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The Phoenix of Prague Hardcover – February, 1997
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A tightly written, believable spy novel is a thing of beauty, and this new one from British master Douglas Skeggs is gorgeous. Set in Prague, that most European of cities, in 1991 just after the fall of communism, it rapidly drops us into a world of death and intrigue surrounding an art collection that used to belong to Rumanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Czech-born British agent Jan Capek has to deal with all sorts of conflicts--political, venal, criminal and sexual--as he tries to keep the world free.
From Publishers Weekly
Skeggs (The Triumph of Bacchus) has written an efficient spy novel that perfectly illustrates the emotional and geographic terrain populated by contemporary spooks. In 1991, not long after the Velvet Revolution toppled communism in Czechoslovakia, Czech-born British operative Jan Capek is sent to Prague when a furniture maker is killed. The dead man turns out to have been an art dealer who was trying to move the fabled collection of former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Jan meets a woman with a past, gets several sound beatings and eventually manages to convince a portly powermonger that he can broker the valuable artwork for vast fortunes. The sting is thus put firmly in place. Skeggs proves more than adept at creating a believable backdrop of intrigue and deceit in Prague. He also manages to incorporate all manner of genre staple without losing any of its taut credibility. Jan is at once ruthless and sentimental, painfully stupid yet wildly inspired in moments of desperate improvisation. He is duped continually by soft feminine bodies and is clearly rendered uncomfortable by his sometimes conflicting allegiances to the U.K. and the Czech Republic. We badly need more good spy yarns. This fine work delivers just in the nick of time.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I read a lot of thrillers and mystery books, and usually the quality of the writing is just OK, even though the genre ensures that the pages keep turning quickly. The writing in 'The Phoenix of Prague', on the other hand, is a notch above the usual.
I strongly recommend this book