Espionage Aficionados discussion

Hot topics > What's on your *upcoming* TBR list?

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message 1: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Apr 29, 2015 12:13PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
Got a title from our group's genre looming up ahead on your 'to be read' slate? Action, adventure, espionage, intrigue, war, historical fiction, suspense? Let us know about it!

message 2: by Elaine (new)

Elaine (Shandorah) | 2 comments I think Wolf Hook Wolf Hook by Michael Wallace and Skeletons at the Feast Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian will be coming up for me.

message 3: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Apr 29, 2015 02:43PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
dang! that's a man-sized piece o' work ahead o' ye

Nicely formatted by the way.

message 4: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
Elaine, are both those titles espionage-related?

message 6: by Elaine (new)

Elaine (Shandorah) | 2 comments Feliks wrote: "Elaine, are both those titles espionage-related?"

Wolf Hook is about the son of a Gestapo bigwig who is in a theatre group with two British Secret Service agents who are trying to smuggle a Hungarian physicist out of Occupied Europe.

Skeletons at the Feast is about a diverse group of people trying to escape Europe during the waning months of WWII. Among them is an escaped prisoner from Auschwitz, the daughter of a Prussian aristocrat, and a Scottish prisoner-of-war. That's all I know about it. I've been wanting to read a book by Chris Bohjalian, the author.

I tend to like stories set in this time period which explore the relationships of ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary event.

message 8: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Apr 29, 2015 06:37PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod

Nicely done. You retracted your initial post and then re-posted with focus on just this genre.

Appreciate that, I do. More succinct for us to run our eyes over. You're clearly an avid reader.

message 9: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
Doubledf99---let me know how that Evelyn Waugh strikes you. I am a big fan of his black comedies; if you think its as good as 'Black Mischief' I hope you say so.

I'd love to bust out laughing as hard as I did with that one.

Of course, everyone knows how influential 'Scoop' is. But I want laughs first and foremost.

Nooilforpacifists (nooil4pacifists) | 20 comments James Carroll's "Secret Father" is next in the TBR queue.

message 11: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Apr 29, 2015 07:31PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
Hey! He wrote 'Firebird' I think. I enjoyed that. Safecracker protagonist. "I Was a Safecracker for the FBI!"

message 12: by Karl (new)

Karl Øen | 8 comments Bought, but not yet read:
Mick Herron: 'Slow Horses' and 'Dead Lions'
Charles Cumming: 'Typhoon' and 'The Spanish Game'
Olen Steinhauer: 'The Cairo Affair'
Robert Littell: 'The Company'
Bob Woodward: Veil

message 13: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments The Sympathizer
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Viet Thanh Nguyen

Picked this one up today..

message 14: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments Then We Take Berlin
Then We Take Berlin by John Lawton
John Lawton

Hope to get to this one one of these days.

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Never gave Daniel Silva much thought but have seen some nice reviews/comments and am looking for suggestions on what Silva novel to read first. Any thoughts or comments appreciated.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Just started Len Deighton Berlin Game but I have John le Carré Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy waiting on my nightstand. Between weekly snapshots of the film and picking up the book every couple of years I seem never to tire of this story.

message 17: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Jul 10, 2015 09:00AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
I advocate giving your full attention to 'Berlin Game'; because it is the start of a superb trilogy --one which (imho) is the only espionage work Deighton has done which matches LeCarre's best (such as 'Tinker'). In short, it takes 3 Deighton to match 1 LeCarre; but Deighton alone does it when no one else can even come that close. Furthermore, in just the same way that 'Tinker' has a wonderful BBC miniseries; so does 'Game, Set & Match'. Stars Ian Holm. Its rare and out-of-print ($200) but just as fine.

message 18: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 10, 2015 10:12AM) (new)

Will definitely take a look at the BBC miniseries but not until Deighton has said all he has to say... Thanks!

message 19: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments Sounds like another great series by the BBC folks, will have to track that one down.

message 20: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 9 comments I haven't read Deighton before (I don't think I have at least)

I was looking at The Ipcress File to start with.

message 21: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments I read a few books of his back in the seventies, probably need to give him another read on of these days.

message 22: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 9 comments Too many books to choose from - that's my problem

message 23: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments You got that right, I must have at least a hundred books on my Kindle, and will most likely be adding Deighton one of these days. Books stores here are very limited for good english novels so I have to get my fix/reads from amazon.

message 24: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Jul 11, 2015 08:35PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
'Ipcress File' is the best place to start with Deighton.

'Funeral in Berlin'
'Billion Dollar Brain'
'Horse under Water'
'Spy Story'

This is the Harry Palmer series. Slick, hip, clever--this is what made Deighton a rival to LeCarre in the 60s. Spurred a great run of movies with Michael Caine.

At that point, (after Palmer) then is the time you would want to meet Bernard Samson in the 'Game, Set, Match' series.

message 25: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 9 comments okey dokey

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Just finished Berlin Game Berlin Game (Bernard Samson, #1) by Len Deighton by Len Deighton and am headed to Mexico Set Mexico Set (Bernard Samson, #2) by Len Deighton . Haven't even read the reviews but if he tells me another story with the same style and panache, then I will be most entertained.

message 27: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Aug 04, 2015 12:25PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
That's what he always has on tap. Gobs of style. The series gets better and better. 'Mexico Set' is very fun; a welcome change-of-pace from spy books which are always set in grey, misty, or snowy European cities. And its also hilarious to see the pasty-pale, phlegmatic Brits under the hot tropic sun, sweating and uncomfortable.

Yeah..might seem a strange place for an espionage tale at first; but Mexico was actually always a hot-bed of intrigue since the 1930s with the Russians and before that, with the Germans.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Passport and sun screen are packed. I shall return promptly...

message 29: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
I envy you reading that book for the first time. Fond memories!

message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Wondering if Daniel Silva should be put on my TBR list, have never read anything of his but he is always popping up in my recommendations list. thoughts anyone?

message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Mexico Set Mexico Set by Len Deighton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second book of the Game, Set, Match trilogy takes place in an incredibly vivid and sweltering tropical backdrop as Britain's brightest secret agent and his nemesis sweat their way along another masterfully told tale of intrigue and espionage. "A man could not take credit for talent in the same way he could for cunning."

View all my reviews

message 32: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
So you liked it eh?

Up next on my list (they're speeding their way to me now)

Horse Under Water by Len Deighton
The Striker Portfolio by Adam Hall
Hashish A Smuggler's Tale by Henry de Monfreid

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Enjoyed every word of both books and looking forward to London Match. I love it when a book grabs you and stays with you long after the last page has been turned

message 34: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
Its pretty nifty that 3-4 of Deighton's early works feature an agent whom we never hear his name mentioned in any of the books. The 'Nameless' agent whom we're intended to infer may be Harry Palmer. But to write entire series of books without the protagonist's name! Hilarious

message 35: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Aug 30, 2015 08:45PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
'Horse Under Water' has been a lot of fun. The traditional laconic, wry, self-dreprecating, offbeat, irreverent, swank, Deighton style. Nimbly keeps all the clues suspended before laying them down in their final arrangement.

Almost done.

message 36: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Oct 07, 2015 10:49AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
coming up for me, another nonfiction expose' by a Soviet party insider: Assassins At Large: Being A Fully Documented And Hitherto Unpublised Account Of The Executions Outside Russia Ordered By The Gpu.

Author Hugo Dewar was a Trotskyist activist influential in founding many of the early British Trotskyite groups. He joined the Independent Labour Party in 1928, and in 1930 co-founded the Marxist League. He was one of the founders in 1932 of the Communist League, (Britain's first Trotskyist group) and remained active in 'Left Opposition' groups until WWII.

I'm interested in what he has to say about Stalin's ruthless pursuit of all things he labeled 'Trotsky-ite'.

message 37: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments Picked up A Perfect Spy the other day.

A Perfect Spy
A Perfect Spy by John le Carré
John le Carré

message 38: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
aha. Its well done; but not my fave. I can't hardly remember the turning-point of the plot at all. Or much of anything of the main characters. I remember the technical skill leCarre showed at illuminating the world of 1940s Britain. I just felt the story didn't live up to the title. I don't remember being 'shocked' at the end of the book.

message 39: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments Thats ok, after finishing the Karla trilogy, I'm not expecting this to be on par with those three brilliant books, this winter will want to settle in with a nice slow plodding plot of a read.

message 40: by David (new)

David I never know what is next until I finish one that I am reading. My bookshelf has over 200 unread, my e-book library has over 200 marked to read, so I usually go to what I haven't read lately. Might be time for a Le Carre, Ludlum, Higgins, or maybe even a Jack Reacher page turner. Just finished Polor Star by Martin Cruz Smith, and reading Jeff Deavers The Broken Window. Then again, might be time to read a second book by John Case before I throw him into the never again read pile.

message 41: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 09, 2015 05:29PM) (new)

Recently completed The Human Factor by G. Greene and Blood of Victory by Mr. Furst. Started the Karla trilogy today. Life is good...

message 42: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Oct 09, 2015 05:40PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
Aye, 'Human Factor' Odd, quiet little book. Very difficult to make out at first. Typical of Greene; much more a straight novel than an emphatically espionage title. Greene is so strange.

Karla trilogy: bravo. But for god's sake please make sure you start with 'Call for the Dead' for that is really where the tale starts off! From there, to 'Cold'; then 'Looking Glass'; then 'Tinker'; then 'Schoolboy'; then finally, 'People'. That's the way! There's six books not three.

You could also toss in 'Small Town in Germany' in the middle of all that, to take a brief interruption and let your mind rest/absorb.

message 43: by Kev (new)

Kev | 37 comments I liked the Human Factor. It's an understated late Greene novel with well realised characters. The tradecraft by this point was well out of date but it didn't matter really. The clue was in the title. Typical of Greene it's largely about the inner turmoil of a 20th century man. Faced with a choice of love or country he chooses the former and the end result is pretty crushing.

I stumbled across a film version that is very hard to find apparently. It was quite a strong adaption and well worth a watch if you can track it down.

message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Just ordered The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth from my neighborhood book store. Anyone have any insight or thoughts on his autobiography The Outsider?

message 45: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
nope, but 'odessa file' is a wild ride

message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Just picked up Last Days of the Condor: A Novel and The Cairo Affair while at the market preparing for the "White Death" to arrive. Impulse purchases make me happy. Anyone know if they are worthy reads?

message 47: by Dave (new)

Dave | 28 comments I thought Cairo Affair was vey good.

message 48: by David (new)

David Just finished Six Days of the Condor, was disappointed to tell the truth, but am -currently re-starting The Honourable Schoolboy by LeCarre. Second start as the first time, I found that I was not in the proper frame of mind for a longish spy novel by LC.

message 49: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 678 comments Mod
Many people might find 'Six Days' a very quiescent read; its extremely low-key. You could fall asleep reading it. So, no embarrassment over that.

Let me know if you want to talk over 'Schoolboy'. It's my #1 fave spy novel (all time) and my #1 fave postwar British novel. Favorite postwar novel from any country, actually.

message 50: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments Rosa: A Novel
Rosa A Novel (Detective Inspector Nikolai Hoffner) by Jonathan Rabb
Jonathan Rabb

I recently picked this up for the reading device.

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