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Lehrter Station (John Russell World War II Spy Thriller #5): A John Russell WWII Thriller (A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller) Hardcover

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Lehrter Station (John Russell World War II Spy Thriller #5): A John Russell WWII Thriller (A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller) + Potsdam Station (John Russell World War II Spy Thriller #4): A John Russell WWII Thriller (A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller)
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Product Details

  • Series: A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616950749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616950743
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Outstanding.... Philip Kerr and Alan Furst fans will be pleased."
Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"Downing is a master at work."
Huffington Post UK

"Powerfully and skillfully written, with constant suspense and sudden surprises of satisfaction, Lehrter Station is one of the vital 2012 books that I'd pack for a desert islandor a beach vacation, or a rainy weekend."
—Kingdom Books

Praise for the John Russell series

"Epic in scope, Mr. Downing's "Station" cycle creates a fictional universe rich with a historian's expertise but rendered with literary style and heart."
—The Wall Street Journal

"John Russell has always been in the thick of things in David Downing’s powerful historical novels set largely in Berlin ... Downing provides no platform for debate in this unsentimental novel, leaving his hero to ponder the ethics of his pragmatic choices while surveying the ground level horrors to be seen in Berlin.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Reminiscent of Woody Allen’s Zelig, Russell, the hero of Downing’s espionage series, can’t seem to resist inserting himself into climactic moments of the 20th century ... Downing has been classed in the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr ... that flattering comparison is generally justified. If Downing is light on character study, he’s brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin on its last legs.... Given the limited cast of characters, Downing must draw on almost Dickensian reserves of coincidences and close calls to sustain the suspense of his basic hide-and-seek story line. That he does ingeniously. It helps to read Downing’s novels in order, but if Potsdam Station is your first foray into Russell’s escapades, be forewarned that you may soon feel compelled to undertake a literary reconnaissance mission to retrieve and read the earlier books.”
Washington Post

“The echo of the Allied bombings and the crash of the boots of the invading Russians permeate the pages in which David Downing vividly does justice to the drama... The book is a reminder of what happened and those who allowed it to happen...The book lives up to the others in the Russell series, serving as yet one more reminder of a world too many have entirely forgotten.”
Washington Times

“Downing is brilliant at weaving history and fiction, and this plot, with its twists and turns—all under the terrible bombardment of Berlin and the Third Reich’s death throes—is as suspenseful as they come. The end, with another twist, is equally clever and unexpected.”
Toronto Globe and Mail

About the Author

David Downing grew up in suburban London. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction for both adults and children, including four novels featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell and the nonfiction work Sealing Their Fate: The Twenty-Two Days That Decided World War II. He lives with his wife in Guildford, England.

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Customer Reviews

Looks like the author needed money.
Karel Colpaert
I enjoyed the book and the characters and looking forward to the next book in the series.
Donald J. Saulnier
Downing has crafted another story of life in Berlin in 1945.
Russ Sharer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has been following the adventures of reporter and reluctant spy John Russell through the four previous novels by David Downing (starting with Zoo Station is going to want to read this fifth in the series, if only to figure out how Downing, his son Paul, Effi, his German movie star girlfriend and other assorted members of his circle deal with the advent of peace after a decade or more of upheaval, war and tragedy. Certainly, it's not back to business as usual: when we meet Russell again, he's struggling to find someone to run his stories in London and postwar life is bleak. Then one of his old spymaster buddies comes calling to collect a bill owing from his past, and it's back to Berlin...

Downing does a fabulous job of capturing life in Berlin at the end of 1945, only six months or so from the bloody final battle for control of the city that was his focus in Potsdam Station: A John Russell WWII Thriller. Russell may not have to dodge the Gestapo, SD and SS any longer but he finds himself caught between rival spy agencies, as both the Americans and Soviets lay claim to his loyalties and service. And the ending of the war hasn't brought about peace and harmony: Nazis are still strolling the streets and while Jews get special ration cards as victims of fascism, they are being driven out of their homes in Poland or confined to DP camps until the victors can figure out what to do with them. Then there are the shady black market figures and the groups seeking vengeance for the horrors of the concentration camps, who live in an even darker world...
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By VICKY on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So this book starts out with a nice review. It is 1945 in London . Russell is almost unemployed but the fabulous Russians make him (and Effie) an "offer they can't refuse) unfortunately this novel is a continuous drawn-out half-hearted re-cap od David Downing's previously fascinating novel. As he scurries through all (I do mean ALL) the people he ever met, helped, knew) the reader is wishing there was a plot. At this end of this barely held together novel, Russell gets brave. I sincerely hope that David Downing's usual sense of atmosphere, character and astounding multiple plots re-surfaces in a book that isn't a series of "how have you been?"
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Downing's new novel, "Lerter Station", is the fifth book in his John Russell series. Begun in pre-war Berlin and continuing through the war, Downing now takes his characters in this book from London to Berlin in the fall of 1945. Russell and his girl-friend, actress Effi Koenen, return to the war-ruined city in a somewhat convoluted plot involving Soviet spies. Most plots dealing with spies in these books - Downing's, Philip Kerr's, Alan Furst's - usually have the spies double, tripling, hell, even quadruple, spying. Frankly, I got confused dealing with the who/what/why of the spying in Downing's book. So I tended to concentrate on the other parts of the story, which were far more interesting.

Life in post-war Berlin was difficult enough for the city's residents. So many buildings were damaged, so many people lost in the bombings and war battles and, of course, in the concentration camps. The city was a meeting place for the war's survivors and most people were trying to find loved ones and friends they had lost track of during the war. The city was divided into four parts - American, British, French, and Russian - and while people could move between the parts fairly easily, already the Russian Zone was taking on an ominous tone as restrictions were beginning to be put in place by the occupying Soviets. Russell has returned to do a little spying, a little reporting, and a lot of fence-mending. Effi has returned to act in a new movie, the first to be filmed in post-war Germany. She was also trying to find the father of a young Jewish girl she had sheltered during the war and was hoping to permanently adopt, as well as the daughter of a Jewish couple she had helped during the war. Downing also includes many other characters from the four earlier books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk on February 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating portrait of a society crawling out of chaos. It's not just the buildings and bridges that are reduced to rubble and ruins in post-war Berlin. The Americans are playing all sorts of games, some of them aligning themselves to ex-Nazis and the black market in order to fight the invisible war against the Soviets, whilst others appear to be totally unaware of what life was really like under Hitler's regime. The British are imperialists hanging desperately onto power, the stern teacher in the school corridor. The French are seen as inconsequential and no-one understands why they're running part of the city anyway. The Russians are playing a game of winning hearts and minds without realising that they lost them when they raped their way through the cities... as if they really care because they seem to be the only ones who have a plan. The Germans come across as befuddled victims surviving by the skin of their teeth and confused as to how all this happened in the first place... and the Jews come across as confident and fighting fit... realists in a new world.
I like David Downing's Berlin series. They're gripping adventures set in a dirty world. Now the war is over it's not got any cleaner and our hero, John Russell, finds himself used as a pawn by both the Soviets and the Americans. All he wants to do is survive... like most of the other characters in the novel. This isn't easy when the world is on the brink of collapse. Cigarettes are the only real currency, everything is on ration, gangsters are having a great day, peoples are in flux as they move about Europe - this is true post-apocalyptic stuff when you think about it.
It struck me, as I was reading, that I can't think of many books set in the immediate post-war period in Central Europe.
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