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Spy Line

(Bernard Samson #5)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,096 ratings  ·  54 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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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
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4.02  · 
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 ·  2,096 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, spy, britain
Len Deighton's Spy Line is another novel in the Bernard Samson series about a British spy whose wife has defected to the Soviets and is operating for the KGB out of Berlin. The thing about a good spy novel is that one is never quite sure what has happened. On one hand, there is the literal truth. On the other hand, there is what the spy masters want to make of it in their reports to their superiors. We never really learn either the one or the other, especially when there are so many sides.

For ex
Scott Holstad
Jun 28, 2015 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
Woody Chandler
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like both Deighton's writing style & his Bernard Samson character is sort of an everyman spy. I felt sorry for Bernd, as he is known in pre-Wall Fall Berlin, at so many turns. He is still deeply in love with his wife, Fiona, who has thrown him over in the most hurtful way imaginable. He is trying to reconcile his feelings for his new lover, Gloria, a Hungarian woman approximately half his age. He has his & Fiona's children to care for. His upper hierarchy continues to treat & ...more
Jan 25, 2017 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 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 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.
Alex Gherzo
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Len Deighton's Spy Line is the payoff to Spy Hook, a fun and exciting spy thriller that puts Bernard Samson on the front lines and under fire as he seeks the truth about his wife's deception. One lingering plot point from Spy Hook is brushed aside too quickly, but the rest of the book is good enough to make up for that cop-out.

Bernard Samson is hiding out in Berlin now that British Intelligence has put out a warrant for him. Soon, he finds himself traveling to Vienna, competing with the CIA and
Brad Lyerla
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this installment of the Bernard Samson series very much.
Jack Hrkach
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you read this after Spy Hook (which you should, even if the author calls each novel "stand-alone" the suspense builds and late in the novel occurs one of the ugliest confrontations/shoot-outs I've read in Deighton's books.

The story is far too complicated to relate here, and even if I tried there would inevitably be spoilers in it that I assure you you would not want to know before you started your reading. The main characters, beginning of course with Bernard Samson, followed closely by Wern
Michael Martz
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
'Spy Line', the middle entry in Len Deighton's 'Hook, Line, and Sinker' trilogy set back in the Cold War, is yet another expertly plotted, thoroughly confusing, and truly enjoyable description of the escapades of Bernd Samson, the German-raised English spy.

In this installment, Samson, who is seemingly either hated or distrusted by almost all other members of his profession on both sides of 'the wall' (as well as across the Atlantic), is on the run in Berlin after his own employers put out an ar
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book in the series seems to start off a little sluggishly but very soon picks up fast actio. And then there is only action and drama. In the mysteriousfworld of spies, any scenario with bizarre twists and turns are possible and the author fully exploits this aspect. The end is left a little bit hanging again. What is the bigger picture? Or so to say the biggest picture unknown to the chief actors? Many of the characters forming part of these series materialise at different times at totally ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, audio, 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
Richard Schwindt
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bernie Samson has gone to ground in Berlin following the events in Spy Hook but he is on to something big and it concerns his wife, Fiona. There are powerful forces on both sides of the Berlin wall who want him silenced. This is one of the better entries in a terrific series with the requisite shocks and revelations. One of the most incredible aspect of these books is Deighton's ability to keep them human and plausible, no matter what twist and turns he throws our way. This book shows Bernie at ...more
Gary Letham
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bernard is on the run. He has unwittingly come very close to blowing one of SIS's most audacious long term undercover operations and London Central need to silence him. Frank as head of Berlin Station undertakes to bring Bernard in and he is finally let in on the long con. A trip to Czechoslovakia via Salzburg & Vienna and finally a deadly trip behind the wall will change everything for Bernard forever
Bill Gonzalez
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The second book of the trilogy (Spy Hook, Spy Line and Spy Sinker). It introduces a number of interesting unexpected turns that will keep the reader interested till the very end!!. Now ready to start Spy Sinker
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another slow burner by Deighton that just reaches the 4 star threshold. This book is to the Bernard Samson series as Half Blood Prince is to Harry Potter. That is it starts to bring the various threads together for the finale.
Peter Learn
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Hope this marks the end if creepy Gloria. Children are problematic. Bernard spends maybe 1 day a month with them? Meanwhile 12 year old girlfriend apparently takes csre of them? Also questionable why Bernie is such a toady to Dicky.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great read and atmospheric
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ever feel that you are being manipulated?
Nov 26, 2017 added it
Wow, 120 pages in and he's tried to buy a stamp. No thanks. Bye.
Simon Mcleish
Feb 19, 2013 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Deighton fans
Shelves: 2011, borrowed
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 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 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 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 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
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gareth Evans
Sep 09, 2011 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.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: my-book, espionage
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.
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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

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)
“Neither was this the ordinary world of supply and demand; it was a world of abundance.” 2 likes
“So it wasn’t tourists or encyclopaedia salesmen he was worried about.” 0 likes
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