Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Alamut Ambush: Anthony Price

Summary at Goodreads:
A brilliant young electronics expert is killed by a car bomb seemingly meant for the head of the Foreign Office's Middle-Eastern Section. Intelligence officer Hugh Roskill is sent by David Audley on an investigation that takes him from London clubland to the Hampshire countryside, and deep into the complexities of Middle Eastern politics, to find the answer to two questions: who was the real target of the bomb? And what is Alamut? Against the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the period before the Camp David Accords, Dr Audley and Colonel Butler are confronted with an assassin capable of turning the Middle Eastern conflict into Armageddon.

This series is perfect for me; all of the 19 books were written before the end of the cold war and are about an intelligence organization functioning at that time. This is the 2nd one that I have read, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first one. Although the two books are different, they have many of the same characteristics. These are quiet spy novels, interesting, but not much action. The plot unfolds gradually and the characters, their interactions and growth are the best part of the book.

These books are referred to as the Dr David Audley/Colonel Jack Butler series, and I presume that means that those two characters show up in all or most of the 19 novels. The stories all seem to center around Audley, but there are other secondary characters who feature prominently in the series.

In The Alamut Ambush, the point of view character is Hugh Roskill, a young RAF Squadron Leader that has been assigned to the intelligence group. Hugh is involved deeply in this case because he knew the young man who was killed and is close to his family. In order to find out why the electronics expert was killed Hugh visits the family. As in the first story, there is a romance, and I found it entirely acceptable.

More than one review says that this is not one of the best novels in the series. If that is so, I have a lot to look forward to, because I like this story a lot. It will be very interesting to see what book 3 brings.

I first read about Anthony Price and this series of espionage novels at Nick Jones' blog, Existential Ennui. See his review of The Alamut Ambush here

My review of the first book in the series, The Labyrinth Makers, is here.

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Publisher:  Mysterious Press, 1986. Orig. pub. 1971.
Length:      219 pages
Format:     Paperback
Series:      David Audley / Jack Butler #2
Setting:     UK
Genre:      Spy fiction
Source:     I purchased my copy. 

12 comments:

  1. I'm glad to see you are enjoying this series. I have them all but haven't yet started. Ditto Deighton - 2 series, plus I want to get back to Charlie Muffin and Brian Freemantle.....where am I going to get the time?

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    1. I am loving this series, Col. Glad you reminded me about the Charlie Muffin series, I haven't gotten to that one yet. I know what you mean about time, I already have a long list of books to read next and then I keep adding more.

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  2. Oh wow, this sound wonderful! I love almost anything Cold War related. I just love espionage stories. Haven't read one since finishing The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. Off to look for these. --Keishon

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    1. I do hope you try one of these, Keishon, and that you like it. I am a real sucker for espionage stories, myself.

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  3. This does sound like an engaging series, Tracy. An 'intelligence' series can really be absorbing when the characters are fleshed out, as these seem to be.

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    1. It is a very good series, Margot, and I want to find more books soon, because I want to remember the characters from book to book. Sometimes when I leave a long time between books in a series, I lose the connections between characters. This book could standalone of course, and many people do read them out of order.

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  4. Nineteen books set in and around the Cold War — I didn't know that! I devoured these period novels in my teens.

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    1. I love the way Anthony Price's books are written, Prashant, sort of like le Carre, sort of like Len Deighton. It will be a challenge finding copies of some of the books.

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  5. I read a bit of Price about 3 decades ago and really liked them but not since - time to get cracking! Thanks Tracy.

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    1. I find too many authors I enjoy reading, Sergio, and it seems that I can never keep up with them. But this one is just perfect for me, so I am going to make it a priority.

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  6. I was introduced to these by a long-gone boyfriend many years ago, I had forgotten about them! I think I enjoyed them, but not as much as Le Carre or Deighton.

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    1. Deighton will probably always be my favorite, Moira, and thank goodness I still have plenty of them to read. For me, Anthony Price is up there with le Carre, and it is the same type of spy fiction. But I really just want to read everything by both of them.

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