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Empire State Hardcover – September 4, 2003

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


REVIEWS '...a powerful, propulsive piece of thriller writing... Porter has consolidated his reputation for writing some of the best espionage thrillers around.' THE OBSERVER 7/9/03 'his landscapes, language and action are intriguing. Here is a spy writer whose work is becoming increasingly unbeatable.' Bill Greenwell, THE INDEPENDENT 13/9/03 'Like the best espionage writers, Porter is an expert at spinning plates. We are flashed all over the world.' William Leith, DAILY TELEGRAPH 13/9/03 'Porter is certainly filling the gap left by Len Deighton and John Le Carre...' EVENING STANDARD '... a tour-de-force, which is stunning in its execution and masterful in its attention to detail... The future of the spy novel is in safe hands. The man writes like a dream. Challenging, ambitious, thoughtful, authoritative, he's a le Carre for this century.' GLASGOW HERALD "A revelation and the best book of the year by far." THE HERALD (GLASGOW) '...demonstrates a vast knowledge of security systems and a deep appreciation of the changing state of world safety.' www 'Buttock-clenching suspense as secret agent Robert Harland returns to sniff out some murky political goings on.' TATLER 01-10-2003 'This is a gift from one of the key espionage writers of the 21st century' GOOD BOOK GUIDE 01-10-03 'Henry Porter is the writer of espionage thriller for the new millenium. In his new, remarkably timely novel, Empire State, porter once again proves he is at the cuting edge of international political espionage' EYE SPY October 2003 'Empire State is tightly written, well-paced and cleverly constructed. The backgrounds are well done, be they seedy Islamic bookshops on Westbourne Grove or Cairene cafes, and the action sequences are all that they should be. Porter definitely knows what he's doing and he does it very well. More, please' THE SPECTATOR, 25-10-03 'Empire State is plausible, scary and exciting with unstressed know-how and espionage tatics that sound authentic ... In more ways than one, Porter's excellent novel extends our education' LITERARY REVIEW, 01-10-03

About the Author

Henry Porter has written for most national broadsheet newspapers. He was editor of the Atticus column on the Sunday Times, moving to set up the Sunday Correspondent magazine in 1988. He contributes commentary and reportage to the Guardian, Observer, Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph. He is the British editor of Vanity Fair, and lives in London with his wife and two daughters.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First Edition edition (September 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752856839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752856834
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,506,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Olson on December 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Empire State is a dreadful book - devoid of suspense, with a muddled plot and a cast of cardboard characters who communicate chiefly via cell-phones and laptop computers. Instead of compelling action, we are subjected to endless exposition describing foreign intrigues, whose significance the reader can only guess at. Even the connection between the opening attack and the events that follow is unclear. What did it accomplish? Was it a diversion? Who done it? You got me.
According to the cover blurb, Robert Harland, the hero of A Spy's Life, returns in Empire State, assisted by female MI6 officer, Isis Herrick. In fact, Herrick is clearly the center of this novel, whereas Harland, relegated to infrequent walk-on's, is hobbled throughout by indecision and chronic back pain. As for the book's sole romantic encounter, it is a tepid interlude, over before it begins. I guess even spies grow old.
If Empire State is "an espionage thriller for the new millennium", then give me back the cold war. In Mr. Porter's brave new world, the Americans and the Brits are ever at each other's throats, the bad guys' intentions are murky at best and the confusing array of British Intelligence Services (SIS, MI5, MI6, etc.) persist in wasting their time in-fighting.
I recently reread Porter's first book, Remembrance Day. Now there was a real thriller: suspense and action galore, good locales, minimal gadgetry, believable protagonists and very nasty villains. A Spy's Life was a notable come-down from that book, and Empire State is not in the same league at all.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read and full of the internecine (and very real) politics of security agencies; and their lack of trust of each other. A good woman lead as a middle level intelligence officer, with good obervation and analysis, and suffered the reality of stress unlike many other fiction 'heros'. This book is not a 'shoot em up with untarnished heros and it does not shy away from the nastier side of rendition and torture cotracting by the CIA.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craobh Rua on May 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Empire State" opens with Vice Admiral Ralph Norquist, the head of the American NSA, landing at London Heathrow under the name "Larry Catuzo". Norquist is apparently travelling on a secret mission, with his schedule so classified that even his wife doesn't know where he is or who he'll be meeting. Unfortunately, despite the secrecy, the `bad guys' are onto him...Norquist is plucked out of his line on arrival by Peter Chambers, an agent from MI5, who informs him his security has been compromised. Despite their best efforts, however, Norquist doesn't survive too much further...while he makes it out of the airport by a secret escape route, an ambush on the motorway ensures he doesn't see it through the night. Naturally, this is big news - and the obvious assumption is that Norquist was the target of an extremely well-informed terrorist cell. One line of enquiry will look at a woman who'd been ahead of Norquist in the queue coming through immigration. Something about her had made Norquist suspicious and, after she'd dropped the contents of her bag, he had managed to swipe the SIM card from her phone.

One of the book's two lead characters in working at Heathrow at the time - though she's not part of the Norquist operation. Isis Herrick - an Arabic speaking MI5 officer - was working with several MI5 and Special Branch officers, observing Youssef Rahe, an Arab bookseller. (However, before long, all but Isis have been removed from the operation - the Norquist situation and the mysterious woman who "lost" her SIM card needed numbers quickly). Rahe, who was heading to Kuwait, isn't seen as a significant player. In all honesty, the security forces didn't even know if he was an insignificant player...all they know is that a suspect once bought a book from him.
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By soundara rajan on October 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thrilling experience.
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