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The Arms Maker of Berlin [Kindle Edition]

Dan Fesperman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $4.96 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

An unflinching thriller from Dan Fesperman that takes us deep into the White Rose resistance movement during World War II.
When Nat Turnbull’s mentor, Gordon Wolfe, is arrested for possession of a missing WWII secret service archive and then turns up dead in jail, Nat’s quiet academic life is suddenly thrown into tumult. The archive is a time bomb of sensitive material, but key documents are still missing, and the FBI dispatches Nat to track them down. Following a trail of cryptic clues, Nat's journeys to Germany, where he soon crosses paths with Berta, a gorgeous and mysterious student and Kurt Bauer, an arms billionaire with a dark past. As their tales intersect, long-buried exploits of deceit emerge, and each step becomes more dangerous than the last.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Four missing documents from WWII provide the fuel for Fesperman's fine stand-alone thriller. The FBI hires Nat Turnbull, a Nazi expert at a second-tier New England university, to find the documents, but Nat soon discovers that the agency has reasons other than historical integrity for wanting them found: to keep a lid on certain war-era sins committed by a German industrialist whose enormous company has been a major weapons supplier to the West. As Turnbull shuttles between Europe and the U.S., he manages to stay a step ahead of a mysterious killer who's knocking off anyone who may know something about the missing files. Fesperman (The Prisoner of Guantánamo) convincingly evokes the fraying Reich in 1944, a time of shifting allegiances when many Germans focused on positioning themselves for a Hitler-less future, though the who and why of all the recent killings remain somewhat murky. Still, readers who like a bit of history with their thrills will be thoroughly satisfied. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Compelling . . . nonstop action.”—The Baltimore Sun

"'Intelligent thriller' is almost an oxymoron . . . Which may be why novels like Dan Fesperman's are so rare . . . Fesperman just can't help drawing on his experience as a journalist covering foreign conflicts. And that experience puts the meat on the intricate bone structure of his thriller plots. You come away from a Fesperman novel not only abuzz with the exhilaration of the chase, but also aware that you've absorbed something of the complexity of the world's conflicts . . . Fesperman's characters in The Arms Maker of Berlin, particularly Bauer, are smartly imagined and subtly drawn."—San Francisco Chronicle
"A smoothly accelerating thriller . . . Fesperman is a skillful, unpretentious writer who deftly incorporates his extensive knowledge of the period." Boston Globe
"Well-crafted entertainment that also delivers complex truths about warfare and survival." Kirkus Reviews
"Fesperman convincingly evokes the fraying Reich in 1944 . . . Readers who like a bit of history with their thrills will be thoroughly satisfied." Publishers Weekly
"Fesperman writes well. His characters are believable, and the strong and credible plot will specially appeal to fans of World War II espionage fiction."Library Journal
"This one is definitely not your out-of-the-box spy caper, thus highly recomme...

Product Details

  • File Size: 630 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307388727
  • Publisher: Vintage (August 4, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,033 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Betrayals, past and present... August 13, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love reading great suspense novels, so when the guy sitting opposite me on the subway was so engrossed in his book that he missed his stop altogether and didn't realize the fact for nearly 10 minutes, I had to wonder what he was reading. Turns out it was Dan Fesperman's latest thriller -- a book by an author I hadn't even heard of. The plot seemed intriguing enough, combining as it did a historical mystery revolving around the fate of a White Rose Nazi resistance cell in Berlin just after the fall of Stalingrad with the appearance of long-missing archival material about the OSS's wartime operations in Bern, just across the Swiss border. So I snapped it up, and don't regret it despite some rather stereotypical characters and wince-inducing writing. ("Keep working with me and you will have a far better chance of getting all that you want", the 21st century femme fatale trying to solve both the contemporary mystery and the historical puzzle tells our hero. He muses to himself, predictably enough: "The remark was stirring on several levels."

Nevertheless, during a summer that has brought some disappointing books from authors whose work I've previously enjoyed (Daniel Silva, flagging in the Gabriel Allon series; Christopher Reichs, still not at his best; Richard North Patterson in the yet-to-be released The Spire, a shadow of his best work), this was a very welcome addition to my mindless summer reading list. As Nat Turnbull scurries from North America to Europe and back again in search of the clues that will help him resolve the mystery that links the OSS with the White Rose operation and that his academic mentor (a former OSS spy) had long concealed, I began to understand exactly why that guy had missed his subway stop.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nazi intrigue and festering secrets make good suspense September 14, 2009
A couple of ambitious history professors go up against a ruthless assassin (and sometimes each other) to track down four missing Nazi-era files in Fesperman's (The Small Boat of Great Sorrows) latest political thriller.

Snatched from his desk deep in the archives of his university library in the middle of the night, Professor Nat Turnbull, specialist in the Nazi resistance movement, is understandably suspicious. But his abductor proves to be an FBI agent without a minute to lose. Turns out Nat's old mentor, Gordon Wolfe, now 84, has been arrested in possession of top-secret FBI archives, an intelligence trove stolen at the end of WWII.

Now the FBI needs to know what's in them - particularly anything having to do with The White Rose, a German resistance group, crushed before the war's end.

The files detail Allied intelligence operations in Switzerland, mostly centered around Allen Dulles, later the first civilian director of the CIA. Gordon always claimed to be one of his operatives, recruited after his plane was shot down over Switzerland.

But Gordon's war record has recently been called into question. Gordon blames the feds for that and tells Nat to dig deep and dig fast and the truth will set them both free.

Next to approach Nat is an attractive young scholar from East Germany. Berta Heinkel tells him that four files - the only ones that really matter - are missing. She believes they contain the facts about the betrayal of the Berlin chapter of the White Rose and the wartime activities of a powerful German industrialist who was just a 17-year-old boy at the time.

Intrigued, not sure who or what to believe, Nat hedges his bets.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fast Trip Back January 23, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dan Fesperman accomplished two tasks with his book "Arms Maker of Berlin." First, he told well an interesting story that took me back to the German WWII episode of sixty years ago. In that, his book was like a comfortable pair of old shoes. But he did something else.

The author expertly wove together two stories--one from the past and one in the present. This is not easily done, but he did it well.

I recommend it both to WWII buffs and to readers who just plain want to be entertained.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Arms Maker of Berlin September 8, 2009
By Brian
A few things irritated me about this book. The central device seemed both unnecessarily complex and not very plausible: that the FBI would use a civilian historian to dig up secrets for them. I just could never buy the central premise that the feds had this guy strung out like a worm on a hook. They could and would do their own investigations. The action shifts back and forth between two eras, WWII Europe and the present, and the author makes excessive use of that fact in creating cliffhanger endings to chapters. It's a device that should be used sparingly. After all, while it does create tension, it also interrupts the flow of a story. I realize that this is a personal preference and other readers may not feel the same way, but I like to be immersed in a setting and really savor it, not jerked back and forth over and over again from one setting to the next. Fesperman also makes use of a form of dramatic irony that should be used very sparingly: that in which the reader is pointedly reminded that there is something that he or she doesn't know, but is known to the narrator and to certain characters. Fesperman's use of this technique is reminiscent of Dan Brown's "DaVinci Code." I don't consider the comparison complimentary. Often the characters do and say things that make it impossible to suspend disbelief. For example, at one point a woman who is a virtual stranger to the protagonist is caught red-handed attempting to steal materials from an archive. "I can vouch for her!" the hero exclaims. I thought, "No, you idiot, you can't. You hardly know her, she is a suspect in the death of your friend, she has 'Femme Fatale' written all over her in blood red letters, and she just got caught trying to purloin research materials. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good writing. Organization is irritating sometimes
Clever plot. Good writing. Organization is irritating sometimes. A little long. But worth the effort.
Published 4 days ago by Bob Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars very good read
Great plot line excellent writing worth a read
Published 2 months ago by Robert Mohalley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Dan Fesperman is an excellent writer
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Believable but confusing
The Arms Maker of Berlin takes a "civilian" protagonist and throws him into a whirlpool of intrigue. Read more
Published 5 months ago by RSG
3.0 out of 5 stars a good story but too long
Perhaps this book just needed a better editor. The back story was interesting and the research process as well, but Nat spent way too much time agonizing over his feelings for... Read more
Published 10 months ago by KHK
5.0 out of 5 stars The Armsmaker of Berlin
I thoroughly enjoyed my first book by Festerman. Held my interest from beginning to end. I will definitely add his name to my authors list.
Published 13 months ago by robert schmidt
4.0 out of 5 stars nice mix of modern and historical
Very nice the way the author mixes the past history of the characters with the present. A good read, I enjoyed it.
Published 16 months ago by Michael Herfkens
5.0 out of 5 stars Deception, betrayal and the shifting truths of history
This intelligent, well-written tale surprised me, absorbed me and took me for a ride in a time machine. As one of its characters notes, "Nazis sell... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dick Paetzke
5.0 out of 5 stars Festerman rocks
I'm not a big spy/mystery reader, but Fesperman was recommended by a friend, and I've read five of his novels and enjoyed them all. And, I learned from all of them. Read more
Published 18 months ago by GeorgeK
5.0 out of 5 stars enamored!
Dan Fesperman has caught my attention, I am truly enamored by this writer, I believe much research goes into his books. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Legal story searcher
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