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The Quest for Anna Klein: An Otto Penzler Book Hardcover – June 21, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
"Thomas Cook's work is elegant, philosophical, and literary. This book is to be treasured, and is bound to earn him new readers. Grade A" --Cleveland Plain Dealer
Top Customer Reviews
Danforth's friend Clayton initially asks Danforth to volunteer his country home in Connecticut as a training ground for Anna Klein, a spy-to-be who speaks nine languages. In Connecticut, "a little steel ball of a fellow" named LaRoche teaches Anna to shoot a pistol and to use the destructive tools of sabotage. Clayton asks Danforth to learn more about Anna, to be sure of her loyalty. As Danforth spends more time with Anna, he comes to understand that he is terrified by the prospect of living an ordinary life. Despite Clayton's warning of the perils he might face, Danforth volunteers to accompany Anna to Europe and to assist her role in the Project, without yet knowing what the Project might be. Encouraged by Anna and caught up in his "lust to matter," Danforth realizes he wants to be more than "a little spy"; he wants to do something important. He also wants to be near Anna. As they travel together to France and then to Berlin, Danforth gradually learns of the Project's dangerous goal. But he also learns more about Anna ... and what he learns he will later unlearn, and relearn, and repeatedly question.Read more ›
The writing style is conversational; questions, answers and a tale are woven into alternating time periods - present and past. The prose is rich in structure and salted with moral and philosophical ideology. The setting begins in America and Europe circa 1939 when Germany and Hitler was rising to power.
The tale is about one Thomas Jefferson Danforth, son of a well to do importer, living in New York city. Primed by his best friend, Robert Clayton, the unfulfilled and callow young Danforth, gets caught up in a plot of espionage that the conspirators name "the project". As Danforth is progressively drawn in by Clayton, Clayton introduces him to Anna Klein, a spy in training. Needing a location for training Anna Klein, Clayton convinces Danforth to provide his summer house in Connecticut (Winterset) for that purpose.
As Danforth observes Anna's training he is slowly and inevitably attracted to her; finally abandoning his current life to follow her to Europe as a co-conspirator in "the project". After arriving in Europe and initially completing some surveilance 'the project' is abandoned and a different more ambitious conspiracy is hatched. Before this new plan can be implemented, a traitor exposes the conspirators. Anna Klein is captured and taken away, Danforth is released. This begins Danforth's life long quest to find Anna Klein and to reveal and kill the traitor.Read more ›
Thomas Danforth lived a pampered life. On a wintery night in New York, his friend persuades him to provide a place and cover for a young woman, Anna Klein. She was to be trained for a secret operation inside Germany. Her training involved firearms and explosives.
The action is presented in alternating chapters of Danforth's life today and his narration of the events in the pre-war days.
Written with intelligence and literary excellence, we witness Anna facing her assignment with fatalism "...like a woman walking toward her future just as religious martyrs walked toward their execution sites..."
We know what was going on in Hitler's Germany with his actions against Jews but it appears that Anna doesn't. Thus we witness her bravery and stoicism while appreciating her as a character.
The reader also glimpses some of the action inside Germany and the brave few who are attempting to do something about it. It is a world of deception and treachery as we follow Anna and Thomas in anticipation of what might be in store for them.
Something goes wrong and Anna disappears. Then it is up to Thomas to find her, this task lasts much longer than Thomas could have forseen and leads to some surprises.
The message seems to be to believe in oneself and to have the courage to take action against an evil situation.
Thomas H. Cook's work is always entertaining and with the courageous characters who come to life in these pages, the author demonstrates intelligent story telling.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I will admit it took a bit longer to get into this book than it did for me to get into all of Thomas H. Cook's other novels. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Catherine Rotan
The plot was past-faced and intricate, with lots of moving parts. There was surprise upon surprise. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mystic by the Lake
Briefly, I thought the narrative method would fall into the Great Gatsby technique: the novel becomes, on subsequent readings, at least equally about the narrator, seemingly a... Read morePublished 8 months ago by R. T. Watson
This is the third "Quest for . . ." book I've ordered. I've sent copies to others. I would have sent mine, but I was afraid that it wouldn't get returned. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Sharon T Miller
Thomas Cook cannot help but tell a fascinating story and he does it once again. So full and rich I do think that one reading is not enough and will re-read but perhaps this time I... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kindle Customer
Anna Klein is an enigma, constantly changing, so elusive that one must wonder if Anna Klein ever existed at all. Read morePublished on April 8, 2013 by Grandma
It is 2001 and the city of New York has been scarred by the events of September 11. Paul Crane, a junior member of a think tank in Washington DC has been sent to New York by his... Read morePublished on October 17, 2011 by mhnstr
Thomas Cook's "The Quest for Anna Klein" is a multi-layered mystery with plenty of history to go along with it. Read morePublished on October 10, 2011 by JD Cetola
I usually always find stories intriguing when they begin with a 90 year old person looking back on their youth and recounting a fantastic tale. This book was no exception. Read morePublished on September 21, 2011 by Ferdy