Regular price: $20.24
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $20.24
Eric Ambler practically invented the modern spy novel -- his works set in the late 30s define the European noir version of the genre. Always there is a more-or-less innocent person caught suddenly in the web of international intrigue, and Ambler conveys the helpless, swept-along nature of the plots very effectively. His atmospheres and settings are beautifully done, one almost sees The Third Man playing in black and white with dramatic lighting as one reads. Except for the clumsily drawn American-but-a-Russian-agent Zaleshoff (Brits have always had trouble with American dialogue) the characters are fascinating, well-defined, and plausible. David Thorpe's narration is spot on -- he is great as the oh-so-English protagonist/narrator, and does a nice job with the atmospherics that are so central to Ambler's work.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Not one of my favorite Ambler novels, and I can't decide whether the problem is the book itself or the performance. The protagonist is an insufferable bore and constant complainer, but to some degree, perhaps a large degree, that may be due to the way Thorpe inflects his every utterance with a plaintive, grating whine. Similarly, the other main character, a Russian agent masquerading as an "American" businessman, is rendered with an American accent that is a bit of a mess and very distracting. Given that the bulk of the story involves these two in a sort of buddy-movie escape plot, this novel may be much better to read than to listen to.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Enjoyable romp through Fascist Italy with a American who might well be a Russian agent and our hero, a slightly dim Arthur Dent like character. The plot does stretch the imagination but the action is fast and furious.
The narration was a joy and for that reason I have upgraded the rating to four stars whilst the story only merited three.