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Then We Take Berlin

by John Lawton

Part of the Joe Wilderness Series Series

eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading View on Then We Take Berlin

A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.

British author Lawton is one of the unsung heroes of espionage tales. Over the years, he has created an elegant grey universe of ordinary people lost in the winds of political  change and intrigue that is reminiscent of John Le Carre at his best, but has seldom attracted equal attention. He has long been an expert bringing to life historical periods of the recent past in the 7 titles to date of his Inspector Troy series and in the process built an entrancing chronicle of post-Empire Britain, some minor characters of which return in this stand-alone novel in which John Holderness, a rascal-like black market entrepreneur is recruited into postwar MI6 and assigned to cold war Berlin. His story spans two decades into the 1960s and is a meticulous recreation of a fascinating era and city but also a gripping thriller with all the right ingredients and surprises.

Maxim Jakubowski

Then We Take Berlin Synopsis

John Holderness, known to the women in his life as 'Wilderness', comes of age during World War II in Stepney, East London, breaking in to houses with his grandfather. After the war, Wilderness is recruited as MI5's resident 'cat burglar' and finds himself in Berlin, involved with schemes in the booming black market that put both him and his relationships in danger. In 1963 it is a most unusual and lucrative request that persuades Wilderness to return - to smuggle someone under the Berlin Wall and out of East Germany. But this final scheme may prove to be one challenge too far...Then We Take Berlin is a gripping, meticulously researched and richly detailed historical thriller - a moving story of espionage and war, and people caught up in the most tumultuous events of the twenty-first century.

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Then We Take Berlin Press Reviews

'A candidate for the most entertaining historical novel of the year... fantastically engaging.' -- USA Today


'A stylish spy thriller.' -- The New York Times


'Lawton's gift for atmosphere, memorable characters and intelligent plotting has been compared to John le Carre, but his dry humor also invokes the late Ross Thomas. Thomas wrote smart espionage that was serious but never, so to speak, without a twinkle in its eye. Never mind the comparisons - Lawton can stand up on his own, and Then We Take Berlin is a gem.' -- Seattle Times


'John Lawton finds himself in the same boat as the late Patrick O'Brian - a sublimely elegant historical novelist as addictive as crack but overlooked by too many readers for too long.' -- Daily Telegraph on A Lily of the Field


'Admirable, ambitious and haunting, this is the sort of thriller that defies categorisation. I look forward with enthusiasm to the next one.' -- Spectator on A Lily of the Field


'John Lawton's books contain such a wealth of period detail, character description and background information that they are lifted out of any category. Every word is enriched by the author's sophistication and irreverent intelligence, by his meticulous research and his wit.' -- Literary Review on A Lily of the Field

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781611856125
Publication date: 05/12/2013
Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781611856125
Publication date: 5th December 2013
Author: John Lawton
Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 432 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Espionage & spy thriller,

About John Lawton

John Lawton is the director of over forty television programs, author of a dozen screenplays, several children's books and seven Inspector Troy novels. Lawton's work has earned him comparisons to John le Carre and Alan Furst. Lawton lives in a remote hilltop village in Derbyshire.

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