A cynical English reporter and a beautiful, headstrong, American Olympic hopeful are caught in a lethal game of international espionage during the 1936 Berlin Olympics in Flight from Berlin, a riveting debut thriller from breakout novelist David John. Combining the suspense and atmosphere of Alan Furst's spy novels with the exciting narrative drive of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon adventures, John delivers an unforgettable masterwork of thrilling suspense set against the backdrop of one of the most monumental summers in history - a contest of champions, including the remarkable Jessie Owen, that captivated the world as the specter of Nazi Germany continued its rise to threaten the globe.
Eleanor Emerson arched her body through the air and broke the surface with barely a splash. In the world below she glided through the veils of sunlight, the bubbles of her breath rumbling past her ears. She surfaced, and air, sound, and light burst over her again. Her muscles were taut, ready for speed. Weekday afternoons were quiet at Randall's Island, the periods when only the dedicated furrowed the lanes, marking lengths as mechanically as electric looms. But today the pool seemed far from the world. She was the only swimmer in the water.
Weekday afternoons were quiet at Randall's Island, the periods when only the dedicated furrowed the lanes, marking lengths as mechanically as electric looms. But today the pool seemed far from the world. She was the only swimmer in the water.
At each fifty-yard length she tumble-turned back into her wake, cleaving the water, faster, beginning to warm up. After all the training was she close to her peak? Lungs filled; legs thrust...
If Berlin feels like a scary fog, John's coverage of scenes from the Olympic competitions puts the reader smack inside the roar and excitement of the crowds. Combining the pressure of young athletic performances with the stress of Hitler's efforts to stage a phony humanitarian show for the watching world and the unwinding fictional espionage plot highlights John's authorial mastery. It rivals the very best of spy novels. I would like to see more of Richard Denham, maybe in another adventure since this one is definitely a first rate nail-biter.
(Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
Full Review (778 words).
In Flight from Berlin, Richard Denham inherits his love for and fascination with zeppelins from his father. The highlight of his press coverage of the 1936 Olympic games is flying into Berlin on the Hindenburg with a film crew. At that time, passenger zeppelins were mostly a uniquely German phenomenon having been developed in the late 1800s by German war hero Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838 1917).
The Count first encountered so-called lighter-than-air travel during his visit to the United States in the 1860s with permission from president Abraham Lincoln. The flight was aboard a coal-fired hot air balloon. Years later, after he retired from the army, he began work on a steerable balloon-type airship and developed his first ...
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