it's the best of the series so far. Like the other novels, there is much travelling around Betlin and further afield by public transport, some of the travel without a great deal of purpose. Nevertheless, it builds nicely - if not using all the elements - to a tense thriller. The setting of late 1941 gives the book some novelty, Berlin during the war is a much less frequently used as a location than in the immediate per-war. T ...more
Roseann Connolly
Good book - a bit gloomy but certainly evokes the claustrophobic - meanancing nazi period. I found the characters a little hard to credit but the atmosphere and especially the place street names, descriptions, stations and by the way characters were convincing. Recommended.
The 3rd in the series of a British journalist in Berlin during the Nazi era. The first two volumes were during the run-up to the war. This one happens in 1941 and shows life in Berlin during the early stages of the Russian campaign. Needless to say he becomes involved in many forms of resistance to the regime. I have enjoyed this series and plan to do the remaining three after a small interval
Angel Serrano
En el momento de máxima expansión del Tercer Reich y con las tropas alemanas cercando Moscú, el ataque japonés en Pearl Harbour y el general invierno están a punto de cambiar las tornas. John Russell sobrevive como periodista extranjero en un Berlín gris y maloliente.
Myo Denis
Another in Downing's "Stations"-series of WWII espionage novels. The low-key hero, John Russell, is more of a Le Carré spy, i.e. a journalist who is a spy due to circumstances mostly beyond his control. There is only sporadic violence, something which I appreciate more as I get older.
Ksb Nh
This book in Downing's series, like the two before it, appear to be a very realistic view of WW II Berlin and nearby countries. They are quite well written and compelling. After finishing this, I immediately read the next, Potsdam Station.
A decent entry in the "Station" series, but much of it is largely indistinguishable from what's been offered in previous outings. In addition, there is very little in the way of significant plot development beyond slowly moving the protagonist and his long-time girlfriend toward the next big change in their lives, which occurs rather abruptly near the end of the book. Characterizations are good, however, and Downing does his usual good job with setting scenes and evoking war-torn Berlin, but for ...more
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David Downing is the author of a political thriller, two alternative histories and a number of books on military and political history and other subjects as diverse as Neil Young and Russian Football.
More about David Downing...

Other Books in the Series

John Russell (6 books)
  • Zoo Station (John Russell, #1)
  • Silesian Station (John Russell, #2)
  • Potsdam Station (John Russell, #4)
  • Lehrter Station (John Russell, #5)
  • Masaryk Station (John Russell, #6)

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