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Summary

The stunning debut from the new name to watch in espionage thrillers. For fans of Charlotte Philby, The Night Manager and Rory Clements, this is perfect Sunday night (or any night) drama.

Lisbon, 1943. After escaping from Nazi-Occupied France, SOE agent Elisabeth de Mornay, codename Cecile, receives new orders: she must infiltrate high society in neutral Lisbon and find out who is leaking key information to the Germans about British troop movements. As Solange Verin, a French widow of independent means, she will be able to meet all the rich Europeans who have gathered in Lisbon to wait out the war. One of them is a traitor, and she must find out who before more British servicemen die. 

Complications arise when 'Solange' comes to the attention of German Abwehr officer Major Eduard Graf. As they get to know each other, she struggles to keep her lies close to the truth. 

But in a city that is filled with spies, how can she tell who is friend or foe? 

©2020 Mara Timon (P)2020 Bonnier Books UK

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Bullets and Balenciaga

Having read several positive reviews praising a debut novel I was expecting better than this. One reviewer likened it to Casablanca meeting le Carre. A better comparison would be Girl’s Own meets chick lit. I felt no tension or menace even though the feisty heroine was surrounded by spies, informers, secret police, gestapo agents and other dangerous people. The language was often too modern and did not always fit the time or place, for example - a hard shoulder in the 1940s or a maitre’d in every establishment whether grand or work-a-day. I was hoping the final two chapters would reveal a surprise but, having been primed for a sequel, was, instead, given a potted history of the S.O.E. and a travelogue for Lisbon.

17 people found this helpful

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Formulaic spy story

Having a female author and protagonist I had hoped that this would be different to a standard WWII espionage thriller; particularly as Portugal features in so few of them. However the characters are totally one dimensional and the dialogue clunky at best. The narrator doesn't help either with emphasis placed in very curious parts of a sentence. Ending is too corny for words.

For a far superior female spy in WWII, I suggest people try David Downing's superb 'station' series instead.

9 people found this helpful

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Poor

Very poor. Little effort given to descriptive writing and character development. Plot line bubbles along and generally not well thought through.

4 people found this helpful

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Outstanding debut novel.

What an outstanding debut novel this is. A convincing blend of thriller, action/adventure and history of some events in the Second World War. It s exciting and non stop action keeps you absorbed from the very beginning. I listened in two sittings. Only stopping to sleep at the end of a long day. Each section/setting is almost a novel in its own right. Many authors would be grateful to have one of the plots to launch as their own. To complete the enjoyment, Kirsten Athertons’ narration was absolutely perfect! Her range of voices, personalities, accents and genders are amazing. She embodied the main character totally. And I’m sure narrated exactly as Mara Timon would have wanted. This ladies are an author and narrator I will definitely look out for in the future. Well worth 5 stars and your next credit!

4 people found this helpful

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Alo!Alo!

Awful just awful gave up after chapter 4…ridiculous storyline and comic German accents were just too much to bear
I know it’s free but come on!

2 people found this helpful

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Dreadful

Totally unbelievable tosh. The plot was beyond my ability to suspend disbelief. By the end I was just frustrated and annoyed.

2 people found this helpful

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Exciting!


This is an all-action, sexy and meticulously researched espionage novel.
I love the way it gets straight into the action without the usual set-up of recruitment and insertion. It also makes the Germans and their sympathisers into real people who can be liked (or even loved) rather than the ciphers they often are in this genre.
Excellent!

2 people found this helpful

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Stunning Debut Novel

Wow, what a "tour de force" for a debut novel, captivating story and wonderfully narrated.

1 person found this helpful

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Unconvincing.

In fact, utterly unbelievable. A passable yarn ruined by some wince making dialogue and some historical howlers. The main character seemed to be transplanted from the 2020s directly into the 1940s ... it was jarring . The other characters were drawn from central casting ...cruel Germans .. stuck up Brits ... passionate French. Could not finish .

1 person found this helpful

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A captivating story...ripe for a movie deal!

A fantastic tale that beautifully blends history and second world war romanticism. A truly original take on the British Special Operations Executive operations in France and Portugal. A really vivid narration, waiting expectantly for the next instalment!

1 person found this helpful