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Masaryk Station (John Russell World War II Spy Thriller #6) (A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller) Hardcover


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Frequently Bought Together

Masaryk Station (John Russell World War II Spy Thriller #6) (A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller) + 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)
Price for all three: $44.21

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Product Details

  • Series: A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller
  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; 1St Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616952237
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616952235
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Masaryk Station

"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

"Downing adroitly elucidates the morass that was post-World War II geopolitics without dumbing it down... One can only marvel at his talent for infusing such a rangy cast of characters with nuance and soul."
—The New York Times Book Review

"This is a brilliant finale to one of spydom’s best series. If you haven’t read all the others, get them first and enjoy the whole feast."
—The Globe and Mail

"Downing is one of a trio of exceptional writers (Philip Kerr and Alan Furst being the other two) who have managed to re-create a time and place when much of the world seemed to have gone temporarily mad."
—The Denver Post

“Downing’s outstanding evocation of the times (as masterly as that found in Alan Furst’s novels or Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series), thematic complexity (as rich as that of John le Carré), and the wide assortment of fully rendered characters provide as much or more pleasure than the plot, where disparate threads are tied together in satisfying and unexpected ways.”
Library Journal, STARRED Review

“Downing returns with another taut tale of espionage as World War II shades deeper into the Cold War and good guys get harder to tell from bad.... Downing writes with a sure grasp of the way bad situations become worse; he’s a master of heightened tension and the sweat-bedewed upper lip... The local color and cigarette smoke are thick, and so is the plot, with fine MacGuffins, a truly red herring or two, and even a man in the boot to keep things interesting.”
—Kirkus Reviews

"If your reaction is anything like mine, you'll want to continue through the entire series."
—Books & Culture

”The Station books are without a doubt some of the finest espionage novels these days, easily inviting comparisons to the legends of the genre like John le Carre, Frederick Forsyth and Tom Clancy… You won’t want to read anything else until you have devoured the entire series.”
—BookPage (Top Pick in Mystery)

"David Downing has created a complicated plot with many twists and turns while the hero seems caught in a maze."
Historical Novel Society

"This is a thrilling and suspenseful espionage series, one of the best being written today. One cares about Russell and his family and even the somewhat oily Shchepkin as they attempt to unravel themselves from the brutal and unfeeling intelligence services. It’s an extremely dangerous time and the likelihood for failure is high. If you like spy novels, you need to read all of the John Russell series."
—Bookgasm

"I loved Masaryk Station. The plot in interesting, but the real point is the insight into the times. It provided insights and aroused emotions in me concerning my own experiences during the Cold War and helped build some perspective over the world events that I, in my youth, only knew asfact."
—Gumshoe Review

"A wonderfully written mixture of history, espionage, and suspense. Downing perfectly captures post-war Berlin.... Intelligently written, provocatively told, and thoroughly convincing in every aspect, [John] Russell is a man who will not soon be forgotten by the readers of these books."
—Deadly Pleasures

"The book is a wonderful introduction to the Berlin Blockade, told through an exciting story with likeable characters." 
Blogcritics.org

Praise for David Downing
 
"Full of striking inventions."
─Kingsley Amis, author of Lucky Jim
 
"A beautifully crafted and compelling thriller with a heart-stopping ending as John Russell learns the personal faces of good and evil. An unforgettable read."
─Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series
 
"One of the most intelligent and persuasive realizations of Germany immediately before the war."
Wall Street Journal
 
"In the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr ... [Downing is] brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin on its last legs."
Washington Post

Downing distinguishes himself by eschewing the easy ways out. He doesn't shy away from portraying the cold brutality of the Third Reich, and his characters are far from stereotypes—they're flawed, confused and real.”
—NPR

About the Author

David Downing grew up in suburban London. He is the author of five previous books in the John Russell series, Zoo Station, Silesian Station, Stettin Station, Potsdam Station, and Lehrter Station. He lives with his wife, an American
acupuncturist, in Guildford, England.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
24
4 star
24
3 star
18
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3
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See all 69 customer reviews
I am a great fan of David Downing's "Station" Series.
Nikki
While I was disappointed overall, I did appreciate that the characters' story lines were wrapped up at the end of the series.
ptkdude
Great storyline, wonderful characters, credible evocation of time and place.
Blue in Washington

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. Palter on June 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some of the earlier volumes were a little wobbly but this one winds up the series in style. It is nominally a period spy novel / thriller but it is far more a character study as the author sums up several of his main POV characters coming to terms with the new Cold War world and a divided Europe. For people of the left [the author's sympathies as well as those of his characters are obvious] the choice of brash Yank cowboys [mostly in bed with ex- Nazis for their anti-Communist crusade] and dour Stalinists [who crush the life out of any concept of justice or liberty] is a sad end to the great crusade against the Nazi regime. The West is better only in that it offers a space for dissent and personal conscience. This all sounds trite but is quite well handled including vignettes in Tito's Yugoslavia, occupied Trieste, Italy, Austria and newly Communist Prague. A fun read if period fiction is your thing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As readers, why are so many of us drawn to series books? Is it our fascination with the characters we've grown familiar with and we want to see in new adventures or new love affairs? Maybe because we already know the back-stories of the characters, we can adjust to a new plot without much trouble? In any case, I'm a lover of series books as much as anyone and that's why I've eagerly jumped at British author David Downing's new book, "Masaryk Station".

Masaryk Station is located in Prague, not the Berlin of Downing's previous books in his John Russell/Effi Koenen WW2 and post-war series. Russell is an American who has lived in Berlin since the 1930's - it's now 1948 in this new book - and is a jack-of-all trades; tinker, tailor, author, and SPY. Actually, Russell is a spy for at least two governments - the US and the Soviets - and I gave up trying to figure out his actual allegiances in the previous book, "Lehrter Station", which was published last year. I was midway through that book when I realised I couldn't keep everyone in the spy part of the plot separate and I didn't much care. So, I finished that book and enjoyed the "people part". And I approached this book, "Masaryk Station" with the same reading intentions.

"Masaryk Station" begins - and ends - in 1948. Effi Koenen, Russell's German wife, is a famous actor, who has somehow managed not to compromise her principles working in German film during the Nazi era. That was a bit harder than it sounds, actually, but Koenen ended up in a "cleared" status of war-time activities. Both Russell and Koenen and their immediate family and friends are eking out lives in divided Berlin. The Soviets are threatening the Allied powers with closing off access to Berlin from the west.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard Kurtz on July 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm one of these readers who once I get into an author: e.g, Alan Furst, Stella Rimington, Henning Mankell, John Lawton, Phillip Kerr, etc,I must read all of their books and have read all of the books in this series starting back way when with Zoo Station. I liked this book, but felt that it didn't have the dramatic plot twists I found in the earlier books in the series. However, the thing that bothered me the most about this book was the innumerable typos -- I lost track of how many errors appeared in this book, but there were many words left out (mostly contractions) and words that just didn't fit in (e.g., shoulder when it should have been soldier)
I wondered if others had the same reaction -- one or two okay, but I found all of these errors highly disconcerting.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ptkdude on July 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've thoroughly enjoyed the previous books in the Station series, and was looking forward to this next installment. Unlike the previous books, however, Masaryk Station seems rather disjointed throughout the majority of the book, only really settling on a plot about three-quarters of the way through. I also noted that there is significantly less action than the previous books, and the ending seemed rushed.

Aside from storyline, Masaryk Station suffers from very poor editing, making the book rather annoying to read. There are numerous cases where a word or two is clearly missing from a sentence, or where superfluous words were accidentally left in the text. Also, the publishers have apparently dispensed with separate versions for the American and British markets, as this was clearly edited only in British English. Generally, that didn't present a problem for me as I understand most of the more common British terms, but I'll admit I did have to search the Internet for the meaning of some. American readers who do not frequently converse with British folks may struggle with that aspect of the book, or may think there are even more editing errors (i.e. living in versus living on a street).

While I was disappointed overall, I did appreciate that the characters' story lines were wrapped up at the end of the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doug Park on July 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you are unfamiliar with Downing's John Russell spy novels, it might be best to read the earlier books in the series, perhaps in this rough order, before reading "Masaryk Station": Zoo Station (John Russell World War II Spy Thriller), Silesian Station, Stettin Station, Potsdam Station: A John Russell WWII Thriller, and Lehrter Station: A John Russell WWII Thriller. The first four are all 5-star novels which have the immediate advantage of taking place immediately preceding or during World War II. ("Lehrter Station" is also quite good, but only 4 stars from me.) The previous novels all introduce characters, events, and conflicts that are pivotal in this book. But then again, reading "Masaryk Station" first will serve to illuminate the earlier novels. That's the great thing about this series: While it may be best to read sequentially, ANY order you choose has its advantages.

Like the others, "Masaryk Station" begins with a brief but very gripping chapterette which, at first glance, appears irrelevant to John Russell, the other characters, and the rest of the book. While they are very revealing of the politics of post-war Europe, 1948, and the complexities of multi-agent spy operations in same, the first 200-odd pages are a bit all over the place.
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