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What did you like about this audiobook?
The intrigue and the settings.
How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?
I shall try another Anthony Price novel.
Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?
What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?
The male characters sounded as though they were professionally equal and contemporaries, even though they were neither.
Do you have any additional comments?
In spite of its title, “The Alumet Ambush” (1971) is a curiously domestic novel, with its East Sussex settings and Departmental feuds in London, the latter reminiscent of a dysfunctional family. The South coast scenes – the South Downs, the Old Man of Wilmington, Jevington, Alfriston, East Firle, the Beacon – are, however, Anthony Price’s solution to the task of writing about England and yet seeking to invoke international espionage, largely through conversations, rather than actions reported in the third person, in different English locations. For those scenes are memories of England; not simply England, rather than Britain, but a narrow sub-set of Englishness. Firle is "somewhere he [Roskill, the main character] had once been happy." If readers can accept that the murder of a spy, which sets the plot going, is globally significant in spite of its domestic and institutional context, and accept that the conflict between Arabs and Jews in the immediate pre-Camp David period can be understood in terms that East Firle and the Department will appreciate then “The Alumet Ambush” will work for them.
Although the characters can easily be ranked in seniority, they all sound (in the audio version, at least) like equals and contemporaries, and probably contemporaries at their various public schools. A few are ex-RAF types. The main female characters, Faith and Mary, verge on being ridiculous, guilty signs, perhaps, of a liberal author writing in a sexist genre. David Audley is the most interesting character, not least because of Price’s technique of keeping him on the periphery for a while and coming at him via Hugh Foskill. It is Audley who will likely lead me to read another of Anthony Price’s unusual spy novels, even though this novel doesn’t work for me.
Price's novels are full of interest, though this one seemed a bit rushed at the end. I am still unsure if all the plot elements were tied up, but the reading is expertly done.