Excerpt from Brandenburg Gate by Henry Porter, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Brandenburg Gate

By Henry Porter

Brandenburg Gate
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2006,
    448 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2007,
    448 pages.

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"There’s no business like . . ." Seeing Harland’s face Jay stifled the joke. "It’s a pity you didn’t get his passport," Harland said.

Jay looked offended." You try kissing a dead shoe salesman with vomit in his mouth and see how long you can stand feeling him up at the same time. As things are, I probably established some kind of record out there."

"You think they knew each other?"

Jay shook his head. "Rosenharte said the man had an attack of some sort – practically fell into his arms foaming at the mouth." "We saw it from the warehouse. I got the impression he was just trying to speak to him. What about the taste you mentioned? You think it was poison?"

Jay wrinkled his nose. "Dunno. I feel okay."

"Good. So who’s monitoring his phone at the hotel?"

"Cuth has gone to take over from Jessie."

"Christ, I hope Jessie’s changed by now."

"Of course. She’ll look just the part. Rosenharte’s going to fall in love all over again."

"We don’t need him to. All that matters is that the Stasi believe she really is Annalise." Harland noticed the doubt in Jay’s eyes. "What?" he demanded.

"Well, there’s so much that is out of our control."

"It’s an intelligence operation, for Pete’s sake, Jamie, not a bloody garden party."

"Well, we’ve done our best with the letters and Jessie, but in the end it all depends on Rosenharte’s reaction."

"Right," said Harland. "If for one moment he looks like he doesn’t recognize her, or gives the slightest hint she isn’t Annalise, he’s lost and might as well defect tonight. He won’t last a minute under Schwarzmeer’s interrogation."

"Schwarzmeer?"

"Yes, Brigadier-General Julius Schwarzmeer, director of the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung." He paused and looked at Jay’s eager face. "Sorry, I forget that you’re rather rusty on all this. Still, it’s good of you to give your time like this."

"The HVA is the foreign arm of the Stasi – a sub-section, right?"

"Yes, they’re in the same building in Normannenstrasse and the HVA has officers in all the Stasi regional headquarters."

"The same people, then?"

"The HVA are better trained, better paid and allowed to travel to the West. The ordinary Stasi officer has to make do with the occasional holiday in Bulgaria."

"And the purpose of all this? I mean, I get the immediate aim, but what’s the bigger picture?"

"If it comes off, you’ll see. It may even help in your patch."

"With all respect I very much doubt Oman is going to benefit from this."

"You’d be surprised. Shake the sand out of your boots, Jamie. There’s a lot to connect the problems in your part of the world with the Stasi. That’s what this operation is about. That’s why I have the chief ’s blessing and why the Joint Intelligence Committee so eagerly await the results of our efforts here tonight."  He stopped.  "Look, I’d better be getting along. I want to give the wallet to the Italians and I’m interested to hear what they’ve got to say about Rosenharte’s state of mind after that business out on the pier."

They climbed out the back of the van together. It was almost dark by now. Harland noticed that huge thunderclouds had formed and trapped the heat in the city. The last light from the west touched their summits and gave each a rosy peak.

Excerpted from The Brandenberg Gate, (c) 2006 Henry Porter. Reproduced with permission of Grove Atlantic. All rights reserved.

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