The Unfortunate Englishman Summary and Reviews

The Unfortunate Englishman

A Joe Wilderness Novel

by John Lawton

The Unfortunate Englishman by John Lawton X
The Unfortunate Englishman by John Lawton
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2016
    400 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

The Unfortunate Englishman is a thrilling tale of Khrushchev, Kennedy, a spy exchange .... and ten thousand bottles of fine Bordeaux. What can possibly go wrong?

Having shot someone in what he believed was self-defense in the chaos of 1963 Berlin, Wilderness finds himself locked up with little chance of escape. But an official pardon through his father-in-law Burne-Jones, a senior agent at MI6, means he is free to go - although forever in Burne-Jones's service. His newest operation will take him back to Berlin, which is now the dividing line between the West and the Soviets.

A backstory of innocence and intrigue unravels, one in which Wilderness is in and out of Berlin and Vienna like a jack-in-the-box. When the Russians started building the Berlin wall in 1961, two unfortunate Englishmen were trapped on opposite sides. Geoffrey Masefield in the Lubyanka, and Bernard Alleyn (alias KGB Captain Leonid Liubimov) in Wormwood Scrubs. In 1965 there is a new plan. To exchange the prisoners, a swap upon Berlin's bridge of spies. But, as ever, Joe has something on the side, just to make it interesting, just to make it profitable.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Outstanding ... Real historical events - the building of the Berlin wall, J.F.K.'s visit there - lend verisimilitude to Joe's attempt at one last big scam. Intricate plotting, colorful characters, and a brilliant prose style put Lawton in the front rank of historical thriller writers." - Publishers Weekly

"Wilderness is the perfect Cold War protagonist. With his second adventure (Then We Take Berlin, 2013), Lawton bids fair to build a compelling rival to his seven-volume Troy series." - Kirkus

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Author Information

John Lawton Author Biography

John Lawton is a producer/director in television who has spent much of his time interpreting the USA to the English, and occasionally vice versa. He has worked with Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Scott Turow, Noam Chomsky, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter and Kathy Acker. He thinks he may well be the only TV director ever to be named in a Parliamentary Bill in the British House of Lords as an offender against taste and balance – he has also been denounced from the pulpit in Mississippi as a `Communist', but thinks that less remarkable.

He spent most of the 90s in New York – among other things attending the writers' sessions at The Actors' Studio under Norman Mailer – and has visited or worked in more than half the 50 states – since 2000 he has lived in the ...

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