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Istanbul Passage
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August 2018: Espionage > Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon - 4 stars

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message 1: by Theresa (last edited Aug 13, 2018 09:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Theresa | 6322 comments Istanbul Passage has atmospheric, clever plotting with quite a few surprises up to the very end. Thoroughly enjoyed this classic spy thriller set in a favorite city of mine, Istanbul. Such a perfect locale for spies to operate just after WWII, laying the blueprint for espionage in the Cold War. I recognized the streets and sites of Istanbul, which is timeless in so many ways. LOVED that so many important scenes happened in the Pera Palace, infamous for WWII espionage and as the place Agatha Christie was staying when she wrote Murder on the Orient Express !

Many likeable characters, particularly the hero, Leon. Some central casting villains and others but most more complex than that - not all good not all evil. Several clever red herrings too.

If I have one complaint, it is that often the dialogue is too unnatural, too many fits and starts - it would be difficult to read out loud with ease, thus making it too stilted to be realistic. But it does add to the atmsophere.

Joseph Kanon sets most of his espionage in this fascinating time just after WWII and before the Cold War. It is also a time generally ignored in favor of the earlier and later periods, when good vs. evil was perhaps more clear cut.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Great review! I actually have this on my TBR and it sounds like a great read. I haven't been to Istanbul since I was a child but I long to go back to visit. In my memory it was a beautiful place.


Theresa | 6322 comments Rachel wrote: "Great review! I actually have this on my TBR and it sounds like a great read. I haven't been to Istanbul since I was a child but I long to go back to visit. In my memory it was a beautiful place."

I had it in my TBR for a while, now plan to read more by this author.
Will be interested to hear if you recognize Istanbul.


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) | 569 comments Tantalizing review. I've loved a couple others by Kanon, the best Los Alamos. Since I've been on a Turkish quest in my reading I should have read this Kanon instead of another espionage thriller focused on Istanbul, The Star of Istanbul .
It was terrible, despite the author Olen being a prize winner. I went to Istanbul and Ephesus when a teen, which blew my mind how many civilizations dwelled there. A top read for me last year was a wonderful history: Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities.


Theresa | 6322 comments Michael wrote: "Tantalizing review. I've loved a couple others by Kanon, the best Los Alamos. Since I've been on a Turkish quest in my reading I should have read this Kanon instead of another espiona..."

Have you read any Eric Ambler? Classic espionage and at least Coffin for Demetrius has scenes in Turkey. One of the reasons I hung out at the bar of the Pera Palace Hotel!

A book sitting in my TBR is Last Train to Istanbul - which might interest you.

And if you have not read any Orhan Pamuk, you should give his fiction a try.

Turkey was truly a crossroads! I experienced some really timeless moments in Ephesus...and even more in Aphrodesius [inland site] which is near Pammukale [famed for hotsprings]. It helped that I was there in late November, and I was practically the only tourist for miles.


message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) | 569 comments That Ambler I am about 50 pages in, and quite charming so far. Pamuk I have been collecting and will focus on The Black Book. "Snow" was a DNF a long time ago, so I had been staying away. My Name is Red is another target. Thanks for the tips!


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