Saturday, February 25, 2012

Berlin Game: Len Deighton

Description from GoodReads:
"When a valuable agent behind the Iron Curtain signals he wants out, it's up to Bernard Samson, once active in the field but now anchored to a London desk, to undertake the crucial rescue. But soon, Samson is confronted with evidence that there is a traitor among his colleagues. And to find out who it is, he must sift through layers of lies and follow a web of treachery from London to Berlin until hero and traitor collide."


My thoughts:  
 A Cold War espionage novel, written in 1983.  Set in London and Berlin. I don't remember reading these when they came out, although I did read a lot of Le Carre (in the 60’s and the 70’s). I liked novels about the Cold War. When it ended, I did not read many spy novels. Maybe the new ones are too realistic, too close to home.

I recently read The Ipcress File, and I was disappointed. I got lost in the story, did not know what was going on in the first half of the book. I have read other reviews that said the same thing, so I don’t feel alone on this.  But I had several of the Bernard Samson novels so I tried Berlin Game, and I am very glad I did.

A lot of the book is dialog and I have a prejudice against books that are heavy on dialog. I enjoyed this one, so it may have to do with the overall style of writing. (Or maybe I should revisit my prejudice.) It helps that there is lots of humor and Bernard is aiming barbs at his bosses and at himself. And the story and background is told quite effortlessly through the dialog and Bernard's thoughts.

There are 9 books in the series. Three trilogies. I have read Mexico Set and London Match in the last two weeks and am currently reading Winter, which is not strictly in the series, but is a prequel (of sorts) to the series.

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