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The Care of Time

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  138 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
The warning message arrived on Monday, the bomb itself on Wednesday. It became a very busy week...
Published June 1st 1981 by Farrar Straus Giroux
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Anfri Bogart
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ambler
Questa tarda (1981) opera di Eric Ambler non è stata una lettura coinvolgente. A mio parere la trama è inutilmente complicata, i personaggi sono poco verosimili. Ambler ha sempre avuto la tendenza ad infarcire i suoi romanzi con approfondimenti e elucubrazioni sui temi più disparati, ma qui ho l'impressione che vengano tirati in ballo argomenti molto complessi (e sviluppabili) per poi essere abbandonati senza esito alcuno. Curiosamente una parte dell'ambientazione si svolge a Milano e dintorni, ...more
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
I picked up The Care of Time because I had read a strong piece by Eric Ambler in an anthology edited by Alan Furst called The Book of Spies.

The Care of Time, however, isn't strong. It's slapdash with a lot of undeveloped characters and motivations careening into one another. The prose is professional and crisp, but it's full of cliches. The settings (from Bucks County, Pa., through Milan, Italy, into Austria) are underexploited. Much of the plot is presented in the form of explanatory dialogue.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Ambler's late in the day thriller pitches an American ghostwriter into regime change and middle-east intrigue through the rather novel device of a simple television interview. Of course, the interview is heavily rigged as it is conducted deep within an Austrian mine-shaft, which an Arab prince proposes to turn into a nuclear shelter. The latter part of the book consists of the Prince's desperate attempts to retrieve the tapes. Ghostwriter Halliday understands his NATO brief from the start, even ...more
May 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Later Ambler, picked up at a book sale just to see what it was like. Didn't expect much, and wasn't disappointed. His protagonist is still a little clueless, but in this case winds up acting a bit too clever. I liked the old protagonists better. This book also suffers from the literate dialogue disease. Real people don't talk like this. Plus, there's too much talk and not enough action for my taste, and I completely lost track of whether all the plot turns really would have worked or not. Oh we ...more
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Robert Halliday is an ordinary writer-for-hire till one day he gets a letter telling him that a bomb will arrive by next post. The bomb is to serve as a credential, and Halliday’s correspondent closes by saying that he looks forward to working with him. Not long after, Halliday’s agent calls to let him know that he has a plum offer from an Italian publisher that wants him to collaborate on a book. What’s the subject? They didn’t say. Who’s he to collaborate with? They didn’t say. Like the bomb i ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
THE CARE OF TIME. (1981). Eric Ambler. ***.
This was Ambler’s last novel published before he passed away. It followed his usual plot device of an unsuspecting individual – in this case, Robert Halliday, a ghost writer – getting embroiled in a plot that turns out to be deeper than he thought. He was offered $50,000 to ghost write a recently discovered text on the principles of terrorism written by a historical figure. The money looks good, and his publisher seems behind it too. Then he discovers t
John Gribbin
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
The thing I learned from reading this book is that although Eric Ambler's early novels are entertaining and paved the way for people like Len Deighton, his later work, this being an example, is tired and doesn't stand up in such company. The Care of Time is sort of all right, but has long passages in which nothing much happens, a chief protagonist you don't really care about, and plot holes big enough to drive a bus through. It is almost true that once I put it down I could not pick it up again, ...more
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
What I find remarkable about Eric Ambler's writing is his ability to fuse the intrigue of a thriller with the conviction of a political manifesto. In his final spy novel, The Care of Time, originally published in 1981, he does so, however, with mixed results.

Editor Bob Halliday's new contract begins with a bang when he receives a bomb threat followed by an actual, albeit already defused, bomb from Karliss Zander, a known terrorist middleman seeking Halliday's assistance. With this bluff of viol
Feb 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Actually, I didn't read very far into this book. The nearly exclusive use of dialogue, boring dialogue at that, became annoying enough that I finally decided to give it up and move on to another book. I read "The Mask of Demetrios" (originally "The Coffin of Demetrios") about a year ago, and loved, loved it. Written in 1939, it relates to events dating from the early 1920s (Greco-Turkish War and the horrible events in Smyrna--now Izmir) through the narrator's/protagonist's present time of 1938, ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
ambler wrote thrillers for nearly five decades, and in doing so transformed the genre completely. his early thrillers were written in the backdrop of world war 2, while this one - his last - at tail end of the cold war. his mastery of geopolitics is very sound, as always. the beauty of the book is how much he accomplishes merely through clever dialogue and intricate plotting. he doesn't need explosions, cool gadgets or contrived action to keep the book interesting.

robert halliday, a professiona
Gerald Sinstadt
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
Eric Ambler's long career as a thriller writer shows no sign of failing grip. The central character of The Care of Time, Robert Halliday, a freelance ghost writer, ingeniously and plausibly is draws him into a plot with international ramifications. The action moves between the US, the Middle East and Austria, the characters are well drawn, the outcome hard to predict and the tension skilfully maintained.

The books begins:

"Th letter arrived on Monday.

"The bomb arrived on Wednesday.

"It was a busy w
Ajitabh Pandey
Another of those 80s book without the modern gadgets. I found it quite interesting when everything happens on the field and your life depends on your smart thinking. The author has provided a very detailed description of everything in this book and then there are lengthy pieces of dialogue between the characters. Because of that the book has grown to close to 278 pages. The actual plot and the story line is quite simple. If you do not like reading details and you do not have patience then this b ...more
Margaret1358 Joyce
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Without question, the smartest and smoothest of the several Ambler spy stories I've read, this book lifts the spy genre neatly into the realm of good literature. Its theme is the plight of the aging criminal, and Ambler easily evokes our empathy for his characters. The story,dripping with historical relevance - high level negotiations between NATO and international terrorists - is a tough, concentrated masterpiece.
Peggy Walker
This book was kind of a slow read for me. The plot is very dense and convoluted with a larger cast of characters than was really necessary. It is a very dated cold war/spy story involving the first hints of issues arising from the gulf. It also involves a journey to asylum for a retiring foreign "spook" for hire. in the end, it was a lot of work for not much payoff. And WAY too dated. They used Telex to communicate, for heaven sake. Pass it up.
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Two stars feels a bit harsh: this has its moments. But I was hoping for a sharp, stylish thriller. Instead, most of the book consists of long passages of mediocre dialogue conducted against the thinnest of atmosphere; it's much duller than it should be. The plot's fun though, and, at only 278 pages, it's a fast read. With more attention to style and more thought about things other than the plot, it could have been so much better.
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: popcorn-reading, 2013
The standard set-up for an Ambler thriller is the innocent abroad, a man who stumbles--through naivete or arrogance or overconfidence or happenstance--into international intrigue and danger with which he is utterly incapable of coping. The hero of this one is considerably less naive and more aware of what's happening, and he isn't as far out of his depth as the usual narrators, though his greater awareness doesn't completely protect him.
My late friend Rick left me his books, and I'm reading through all of his Eric Ambler. This book took me forever. I would read it between my regular library checkouts. It just didn't grab me, and yet it had all of the elements: a good story line, interesting characters, some facts in the fiction in terms of espionage and world problems. On to the next one.
Jan 20, 2009 rated it liked it
This is totally standard Eric Ambler--too much political jargon, etc.--but it's better than most. The protagonist is actually a little interesting.

I've been kind of down on Eric Ambler recently but this one was okay.
Mark McTague
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fleming may have been flashier, but for true suspense and intrigue, give me Ambler anytime.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
I didn't finish this.
Sarah Nichols
rated it liked it
Jan 17, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Nov 28, 2012
Andrew D
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May 27, 2014
rated it liked it
Oct 02, 2009
Gerri Balter
rated it did not like it
Jun 06, 2014
Nicolai Levin
rated it liked it
Aug 27, 2015
rated it it was ok
Dec 27, 2012
rated it liked it
Aug 04, 2013
rated it really liked it
Oct 15, 2015
Steve Pimentil
rated it it was ok
Apr 03, 2014
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Eric Ambler began his writing career in the early 1930s, and quickly established a reputation as a thriller writer of extraordinary depth and originality. He is often credited as the inventor of the modern political thriller and John Le Carre once described him as 'the source on which we all draw.'

Ambler began his working life at an engineering firm, then as a copywriter at an advertising agency,
More about Eric Ambler...