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Summary

Europe, 1990. As the US begins to pull out its troops in a tide of isolationism, Britain is torn between its loyalties to the USA and its continental neighbours.

In America, a space shuttle crashes on landing, killing all but one of the crew on-board: a British man named Mike Dreyfuss, who will become vilified by the US press and protesters.

Halfway across the world, Martin Hepton, an English ground control technician watches as they lose contact with the most advanced satellite in Europe. A colleague of Hepton's who suspects something strange is going on is signed off sick, and never comes back.

Hepton decides to investigate his friend's suspicions and his trail leads him to Dreyfuss, MI6, the American military, and back to his former girlfriend, Jill, who is an up-and-coming journalist with the contacts and the courage to cover the story.

But there is much more at stake than anyone realises - and many more people on their trail than they can possibly evade....

©2019 Ian Rankin (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

What a disappointment.

I had heard good things about Rankin’s writing. So I was particularly looking forward to this. Unfortunately it reads like a juvenile attempt to cram every cliched 70s and 80s spy thriller and conspiracy plot between two covers. The story line is weak and characters are inconsistent. It just does not stack up.

It is well read. But even the greatest reader could not save this.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Should not have been published

Plot ridiculous and intricate
Should not have been published
Story well read but I debated whether I could be bothered to finish the book

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping

A 30 year old story about satellites and hi tech would normally be way outside my comfort zone. However, this is by Ian Rankin, and is up to his usual very high standard, and I was gripped within minutes. The narrator is good, making it easy to know which character was speaking. I can’t say much about the plot in case I reveal too much. Do read it though, you won’t be disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quite a gripping thriller.

Really enjoyed this. Been meaning to read Ian's early stuff for a while but I think the audiobook performance added to the story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

echoes of Ian Fleming and moonraker and others

couldn't help but see similarities between this plot and other similar tales however I enjoyed it for all that. as others have said it is a bit far fetched and lacks credibility but its fast paced enough to paper over the cracks but then I enjoy rankin tales that don't involve rebus....

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Spies and Space

Gripping and convincing with a satisfying dénouement, well narrated. Sorry to have reached the end

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Eerily close to our current reality

While in places bizarre and far fetched the central plot of intrigue and sinister power games rings rather true at the moment. Set in the 80s there's plenty of nostalgia to get lost in too.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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I tried!

Love Ian Rankin but could not get on with this book Tried three times but I understand the mixed reviews when it was first published. Its just not my cup of tes. Unlike the later books.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Not Rebus but.....

Loved it. Great story and remarkable that it is current considering written a long time ago. Great read.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Increasingly good!

After an initially slow start, it picked up pace to become increasingly enthralling and the characters became robust enough for one to invest in.