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The third Jack McColl espionage thriller by David Downing (also the author of the WWII Station series) brings together two lovers in Bolshevik Russia.
Winter 1917: As a generation of Europe's young men perish on the Eastern and Western fronts, British spy Jack McColl is assigned a sabotage mission deep in Central Asia, where German influence is strong. As he quickly realizes, the mission only becomes more dangerous the closer he gets to its heart. Meanwhile, the woman he loves, Irish-American suffragette journalist Caitlin Hanley, is in Bolshevik Russia, thrilled to have the chance to cover the Revolution.
Caitlin knows Moscow is where she is meant to be during this historic event - even if she is putting her own life at risk to bear witness. But four years of bloody war have taken their toll on all of Europe, and Jack and Caitlin's relationship may become another casualty. Caitlin's political convictions have always been for progress, feminism, and socialism - often diametrically opposed to the conservative goals of the British Empire Jack serves. Up until now Jack and Caitlin have managed to set aside their allegiances and stay faithful to each other, but the stakes of their affair have risen too high. Can a revolutionary love a spy? And if she does, will it cost one of them their lives?
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The narrator ruined this book.
I always enjoy this author but just couldn't maintain interest with such a lacklustre presentation. Little emotion, characterisation and interest by the narrator in the story. It felt he was merely reading it and couldn't wait to finish,
I gave up.
Poorest Downing Book. Period
Downing has a tendency to write a history lesson and wrap it in a plot, but he usually manages to pull it off. Not this time. The arcane detail smothers a weak, weak plot. After falling asleep ( literally!) in places, I couldn't be bothered to rewind. And while the narrator tries his best, his sonorous voice for large stretches combined with a near non-existent plot is really off-putting. If I hadn't listened to all the other Downings in both series, I would not have bothered to finish it. As it was, I slogged through it in patches with breaks inbetween for other books.
- David Holroyd
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
The story line stretches credulity, and the characters are tired.
Would you ever listen to anything by David Downing again?
I enjoyed the 'Station' series, and have listened to the two previous books in this series. This is the weakest.
2 people found this helpful