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Zoo Station by David Downing

Zoo Station

Historical Fiction   Thriller / Suspense   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   
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Sue Baker's view...

David Downing’s superb series of novels first appeared in 2007 with the publication of Zoo Station and I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy. My review of the time enthused “ A complex and edge-of the – seat thriller, think Robert Harris & Fatherland mixed with a dash of le Carre; it’s good, and there’s more to come”. I’ve had no reason to revise my opinion, through 6 novels; David Downing has evoked the feverish landscape of Germany and Europe in the Second World War period down to the last scrupulous detail.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Zoo Station a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'A book I couldn't put down. It's been a long time since I stayed awake all night to finish a book. This was one.' – Fiona Maclean.

Scroll down to read more reviews.

To read the Station titles in order:

Zoo Station

Silesian Station

Stettin Station

Potsdam Station

Lehrter Station

Masaryk Station

If you like David Downing you might also like to read books by Phillip Kerr, C. J. Sansom and Dan Festerman.

Who is Sue Baker

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Zoo Station by David Downing

Englishman John Russell is a member of the foreign press corps in Berlin and a first-hand witness to the brutal machinations of Hitler and the Nazi party in the build-up to war. Unlike many of his colleagues, Russell wishes to remain in Berlin for as long as possible to be close to Effi, his glamorous actress girlfriend, and above all to Paul, his eleven-year-old son who lives with his estranged German wife.

When an old acquaintance turns up at his lodging house, Russell’s life begins to change. Gradually he is persuaded by a combination of threats, financial need and appeals to his conscience to become a spy – first for the Soviet Union and then, simultaneously, for the British.

The grimness, the constant fear and the skin-deep glitter of pre-war Berlin form a rich backdrop as Russell, a reluctant hero and saviour for some, treads along ever narrowing lines between the Russians, the British and the Gestapo.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Zoo Station. You can read their reviews below.

Jillian McFrederick - 'a great start to a promising series...His vivid portrayal of life in Germany adds legitimacy to the story he tells and I look forward to savouring the rest of the series.'Click Here to read the full review.

Sue Broom - 'How can it have taken until practically the eve of publication of the sixth book in his ‘Station’ series for me to discover David Downing? I anticipate many happy hours catching up with the next five.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sarah Musk - 'An exciting but disturbing read. Set in late 1930s Nazi Germany David Downing has written a very credible account of those terrible times.' Click Here to read the full review.

Katie Hoare - 'David Downing has done a good job of finishing this book with the sense that there is more to come, and is baiting the reader into the next instalment of the series.' Click Here to read the full review.

Ray Orgill - 'John Russell is drawn into the murky world of espionage with all its suspense and danger.' Click Here to read the full review.

Tracey Poulter - 'beautifully crafted and perfectly evokes the atmosphere of Nazi Germany just prior to the Second World War...thoroughly recommended.' Click Here to read the full review.

Magda North - 'The Nazi era is very familiar, but somehow Zoo Station manages to capture Germany on the brink of war in a fresh and vivid way.' Click Here to read the full review.

Edel Waugh - 'A tense read with a laid back main character.' Click Here to read the full review.

Fiona Maclean - 'A book I couldn't put down. It's been a long time since I stayed awake all night to finish a book. This was one.' Click Here to read the full review.

Lindsey Whittle - 'Good spy thriller set in pre-war Germany and Poland; very atmospheric with good characterisation and action.' Click Here to read the full review.

Linda Hill - 'Zoo Station is a totally absorbing dark tale of pre-war Germany and thoroughly recommended.' Click Here to read the full review.

Cyllene Griffiths - 'Read this fascinating page turner and you’ll be hooked on reading the rest of the series!' Click Here to read the full review.

Further praise for David Downing.

"Excellent... A complex and edge-of-the-seat thriller... Think Robert Harris and Fatherland mixed with a dash of le Carré; it’s good, and there’s more to come" Sue Baker, Publishing News

"A wonderfully drawn spy novel. [An] auspicious début" The Bookseller

About the Author

David Downing

David Downing is the author of a political thriller, two alternative histories and a number of books on military and political history and other subjects as diverse as Neil Young and Russian Football.

Author photo © George Lewton

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Book Info

Publication date

11th January 2011


David Downing

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Old Street Publishing


320 pages


Historical Fiction
Thriller / Suspense
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Espionage & spy thriller



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