Ungentlemanly Warfare: a WW2 spy story

Despite what the title suggests, this is an entirely gentlemanly novel of behind-the-lines, undercover activity in occupied France during WW2. It’s an old-school espionage adventure which cleverly captures the classic vibe of films like The Great Escape. I almost expected Dickie Attenborough and Kenneth Moore to appear as character cameos… …and in fact Howard Linskey,…

Alphabet House: worthy but wordy

Let’s start by directly contradicting the marketing blurb. This is not a ‘gripping psychological war thriller’, nor is it ‘a great introduction’ to Jussi Adler-Olsen, better known for his Department Q Scandi crime / Nordic noir series. Alphabet House is a much earlier work, originally published in 1997 and it was Olsen’s first foray into…

A Hero In France: stilted spy story

Author Alan Furst is a literary giant, a writer I admire enormously. His spy stories of wartime resistance evoke an insidious atmosphere of paranoid oppression, offset in near-equal measure by extreme human endeavour and endurance. Determination and despair permeate his pages in equal measure. His characters are flawed examples of humanity, compelled by circumstance into…