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Our Friends in Berlin

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  733 ratings  ·  90 reviews
London, 1941. The city is in blackout and an enemy is hiding in plain sight.

Amy Strallen’s life is a world away from the machinations of Nazi sympathizers but she could be the only one who can help uncover the most dangerous Nazi agent in the country.

Jack Hoste has become entangled in a national treachery and he needs Amy’s help.

When he pays a visit to Amy’s office, they
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 4th 2019 by Vintage (first published July 12th 2018)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  733 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I loved Anthony Quinn's 'Curtain Call’ so when I saw ‘Our Friends in Berlin’ up for grabs I took no persuading!

It's 1941 and London is suffering from the German bombardment that became known as The Blitz. Amid the bombed out buildings and the blackout, there lurks even more danger in the form of Nazi sympathisers, collecting intel that will aid Hitler's war machine.

Jack Hoste, (former bank clerk) is tasked with the job of discovering the most dangerous of these agents, and naturally this puts hi
This is a wonderful historical espionage thriller set in WW2 in London. London is experiencing blackouts and suffering under the heavy bombing that is taking its toll on the people and buildings. Jack Hoste (not his real name) is working undercover for the security services as a Gestapo agent supposedly for our friends in Berlin. He has collected a group of individuals, all Nazi sympathisers, who provide intelligence to Jack under the assumption they are aiding the German war effort. Jack is try ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an engaging WW-II spy novel which I read in a few days because its story is fast and exciting and I could not put it down. However, the protagonists are not very interesting individuals which is strange in view of their activities. Dull conversations, much too polite and proper and without any wit whatsoever! Often actions were taken that did not make sense. The story seems to be based on the undercover activities of the same MI5 group chasing British nazi provocateurs as in Kate Atkinso ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed previous novels by Anthony Quinn and was delighted to receive his latest for review, which begins in London, during the Blitz. It is 1941 and Jack Hoste is working undercover, doing his utmost to discover Nazi spies and sympathisers. In particular, he is searching for Marita Pardoe, a friend of Amy Strallen; who works at the, ‘Mayfair Marriage Bureau.’ Desperate to uncover Pardoe’s whereabouts, Hoste makes contact with Amy, in the hopes she will lead him to her.

This is an excellen
I am a big fan of espionage thrillers esp those of the relatively bygone eras. There's something endearing? charming ? to read about the times of warfare, in fiction ie., when there was lack of cutting edge technology (as compared to recent times). (As an esrtwhile student of history i've always shied away from the academic history of warfare, I find it too dry and dull).

Based on a true incident during the second world war (that I am not aware of and need to check), Our friends in Berlin is a g
Roman Clodia
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By coincidence, this is the second novel I've read in a few weeks which has been interested in Nazi sympathisers and the British Union of Fascists during WW2. In places this feels a bit like The Heat Of The Day, but a less literary version and one which tries to pull off a couple of twists.

Jack Hoste and Amy are attractive protagonists, though there are places where we have to accept MI5 being extremely open with the information they share with a civilian. There's also a lessening of tension du
Jill Meyer
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
British novelist Anthony Quinn is the author of the several mysteries, including a marvelous series, "Freya" and "Curtain Call" (which now has a third book in the series, "Eureka"). He's widely published in the UK and Europe and has lately been published here in the US. His new book, "Our Friends in Berlin" is a stand-alone mystery set in WW2 London and is quite good.

The book begins in 1941 London during the Blitz. There's a part set in 1935 and one set in 1948, but basically the main part of th
Maine Colonial
The real-life inspiration for this novel is wartime MI5 agent Eric Roberts. Roberts was born to a middle class Cornwall family and started his adult life as a bank clerk. He was recruited as an MI5 field agent in the 1920s, where his job was to infiltrate fringe groups; first communists and then fascists.

From early on in World War II, it was feared that Germany would invade Britain, assisted by so-called “fifth columnists,” British citizens and residents who were Nazi sympathizers and wanted to
Thoroughly enjoyed this - involving tale of spies, love, menace and courage during the Blitz and its aftermath. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights. 4-4.5 stars.
Maria Inês
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wars
(Em Português⬇️)
🌹Our friends in Berlin🌹
This reading was a very pleasant and enjoyable experience. I wanted to read about London in the 1940s and about the Blitz for some time and this was such a good book regarding that. I love the fact that I remembered the streets and underground stops of central London very well, because I was there recently and I remember these moments with great affection.
Anthony Quinn's writing is very subtle and simple, but very atmospheric! I managed to be completel
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well-written with a strong atmosphere and sense of place and historical accuracy. The story idea is an intriguing one. The dialogue is good and rings true for the 1940's - or what we appreciate to be authentic from that time - but...
unfortunately, the story never took off for me and neither did the characters who I found unconvincing and not intriguing - at times they seemed almost stereotypical then opaque.

It's a slow-moving slice of life in WW2 amongst spies that owes quite a bit to the atmosp
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
While London is suffering under the Blitz in 1941, Jack Hoste is working undercover trying to track down a dangerous Nazi agent. His search leads him to the office of Amy Strallen, a professional matchmaker about to become embroiled in dangerous spy games with potentially deadly consequences.

Compelling and atmospheric wartime spy thriller.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like thank Random House for a copy of Our Friends in Berlin. This is the first book from Anthony Quinn I have read.
It’s WW11 London, London is bombarded with German air raids. Jack Hoste is one on several MI5 agents gathering information to aid Hitler’s war machine but he is also on a mission to find the most dangerous of Nazi Agents Marita. While he does this he meets Amy, who is a long-time friend on Marita. She owns a Mayfair Marriage agency. Amy leads a different life but, when she m
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
During WW2, Jack Hoste is based in London where he runs a circle of German sympathisers who provide him with intelligence that he can pass onto Berlin. He crosses paths with Amy Strallen, a wonderful character who runs a matchmaking agency. It seems that romance might blossom between them, but then she discovers his secret stash of German war medals.

There are a lot of twists in this story. No one - not even Amy, the most straightforward - is quite who you think they are and it certainly doesn't
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that the scenes describing the Blitz in 1940 were exceptional, very well written and evoking a real sense of the arbitrary and terrifying nature of aerial bombardment. The smell, the choking brick dust from collapsing buildings, the intense heat, flying shrapnel and glass shards, all of these elements were well described giving an intense sense of place to this reader. The plot is similar to Kate Atkinson's ‘ Transcriptions' which was also a 3-star read for me.
However, the real proble
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love Anthony Quinn's novels, and this new one was a bit different but still as good as his loose trilogy of Curtain Call, Freya and Eureka. It's set among spies in London during WWII, and combines a gripping espionage thriller with a love story. Jack is a spymaster and is looking for a woman called Marita who he wants to recruit to his circle of Nazi sympathisers. His search leads him to Amy, a young woman who was once friends with Marita, and now works at a marriage agency. They are im ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing blend of spy thriller and love story, set in London during World War II. It also mixes historical fact with fiction. The story begins with one of the main characters, Jack Hoste, trying to recruit a Nazi sympathiser to his group of "5th Columnists" (British subjects trying to engineer a Nazi victory in their own country).
But Hoste is not what he seems. He is really working for “the Section”, part of Britain's intelligence service, aiming to prevent any of these traitors from carry
Andrew Taylor
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it
A good combination for me, history and espionage. Interesting “feel” - sort of kitchen sink espionage in WW2.

Never really took off I thought and I guess in a way a lot of espionage is humdrum and unremarkable in spite of the high stakes - so maybe that is reasonable.

I couldn’t warm to the characters - maybe it was me - hence overall an average rating.
Mary Warnement
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Strangely enough, this novel is based on the same true story of double agent "Jack King" and his group of British Nazi fifth-columnists as Kate Atkinson's Transcription. I bet Quinn was gutted to discover that Atkinson was working on the same thing, but actually the two authors take the story in quite different directions, and neither sticks slavishly to the truth -- they just use it as inspiration. Of course having read Atkinson's book first meant there was no mystery to me about Jack Hoste's a ...more
Stephen Goldenberg
Yet another book about the hunt for Nazi sympathisers in Britain during the war. But this one is disappointing. The main character, Jack Hoste, is based on the real life character in Robert Hammond’s book ‘Agent Jack’. If you want to read a book on this subject, I’d suggest you read ‘Agent Jack’ or Kate Atkinson’s ‘Transcriptions ‘. Anthony Quinn’s novel is strangely flat and bloodless. The portrayal of London during the Blitz is somewhat formulaic and the main characters are not very interestin ...more
Jul 08, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Nov 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, fiction
Many thrillers have somewhat creaky writing for which they compensate with pulse shuddering plots. Our Friends in Berlin is very well written but the plots does creak. It starts off promisingly with a man meeting various wannabe German agents in a London pub during WW II. From their the story unfolds with a languid ambiguity to include fifth columnists, spies and marriage bureau employees it never entirely makes sense but it is well done and full of history. Enjoyed it throughout.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
A real gem of a book. Bought on a whim, so glad a did. Absolutely engrossed throughout!
Margaret Duke-Wyer
A spy novel that is deceptively simple. It is WWII and Jack who works for MI5 is tasked with rooting out sympathisers to Hitler’s cause under the guise of a Gestapo agent working as an Inland Revenue inspector. In an attempt to track down Marita he approaches a young woman who was once a friend and accompanied Marita to Germany to attended one of Hitler’s rallies. He meets Amy at her place of work, a marriage bureau.

Although this is not a tense spy novel, nor a James Bond novel, this certainly
David Lowther
Our Friends in Berlin was the first of Anthony Quinn's novels that didn't totally blow me away. That's not to say it was bad, far from it. It was entertaining and had all of Quinn's great strengths on display; interesting and very well-drawn characters, excellent location description and sense of time and place.

The big weakness was the plot, or lack of it. There simply wasn't enough story to grip for very long. I suspect that the author knew this and this is why a fairly meaningless flashback w
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yes, it is a good concept and uncovers, for me anyway, an aspect of the early and middle days of World War II, until the Allied landings in Normandy, that I hadn't really thought a whole lot about. The danger from home-based, home-bred, English/British Nazi sympathisers. And not those in the Aristocracy either. I guess it could be allowed for that there were people, as now, who thought Hitler was on the right track, but to go so far as gather intelligence and attempt to ship that intelligence ba ...more
Sandra Danby
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Our Friends in Berlin’ by Anthony Quinn tells a story of London in World War Two seldom told. It is a spy novel but not a thriller. It focuses on the individuals concerned and has a deceptive pace which means the threats, when they come, are more startling. Jack Hoste is not who he seems to be. He is not a tax inspector; he is not looking for a wife. He is a special agent who tracks down Nazi spies. And at night he is an ARP warden.
The juxtaposition of Hoste’s life of secrets is set nicely agai
Rob Kitchin
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
London, 1941. The city is being blitzed nightly, Germany is still in the ascendancy, and some in Britain would like to see them win, or sue for peace. Working for British intelligence, Jack Hoste poses as a Gestapo agent, pulling German sympathizers into his web. Marita Pardoe, wife of an interned fascist politician, and considered the most dangerous agent in Britain remains hidden, however. He turns to Amy Strallen, a friend of Marita’s from before the war to try and make contact. Strallen is c ...more
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