BookBrowse Reviews Flight From Berlin by David John

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Flight From Berlin

A Novel

by David John

Flight From Berlin by David John X
Flight From Berlin by David John
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2013, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A debut thriller of international espionage during the 1936 Berlin Olympics

David John's imaginative genius shows on every page of his debut thriller as he wraps an intense fiction around the real events and people of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. As the male protagonist Richard Denham and his new friend/love interest Eleanor Emerson meet and become accidental spies, John steadily ratchets up the tension to such a pitch that I could not put the book down. I couldn't believe where it was all heading.

The Berlin scene is set not so much by lengthy nuts-and-bolts descriptive paragraphs but by slyly exposing the overarching atmosphere of Hitler's menacing omnipresence in the form of his jackbooted minions. It's as if all of the Berlin action takes place in a dense fog where nothing is clearly visible but sinister presences are viscerally felt. The threat hanging over Denham becomes increasingly frightening as his pursuers close in, certain that he possesses information the Führer wants destroyed at any cost.

John's characterization of Denham is solid. I never doubted or wondered what motivates him. He is the battle-scarred WWI veteran-cum-crusty investigative journalist. The character of Eleanor however, much as it is easy to see her portrayed in a movie by someone like Amanda Seyfried or Keira Knightley, is slower to develop. Other characters, including United States Ambassador to Berlin William Dodd and his rebellious daughter Martha, both drawn from real life, felt genuine. Especially since I had recently read Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts, about Dodd's tenure in Germany.

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 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

This review was originally published in July 2012, and has been updated for the June 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...
  • Book Jacket: A Spark of Light
    A Spark of Light
    by Jodi Picoult
    The central premise of A Spark of Light involves a gunman holding hostages within the confines of a ...
  • Book Jacket: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    by Hank Green
    As one half of the extremely popular YouTube duo "Vlogbrothers" (the other half being his brother ...
  • Book Jacket: Waiting for Eden
    Waiting for Eden
    by Elliot Ackerman
    Elliot Ackerman's latest novel, Waiting for Eden, follows Marine Eden Malcom as his death ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Paris Echo
    by Sebastian Faulks

    A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Strangers in Budapest

Strangers in Budapest

A couple trying to make a new life in a foreign land find themselves drawn into a cultural and generational vendetta.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.