Kenton's career as a journalist depends on his facility with languages, his knowledge of European politics and his quick judgement. Where his judgement sometimes fails him, however, is in his personal life.
When he travels to Nuremberg to investigate a story about a top-level meeting of Nazi officials, he inadvertently finds himself on a train bound for Austria after a bad night of gambling. Stranded with no money, Kenton jumps at the chance to earn a fee helping a refugee smuggle securities across the border. Yet he soon discovers that the documents he holds have far more than cash value - and that they could cost him his life.
©1988 Eric Ambler (P)2009 Audible Ltd
I love Eric Ambler's narrative style and his savvy lefty politics. The narrator didn't quite spoil it - I'm not sorry I downloaded the book - but he tried. S.P. can't do voices and his accents are dreadful; he has no German, French or Italian, all of which he's called upon to read scraps of (often without translations following) so that even though I understand those languages I don't know what was said. He thinks 'volte face' is Italian, for heaven's sake, and pronounces it 'voltay fachay' - I mean.
"Intelligent, fast-paced thriller"
I recommend Eric Ambler to fans of John LeCarre and Alan Furst. The setting of Uncommon Danger is Europe in the early years of naziism and fascism. The story reminds me of something that Alfred Hitchcock might have made into a film a la "The 39 Steps." The protagonist is like a seedier version of the sort of character that Jimmie Stewart might've played in a movie.
The story really moves and despite the age of the book I never felt like I was having to make allowances for it or that it was dated. Ambler writes with vivid details and with economy. He has the knack for incorporating details that at first seem to be merely descriptive, and turning them into crucial elements of the plot, so it really keeps you on your toes.
Simon Poland does a fine job with the narration.
"Not as bad as sitting in a room full of ants"
This book took me a while to get through, for the simple reason that my tires whining along the pavement was more entertaining than this audio book. The lead character was unlikeable, and his cohort made no sense, you never learned his motives for constantly pulling the journalists fat out of the fire, and you never learned the villeins motives either, it seemed everyone was trying to kill each other over some pictures the significance of which was never clear. So as you gather I did not care for the plot, or lack of one. Another thing the politics of this book were beyond stupid, a guy from Stalinist Russia trying to save a Brit from corrupt capitalists over -?- never defined, they just wanted those darn pictures. Anyway the narration was well done, I will give it that but as a war time British spy novel, one of the worst I have ever heard. Gravely poor plot, poor character development, long bouts of tedious poorly written dialog.
"Good Story, Good Writing"
This is a classic spy novel written by one of the originators of this genre. It is story that will grab your attention quickly and hold it throughout. The writing and narration are both excellent.
"great "noir" writing"
Night trains, dark streets, seedy hotel rooms, body on the floor, fire escapes, car chases, desperate border crossings, creative ways of killing enemies, elegance and odd little Englishmen set the scenes for secrets, spies and betrayal. WW11 is on the way and alliances are sought while a freelance jouno is worrying about how to pay a few small debts.
Well narrated, great writing in this classic 'noir' intrigue. And yes there is a very pretty girl too who drives well and is good at rescuing young men in dire distress.
"Breath of fresh air, a well written spy novel."
When you listen to a well written book with excellent narration, you get lost in the book and that is definitely true of this one. I am looking forward to getting the rest of Amber's books. Always a joy to find a new author who produces quality espionage. books. A classic I wish modern writers would learn from.
Yet another solid thriller from Eric Ambler. What I appreciate most is the dynamics and spareness: he says what he has to say - and no more - to keep the reader engaged and the plot unfolding at a good pace.
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