July 2008 Indie Next List
“On the eve of WWII, journalist John Russell struggles to protect both his lover and his son while drawn reluctantly into murky international espionage. Downing artfully transforms the monumental conflict to human terms as he captures the atmosphere of Germany and the world on the brink.”
— Joe Strebel, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL
“Grade: A. . . . Downing’s mingling of history and thrills makes this a must read.”—Rocky Mountain News
“Russell is a canny and likable protagonist.”—BookPage
“Wry, secretive and clever. . . . Russell is good company in this intelligent thriller.”—Hadassah Magazine
“Twists and turns aplenty make this espionage novel a superb read full of tension and suspense. . . . An amazing piece of fiction which I hope is part of a much larger series.”—Crimespree Magazine
Summer, 1939. British journalist John Russell has just been granted American citizenship in exchange for agreeing to work for American intelligence when his girlfriend Effi is arrested by the Gestapo. Russell hoped his new nationality would let him safely stay in Berlin with Effi and his son, but now he’s being blackmailed. To free Effi, he must agree to work for the Nazis. They know he has Soviet connections and want him to pass on false intelligence. Russell consents but secretly offers his services to the Soviets instead.
It’s a good plan, but soon things become complicated. A Jewish girl has vanished, and Russell feels compelled to search for her. A woman from his past, a Communist, reappears, insisting he help her reconnect with the Soviets. Meanwhile, Europe lurches toward war, and he must follow the latest stories—to places where American intelligence assignments await him.
David Downing is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction for both adults and children, including Zoo Station, the first novel featuring John Russell. He lives in Guildford, England.
About the Author
David Downing grew up in suburban London. He is the author of the Jack McColl novels, Jack of Spies, One Man’s Flag, Lenin's Roller Coaster, and The Dark Clouds Shining; the thriller The Red Eagles; and six books in the John Russell espionage series, set in WWII Berlin: Zoo Station, Silesian Station, Stettin Station, Potsdam Station, Lehrter Station, and Masaryk Station. He lives with his wife, an American acupuncturist, in Guildford, England.
Praise for David Downing
"Epic in scope, Mr. Downing's "Station" cycle creates a fictional universe rich with a historian's expertise but rendered with literary style and heart."
—The Wall Street Journal
"Full of striking inventions."
─Kingsley Amis, author of Lucky Jim
"A beautifully crafted and compelling thriller with a heart-stopping ending as John Russell learns the personal faces of good and evil. An unforgettable read."
─Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series
"One of the most intelligent and persuasive realizations of Germany immediately before the war."
─Wall Street Journal
"In the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr ... [Downing is] brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin on its last legs."
“Downing distinguishes himself by eschewing the easy ways out. He doesn't shy away from portraying the cold brutality of the Third Reich, and his characters are far from stereotypes—they're flawed, confused and real.”