Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


The ratings:
5 stars  excellent
4 stars  very good
3 stars  good
2 stars  fair
1 stars  poor

Blog stats:

Navigate the site:

Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

Advertise: Rates & stats

Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« October BAFAB Week book giveaway: Debra Hamel, Trying Neaira | Main | Hallman, J.C.: The Chess Artist »

Gabbay, Tom: The Berlin Conspiracy

  

Printer-friendly page! Use print preview to see how this page will appear.

William Morrow © 2006, 294 pages [amazon]
3.5 stars

Jack Teller is a retired spook, having severed his relationship with the CIA soon after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. But two years later Jack is pulled back into service by his old handler: a Colonel in the East German Stasi is willing to hand over important information, but he insists on meeting only with Teller. Jack soon finds himself in a divided Berlin, where in a matter of days President Kennedy is due to deliver his Ich bin ein Berliner speech. In the meantime Jack has to unravel a complex plot--in which the deceptions are thick and it's nearly impossible to tell the good guys from the bad--with nothing less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

The author has a winner, though, in the character of Horst Schneider, the charming young German whom Jack befriends over a night of drinking, and who, happily, pops up repeatedly in the story to spice up the dialogue.Tom Gabbay's debut novel is a decent read. The plot is complex, though not edge-of-your-seat gripping. It's a quick read, the chapters divided into easily digested chunks, the writing an unexceptional, straightforward prose that's suited to the genre. The story is narrated by Jack Teller some number of years after the events described. Jack was 49 in 1963, so he'd be in his early 90's if we assume that his present is 2006. But whatever the specifics, Jack describes himself as "old" at the time of narration, and his age is problematic: the narrator's voice does not belong to an old man. Teller comes across instead as someone who is in the prime of life at the time he's telling the story. My other problem with the book also involves Teller: he is not a particularly sympathetic character. Certainly Jack acts heroically in the course of the story, yet Gabbay does not manage to make him emotionally engaging, so the perils Jack faces don't affect the reader viscerally. The book starts, too, with Jack doing something reprehensible, a dramatic decision on the author's part which I think may have been a mistake: it prejudices the reader against Gabbay's protagonist from the get-go, making it even harder to care too deeply about him. The author has a winner, though, in the character of Horst Schneider, the charming young German whom Jack befriends over a night of drinking, and who, happily, pops up repeatedly in the story to spice up the dialogue.

Not a bad book, then. Good for a light, quick read. I can imagine it being turned into a decent action movie--and given the author's professional history, a move to the screen is perhaps not unlikely: Gabbay was director of comedy programming for NBC in the eighties and nineties, and he has written a number of screenplays for television and film.

Review summary: Retired spook Jack Teller returns to service to meet with a Colonel in the East German Stasi in a divided Berlin. President Kennedy is due to deliver his Ich bin ein Berliner speech in a matter of days. In the meantime Jack has to unravel a complex plot--in which the deceptions are thick and it's nearly impossible to tell the good guys from the bad--with nothing less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance. The plot of Gabbay's debut novel is complex, though not edge-of-your-seat gripping. It's a quick read, the chapters divided into easily digested chunks, the prose straightforward. Unfortunately, Teller is not a particularly sympathetic character, so the perils Jack faces don't affect the reader viscerally. Still, it's a decent read, which I can imagine working well as an action movie.

Tags: , , , , ,

< Tweet it! | Reblog
https://www.book-blog.com/2006/09/gabbay_tom_the_.html
Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments




Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In


About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






The Sunday Salon.com



Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.