David Downing is a superstar writer of WWII spy fiction. I have already read and reviewed Zoo Station, the first book in the John Russell series. I recently finished book 2, Silesian Station. Time wise, it follows book 1 by a few weeks. It is early summer 1939. John and his 12-year-old son are returning to Germany from the United States by steamship. Among other things they were visiting John’s American mother (his father is English).
Russell has made contact with the precursor of the C.I.A. (the O.S.S.) and has added them to his portfolio of spy agencies he is working for– Russia, Germany, and Great Britain. Although he is not Jewish, Russell also starts to help rescue the persecuted Jewish citizens in Germany. His conscience causes him to become clandestinely active in this endeavor. John travels to the Czech Republic, Poland, Moscow, and SE Germany as he juggles all the agencies that want him to work for them. He also has a new employer, a San Francisco-based newspaper for which he is writing stories about Europe.
Downing’s books are fast paced spy/historical thrillers. The reader gets the feel for what it was like living in Nazi Germany prior to WWII. The tension is there at all times. Any knock on the door of your home, any phone call, any man on the street can spell doom and death. I highly recommend David Downing’s books.
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–Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
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