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Stettin Station is the third book in David Downing’s very excellent John Russell series. With characters introduced and developed in the prior two books (Zoo Station and Silesian Station), the action of Stettin Station takes place in Nazi Germany during the period from Germany’s invasion of Russia (June 1941) to America’s entry into WWII (December 1941). With meticulous research and the development of personalities that the reader can care about, Downing captures the mood of the times and provides enough action to keep momentum on a forward path. I now look forward to reading the fourth book in the series, Potsdam Station, inasmuch as I’ve become totally engrossed in the lives and times of Downing’s characters. Although Stettin Station can be successfully read as a stand alone novel, I strongly recommend that a new reader start first with Zoo Station.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
The third book in the John Russell WWII series takes place in 1941. The Nazis have started shipping trainloads of Jews to unknown parts, though Russell suspects it can't be anywhere good. Hitler's troops are fighting in Russia, but the best information he and the other foreign reporters can get is what the Germans are willing to tell them, and apparently they are winning one victory after another. John's actress girlfriend Effi keeps being offered parts in movies with blatant propagandist scenarios, and the latest script would have her interpreting the role of a deviant Jewish woman who cheats on her Nazi husband... but can she refuse it without offending Goebbels and getting in trouble? Finally, after one of his spying missions goes horribly wrong, John is forced to escape Berlin, and Effi surprises him with her foresight and resourcefulness, but will they managed to leave together unscathed?
This was by far the most thrilling book in the series so far, and Downing plunges us into an entirely believable recreation of WWII Berlin, where the small pleasures of life can still be found even as the horrors of the war keep piling up. I mostly feel frustrated that I've let too much time go by since I finished listening to the audiobook before writing this review, because the details have faded from memory, and I see I can't come close to doing justice to this great addition to an excellent series. Just start with the excellent Zoo Station and make your way to this one, and I'm sure you'll be dying to get to the next book, just as I am. Simon Prebble delivers great narration.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful