Masaryk Station, by David Downing
Reviewed by Claire Looby
Old Street Publishing
By David Downing
Old Street, £12.99
This last instalment of the John Russell series is set in 1948, mostly in Berlin, with the city’s increasing isolation from the West lending an oppressive atmosphere. Double agent Russell still manages to be the hero, despite playing each side of the political fence against the other, deftly weaving his way into and out of trouble. But now Russell and Shchepkin, his Russian comrade in espionage, are ready to call quits on the game. This is not the high-octane, James Bond-like espionage of car chases and close encounters with lethal bowler hats. This tale has more in common with John le Carré, involving big grey lies, loved ones being put in deadly danger, and the potential loss of personal freedom, if not life. Russell has spent five books pretending loyalty to a number of interested parties but always with an eye to a fail-safe route out of a life lived in the murky twilight. A thoroughly fitting conclusion to a highly entertaining series.