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Brandenburg Gate [Kindle Edition]

Henry Porter
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this brilliant, multilayered, espionage thriller, the 2005 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award winner Henry Porter captures the tense final moments before the fall of the Berlin Wall. September 1989. The Communist government in East Germany is on the brink of collapse. Even the Stasi, one of the most formidable intelligence agencies of all time, can’t stop the rebellion that ends in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Dr. Rudi Rosenharte, formerly a Stasi foreign agent, is sent to Trieste to rendezvous with his old lover and agent, Annalise Schering, who the Stasi believe Annalise has vital intelligence. The problem: Rudi knows she’s dead. He saw her lying in her own bloodied bathwater, and then kept her suicide a secret. As collateral for this mission, the Stasi have imprisoned Rosenharte's family. But the Stasi is not the only intelligence agency using Rosenharte. Soon the British and Americans encircle him, forcing him to choose between abandoning his beloved brother to a torturous death and returning to East Germany as a double agent. As the political pressures against the East German government rise, Rudi must face his own crises. Brandenburg Gate shows Henry Porter at the top of his game.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in East Germany during the bleak, waning days of 1989, this stand-alone thriller from British author Porter (A Spy's Life) combines impeccable research with compelling characters caught up in the broad sweep of fascinating historical events. The Stasi want art scholar Dr. Rudi Rosenharte to take part in a dangerous mission involving a former lover Rudi knows is dead, but who the Stasi thinks is not only alive but also harboring vital state secrets. Rudi has little choice, since the Stasi are holding Rudi's brother, Konrad, and his family hostage. Rudi, an ex-Stasi agent himself, clandestinely enlists the aid of the British SIS, the CIA and even the KGB as he pits all of these agencies against one another in an effort to smuggle Konrad and family across the border to the safety of the West. Readers will know that in a few weeks the Wall will be torn down, but at the time, as Porter makes clear, this was not a foregone conclusion, and death and disaster, as in Tiananmen Square, was a real possibility. It's easy to see why this riveting read won the CWA's Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Strangers meet under the guise of old lovers in the streets of Trieste, while enemies watch from the shadows, and a mysterious Pole utters a garbled name as he plunges into the harbor, dead. Ah, the paranoiac embrace of espionage! Porter pushes all the right buttons in this solid spy novel set in the months before German reunification. Art historian and aging roue Rudi Rosenharte becomes a pawn in an unpredictable endgame between the increasingly desperate Stasi, who hold his twin brother hostage, and Western intelligence agencies seeking to uncover Islamic terrorist cells harbored by East Germany. Hindsight tells us that momentous changes are in the offing, but will the fall of the Wall save our hero, or crush him? Although a mite overstuffed, the novel's engrossing plot, convincing tradecraft, and vivid depiction of a ruthless totalitarian regime losing its stranglehold all place Porter (A Spy's Life, 2001) in company with Gerald Seymour, Robert Littell, and other top-notch writers who are proving that the golden age of spy fiction isn't over yet. David Wright
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 761 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (December 1, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005012OL2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,796 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating historical thriller June 15, 2006
Middle-aged Dr. Rudi Rosenharte is about to see his former life as a Stasi foreign agent turn his present life as a renowned art historian upside down. The scene is set in East Germany in September 1989. Rosenharte's passion at this stage is to set aside the decadent alcoholic lifestyle he's lived for many years in order to free his twin brother, Konrad, from a GDR prison. Konrad has been mistreated by the Stasi and is in need of dental, physical and mental treatment for his declining health. Rosenharte's energy is to cooperate with the Stasi to ensure that Konrad lives and is reunited with his wife Else and two young boys.

Rosenharte has become an authority in the art world and travels frequently between cities to lecture. During trips to Trieste, he's become acquainted with a person of interest to the Stasi officials concerned with treason to the German Democratic Republic. Stasi officials use information in ruthless fashion in order to intimidate citizens to inform upon one another. Rudi's former life as a secret agent comes to bear when he comes face to face with a woman he believes to have died, a former love who possessed important information against enemies of East Germany.

Believing that his cooperation with the Stasi will free his brother, Rosenharte sets in motion a series of actions that conflict with his chief goal, that of freeing Konrad. He possesses the means to gain vital information not only for the Stasi but for American, British and Russian agents as well. The game plays out with his former lover, Annalise Schering, holding the key to intelligence the Stasi must have. Rosenharte has to abandon his former lover (or a reasonable facsimile of her) or become a turncoat agent and cooperate with foreign agencies.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent spy potboiler set in the waning days of European communism. Author Henry Porter interweaves the East German secret police (STASI), British intelligence, the CIA and the KGB into this story of a world-weary East German academic who is blackmailed into serving the GDR in a dubious espionage plot. That first caper, lasting no more than the first several pages of this lengthy book, opens the door to what is the vast rat's nest of the main story line here. The best part of this novel, in my opinion, is its detailed description of the gradual public uprising against the GDR regime as the Soviet Block begins to visibly disintegrate. The author conveys a highly credible understanding of how the citizens of East Germany finally reached the end of their patience with the desperate living that was inflicted on them by their government through the STASI.

As good as this book is, it could have used some adept editing in places to tighten it up some. For example, there are a number of oft-repeated lines coming from the antagonist about his imprisoned brother that become tiresome by the middle of the book.

Despite a few flaws, this is an excellent read that reaches its best and most credible moments at the end of the book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good, but..... March 11, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked the story even though it got a little long-winded. As much as liking the story was reading the descriptions of Berlin and Leipzig, especially the area around the Berlin Wall. Having traveled to both those places in 2005 and had a young tour guide describe the Monday prayer services in St. Thomas Church, made the text seem alive. The seemingly endless droning on about the conditions of the prison did little to enhance the richness of the descriptions of the cities and the events. Read it if you've visited this part of Germany or are looking for something about the final minutes of the reign of terror by the Stasi.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
"Brandenburg" is Henry Porter's fourth novel and won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller in 2005. The book is set in East Germany's last few months, leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The book's hero is Rudi Rosenharte, an academic and former (unwilling) Stasi operative. He has (as the book opens) been brought out of retirement by the Stasi - again, against his wishes - for an operation. However, as his brother and his brother's family have been imprisoned pending his co-operation, he doesn't really have much of a choice. Konrad, Rudi's twin brother, is a film-maker and a known dissident; he has been in prison before, and Rudi fears too long a stretch might kill him. The brothers haven't had the easiest of lives. They were born in 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II to high-ranking Nazis. While this would be something of a stigma in most countries, the burden seems to be that much greater in communist East Germany. Their father saw action in Russia and in defence of Berlin. When their parents died towards the end of the war, the brothers were adopted and raised by their housekeeper. However, while neither brother is particularly enamoured with communism, they certainly haven't adopted their parents' beliefs.

Although most of the action takes place in East Germany, the book opens in Trieste - where Rudi has been sent to meet Annalise Schering. The only problem is that Annalise is dead, having committed suicide in Brussels some fifteen years previously. Rudi was not only her contact at this time - she was supplying the Stasi with classified information - but he was also her lover. However, after her suicide, he was placed in a rather difficult situation and didn't inform his superiors of her death.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and evocative
Well plotted, with thoroughly believable characters, and so evocative of the suspicion and double dealing of the cold war. Read more
Published 3 months ago by John Hayward
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark days book.
outstanding book. Remember the days, suprises happen, not all bad. Wall came down, what timing. Christian influence on outcome. Read it.
Published 10 months ago by Virginia F. Barr
5.0 out of 5 stars a definite keeper
Porter's work is cerebral, exciting, and a fascinating look at the Stasi in East Germany.
As soon as I finished, I grabbed another book from him.
Published 17 months ago by Chris Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Fall of E Germany thriller
Spy-thriller set against background of 1989 fall of the Berlin wall. Lots of history alternating with the fictional characters. One of the best! Read more
Published 21 months ago by M Murphy
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite convincing...
This novel suffers from two flaws which seriously inhibited enjoyment. First, it seemed as if the author had learned all about espionage from other novels about espionage. Read more
Published on August 6, 2011 by Truffaut015
5.0 out of 5 stars The Highest Quality Entertainment
Among the first-tier writers of spy thrillers (Furst, Steinhauer, Downing) I think that Porter, with his captivatingly complex plot, engaging characters, and portrayal of East... Read more
Published on August 10, 2010 by Ronald H. Raybin
5.0 out of 5 stars A cerebral thriller
A great book set mostly in East Germany in 1989 as the Cold War was coming to an end.
Published on March 22, 2010 by S.. Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars Spy Thriller/ Historical Fiction
Porter writes an entertaining spy thriller which occurs during the events leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Read more
Published on February 11, 2010 by R. Kerr Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Brandenburg Gate
This item was received on time in great condition. Thank you for your prompt service.
Published on December 23, 2009 by Rawlins Mun Library
4.0 out of 5 stars cold war action drama
Porter writes well and has a good sense of history. My guess is that he hoped to get more from the identical twin angle that he actually did. Read more
Published on March 30, 2009 by Edgar Mcgarvey
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