Berlin Game has ratings and reviews. Fergus said: ‘Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.’These insight. am. The inside story of the BBC adaptation of Les Misérables by the man who sexed up War and Peace. Premium. From left: Rachel Cusk. Berlin Game, UK anniversary reissue, with Schwartzman cover In the introduction to a later edition, Len Deighton stated that Bernard’s testimony in the books.

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It could be a dangerous task. Just as a physician might succumb to hypochondria, a policeman to graft, or a priest to materialism, so I knew that I studied too closely the behaviour of those close to me. Suspicion went with the job, the endemic disease of the spy. For friendships bberlin for marriages it sometimes proved fatal.

56: Len Deighton’s Berlin Game – Book Club

This is a very enjoyable spy novel. But the main arena for Deighton to display his knowledge is Berlin, the city, its berkin, the U-Bahn and seedy back streets, the river and lakes, the people, their customs and their characteristic German accent. Though over half the novel is set in diesel London, Berlin is the imaginative heart of the book. When the novel opens Bernard Samson is just short of his fortieth birthday.

Samson is past active field duty and has been safely driving a desk in London for the past five years. He is married to Fiona, herself quite senior in the Service — which struck me as unusual: She is from a well-off family and brought a lot of money to the marriage so they live in style — they have a Portuguese cook and two children, Billy and Sally, 10 and 8 years old.

The choice of a first person point of view is important because it gives the author all kinds of means of control. Part of the pathos xeighton GMM comes from the plain, factual style of presentation of what, in the end, become horribly upsetting events.

The 20 best spy novels of all time

The glaring example is towards the end of the book, where he tells the escaping spy von Munte that he knows who the mole in the Department is without even looking at the evidence von Munte has just risked his life to extract from his office in East Berlin. The plot is complicated but can be summarised quite simply: But as he makes a few preliminary trips to Berlin, and meets various of his contacts — prompting numerous reminiscences about his childhood there, as the son of a father working for British Intelligence immediately after the war — he and we get a sense of far more complex wheels-within-wheels, of a bewildering matrix of relationships which bind together various players.

Through this miasma of conversations, hints and tips Samson begins to suspect there is some kind of leak our end. There are no car chases or shootouts — though there are a few tense moments with guns in pockets — there is one murder a mistake, as it turns out. A lot of time is spent by Samson meeting his old contacts in Berlin and piecing together events from five years or so back, when there was a particularly flagrant security leak from the Berlin office.

Who was in the office at the time? Who could it have been? The head of the Berlin Office, ageing Frank Harrington, who Samson discovers has squirreled away a foxy young mistress in a house in the Berlin suburbs?

He had access to the secret information on the night of the leak, and he has certainly built up a nice little empire in Economic Information: Then again, what about Giles Trent, the nervous bachelor who Samson catches meeting a KGB agent in a Soho chess club, and is making further enquiries about when he makes the surprise move of trying to kill himself pills.

Dicky is on the scene quickly, followed by Samson who is authorised to take Trent to a safe house. Samson has his doubts. Almost as if he is a patsy, a deliberate decoy, to distract attention away from the real, much higher-placed, mole. At the safe house Samson bullies and threatens Trent with gaol, not for him but for his sister, unless he co-operates in a plan Samson cooks up to get Trent to continue passing intelligence to his Russian contacts, and offer them a comprehensive breakdown of the whole East German network.

The idea being this will flush the high level spy from cover…. Unfortunately, word gets back to the Brahms Four network ie Trent tells his Russian controller he is about to pass on a goldmine which will blow apart the East German networks, which the East German networks find out about and take seriously and one of them comes over to London, ostensibly to meet Samson, but in fact to assassinate Trent.


In the first half of the novel Deighton plants seeds of doubt about whether she is having an affair. Rich, attractive, younger than him, she has worked her way up in the Department on her own merit. Having done modern languages at Oxford she speaks good German and Russian. Does she get lonely during his frequent trips to Berlin? Has she started to have an affair? Now he thinks about it, she was introduced to him at a party all those years ago when he was already a junior officer in the Department and he helped his new love to get a job within the Department he seconded her application: Fro the very beginning was the entire affair, and then marriage, planned by a cold-hearted, scheming KGB agent and her controllers?

Has he spent the past 14 or so years providing the perfect cover for her treacherous spying? The plan is to co-ordinate the Brahms network with help from Rolf and Werner to smuggle out von Munte and his wife.

We know now that the mole knows that Samson has got hold of the evidence which agme their identity, a hand-written document, part of the security leak back in which found its way to the KGB files and which von Munte risked his neck to go to his office to secure.

Thus alerted that their identity is known, they have had to flee from London and, Samson is confident, will be forced to make a deal to release him. To say that Deighton has a number of prose styles might be overstating it; but he has a number of prose strategies which he deploys on different occasions and with varying degrees of success:.

I sipped a little beer and looked round the room. It was a barren place; no books, no pictures, no music, no carpet. Just a TV, a sofa, two armchairs and a coffee table with a vase of plastic flowers.

In the corner, a newspaper was laid out to protect the floor against oil. On it were the pieces of a dismantled racing bicycle that was being repaired to make a birthday present for his teenage son. No colour, no metaphors or similes, no interpretation, no overview or opinion about the scene.

In The Spotlight: Len Deighton’s Berlin Game | Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

After I rang off, I returned to my desk. When I unwrapped the pistol, I found a series of holes in the woollen scarf. Rolf Mauser had wrapped the gun in it before shooting Trent.

I had to use a magnifying glass for a clear sight of the marks left on the bullet cases by the process of hand-loading. His visit to the estranged Mrs Volkmann in the house where Frank keeps her and where, it turns out, she is in charge of a kennel full of aggressive Alsatian dogs, combines vivid description of the setting with the main purpose — to try and establish what, if anything, Frank has been betraying to her, and whether she is working for the Russians or for the Brahms network — gilded with sly jokes.

I could see a wired compound and a brick outbuilding where some dogs were crowding at the gate trying to get out. Whatever she saw there amused her, for she smiled to show perfect white teeth. So did the dog. Right at the end his East German Stasi interrogator says:. They crop up here, too. They always have to sit you down at the table for a lecture, or write you a long letter, or make sure they have not just the last word but the last thought too.

These last few novels have become more middle-aged, with frequent generalisations about men and women and married life and parents and children which I found not only otiose, but worked against the illusion that the protagonist is sharp and clever. They make the characters look dull and predictable. Knowledge Not only must the thriller writer display his vastly superior knowledge about spy organisations, the police, hardware and so on, but about the more devious aspects of human nature.

He had the compulsive desire to drink and nibble that is often a sign of nervousness. I watched the race. Good grief, the energy those kids had; it made me feel very old. I was too old for it. Full details on Wikipedia. All I can find is this trailer copied from what looks like a VHS recording of the Australian broadcast. After numerous adventures, the Unnamed Narrator retrieves the list and consigns it to the Intelligence archive.


The Russians double-cross the British by not smuggling the scientist; Vulkan double-crosses the British by selling the non-existent scientist on to Israeli Intelligence; the Narrator double-crosses the Israelis by giving them the corpse of Vulkan who he has killed instead of the scientist; and is himself almost double-crossed by a Home Office official who tries to assassinate him in the closing scenes, in order to retrieve the valuable documents. But our Teflon hero survives and laughs it all off with his boss.

A character from Funeral In BerlinHarvey Newbegin, inducts him into the organisation and shows him the Brain, the vast computer which is running everything, before absconding with loot and information, and then meeting a sticky end in Leningrad. After many diversions, including an induced LSD trip, he is ordered to hand over US nuclear secrets to a Chinese scientist, with a view to emphasising to the Chinese just how destructive a nuclear war would be and therefore discouraging them from even contemplating one.

Three or four genuinely powerful ones. Our man nearly gets shot by the right-wingers and killed by Russians in the Arctic, before realising the whole thing was an elaborate scam by his old boss, Dawlish, and his new boss, the American marine General Schlegel, to scupper German reunification talks. Via old contacts the narrator realises Champion is active again, but working for Arabs who are planning some kind of attack on Israel and which the narrator must foil.

We follow a senior detective at Scotland Yard, Douglas Archer, living in defeated dingy London, coping with his new Nazi superiors, and solving a murder mystery which unravels to reveal not one but several enormous conspiracies.

Convoluted, intermittently fascinating and sometimes moving, but not very gripping. It provides vital background information about nearly all of the characters who appear in the Bernard Samson novels, so is really part of that series.

The final impression is of a harrowing world where everyone is deceiving everyone else, on multiple levels. Australian doctor and ex-Vietnam War veteran Ralph Lucas finds himself caught up with Marxist guerrillas fighting the ruling government in the fictional South American country of Spanish Guiana and, after various violent escapades, inveigled into joining the long, gruelling and futile trek through the nightmareish jungle which dominates the second half of the novel. The novel comes to a climax against the violent backdrop of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in April Most of the characters and readers are still reeling from the bloody shootout when his wife returned from her undercover mission to East Germany at the climax of the previous novel.

This book re-acquaints us with all the well-loved characters deigton the previous stories, in a plot ostensibly about smuggling a KGB colonel out from the East, but is really about who knows the truth — and who is trying to cover up — the real cause of the Fiona-escape debacle.

Silas commissioned Jim Prettyman to be the middle-man and instructed him to murder the actual assassin, Thurkettle. As for degihton affairs: You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me hame new posts via email.

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Overview This is a very enjoyable spy novel. Bernard Samson When the novel opens Bernard Samson is just short of his fortieth birthday. The plot The plot is complicated but can be summarised quite simply: The idea being this will flush the high level spy from cover… Unfortunately, word gets back to the Brahms Four network ie Trent tells his Russian controller he is about to pass on a goldmine which will blow apart the East German networks, which the East German networks find out about and take seriously and one of them comes over to London, ostensibly to meet Samson, but in fact to assassinate Trent.

Could it be Fiona?

Dramatis personae In the service Bernard Samson — something intelligence agent, sardonic, clever, tough.