Ratlines

  • by Stuart Neville
  • Narrated by Alan Smyth
  • 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Ireland 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German national is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end, lest a shameful secret be exposed: the dead men were all Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government in the years following World War II.
A note from the killers is found on the dead German's corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's favorite commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. The note simply says: "We are coming for you."
As Albert Ryan digs deeper into the case, he discovers a network of former Nazis and collaborators, all presided over by Skorzeny from his country estate outside Dublin. When Ryan closes in on the killers, his loyalty is torn between country and conscience. Why must he protect the very people he fought against 20 years before? Ryan learns that Skorzeny might be a dangerous ally, but he is a deadly enemy.

More

Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, January 2013 - I listened to Stuart Neville’s debut novel Ghosts of Belfast 3 years ago, and was totally swept up by his seamless blending of fantasy into an IRA noir thriller. In Neville’s next two novels he delivered solid thrills, but they were slightly more traditionally drawn. But when I heard about his newest stand-alone Ratlines, I knew I had to listen to it. He heads back to his old narrative stomping grounds of an Ireland at war with itself, while bringing in an alternate history element involving Nazi stowaways. It doesn’t get more chilling than that! —Emily, Audible Editor

More

What the Critics Say

“Thrilling.... Readers will hope to see more of Ryan, a formidable yet damaged hero." (Publishers Weekly)
“Another moody winner mixes Nazis into Neville's usual Irish noir.” (Kirkus Reviews)
"Neville, whose debut, The Ghosts of Belfast, won the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller, concocts a believable plot with an intriguing protagonist torn between duty to country and his distaste for Nazi criminals. Fans of Jack Higgins and Ken Follett will enjoy this novel." (Library Journal)

More

See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Complex Crime Tale in Compelling Time and Place

As expected from Stuart Neville, this is a good, solidly crafted story that quickly captures the imagination with a morally complex mystery set in 1963 Ireland. The title "Ratlines" refers to a system of escape routes through Europe utilized by Nazis after the end of WWII. Having never heard the term before, I was surprised when a quick internet search revealed that the novel's villain, Otto Skorzeny, was not only a real historical figure, but the very Nazi who masterminded the "Odessa File" underground railroad for fleeing fascists. As Neville expertly builds a multi-layered foundation for his story, much is explained about Ireland's role in WWII. A large portion of the Irish population seemed to believe the old chestnut, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Unfortunately, Ireland's neutrality and some citizen's quiet support of Hitler's war with Britain brought the country to the slippery slope that is the background of "Ratlines."

Some reviewers have taken exception to Alan Smyth's narration of this book. While I see that Neville's previous titles are in my Audible library, I must not be as passionate about their narrator, the truly excellent Gerard Doyle. I thought Smyth's Irish accent pleasant and understated. A testament to Smyth's versatility is his ability to handle the narrative cocktail of several different European accents (so many old Nazis popping up!) with a South African and American chaser. He disappeared into the story and that's my definition of great narration.

Finally, I feel compelled to tell you that several scenes in this book are quite graphic in their description of torturous interrogation. I mean quite graphic. I mean, I pulled my earphones out for awhile, then listened again for a sec, then pulled them out for another while. To the author's credit, the scenes are so chillingly real, the dread experienced by the characters was easily grasped, giving further understanding of how fear drove their actions - and inactions.
Read full review

- Susianna

Where's Gerard?

I love Neville's trilogy and they are a few of the not many books I've listened to over and over. Gerard Doyle is terrific as their narrator. I'm still on part one of this novel and have had to backtrack several times because the narration is so boring and strange. Weird accents come and go with the main character sounding American and bad Irish depending on a whim. It's just too distracting. I'm debating buying the kindle version. The story seems interesting but I just can't stay interested due to Mr. Smyth's reading of it.

I'd recommend reading this one.
Read full review

- Deborah

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-02-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios