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Declare Mass Market Paperback – June 4, 2002
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As a young double agent infiltrating the Soviet spy network in Nazi-occupied Paris, Andrew Hale finds himself caught up in a secret, even more ruthless war. Two decades later, in 1963, he will be forced to confront again the nightmarethat has haunted his adult life: a lethal unfinished operation code-named Declare. From the corridors of Whitehall to the Arabian desert, from post-war Berlin to the streets of Cold War Moscow, Hale's desperate quest draws him into international politics and gritty espionage tradecraft -- and inexorably drives Hale, the fiery and beautiful Communist agent Elena Teresa Ceniza-Bendiga, and Kim Philby, mysterious traitor to the British cause, to a deadly confrontation on the high glaciers of Mount Ararat, in the very shadow of the fabulous and perilous Ark.
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Book 1 deals firmly with the characters and introduces a few supernatural elements - nothing to distract you from a ripping WW2 spy yarn interspersed with past and future time segments. Some might find this narrative style annoying. The patient reader will find they support the story and introduce the principles.
Book 2 veers unmistakably into the occult, revealing the long term, arcane plot known as Project Declare. I won't spoil anything here.
Book 3 brings all the elements together to a fast-paced conclusion. It's a satisfying if slightly unlikely ending - strangely enough the only part of the narrative that stretched my suspension of disbelief. The ending doesn't spoil the story, it's just slightly "untrue" to the author's stated influences.
Overall, it was a vivid, exciting book that didn't bog itself down in too many details. You get enough to hold your interest without a hint of excessive, self-indulgent prose. Pacing almost never slackens. This was totally my kind of read. I would heartily recommend it.
I have a handful of books I can re-read, and get something new out of them each time. Declare is one of those remarkable stories, the foundations so layered and dense that some subtleties of character and theme appear only after the first read. It seems silly to say that Declare crosses genres. It's fantastic espionage fiction, (like Fleming's 007 or O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise), but deeper and wider of scope, with historical and supernatural elements.
Main character Andrew Hale is the son of a former Catholic nun and unknown father. He grows up shuttling between religions, subject to strange dreams. As an adult he becomes a member of a rather special branch of British Intelligence. His story travels from the 1940s to the 1960s, encompassing Kim Philby, Middle East spy networks, double double agents, lasting love for a communist agent, supernatural happenings on Mount Ararat, and the story of Russia's special protector.
Be prepared to take your time, let Powers ease you into the story. Give the characters a chance to form and acquire substance. Declare is a read worth a little extra patience before you get to the action bits!
* I also highly recommend the audio version of Declare.
POC* movie. It was also a great book, but I repeat myself, as it is by:
* Pirates of the Caribbean
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