Zoo Station

Zoo Station

A Novel

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
5
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Random House, Inc.
By 1939, Anglo-American journalist John Russell has spent over a decade in Berlin, where his son lives with his mother. He writes human-interest pieces for British and American papers, avoiding the investigative journalism that could get him deported. But as World War II approaches, he faces having to leave his son as well as his girlfriend of several years, a beautiful German starlet.

When an acquaintance from his old communist days approaches him to do some work for the Soviets, Russell is reluctant, but he is unable to resist the offer. He becomes involved in other dangerous activities, helping a Jewish family and a determined young American reporter. When the British and the Nazis notice his involvement with the Soviets, Russell is dragged into the murky world of warring intelligence services.

Baker & Taylor
When an American journalist living in 1939 Germany agrees to write articles for the Soviets, he gets dragged into dangerous activities and is sought by warring factions when British and Nazi intelligence discover his actions.

Perseus Publishing

Zoo Station is a beautifully crafted and compelling thriller with a heart-stopping ending as John Russell learns the personal faces of good and evil. An unforgettable read.”—Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge series

Praise for previous books by David Downing:

“The author combines his erudition with an excellent political imagination. He writes well, clearly and has a nice wit.”—The Sunday Times (London)

“An atmospheric thriller . . . furious pacing.”—Booklist

“An elegant rapid-fire spy story.”—The Virginian-Pilot

“Compulsive reading.”—The Sunday Telegraph (London)

By 1939, Anglo-American journalist John Russell has spent over a decade in Berlin, where his son lives with his mother. He writes human-interest pieces for British and American papers, avoiding the investigative journalism that could get him deported. But as World War II approaches, he faces having to leave his son as well as his girlfriend of several years, a beautiful German starlet.

When an acquaintance from his old communist days approaches him to do some work for the Soviets, Russell is reluctant, but he is unable to resist the offer. He becomes involved in other dangerous activities, helping a Jewish family and a determined young American reporter. When the British and the Nazis notice his involvement with the Soviets, Russell is dragged into the murky world of warring intelligence services.

David Downing grew up in suburban London and is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction for adults and children, including The Moscow Option, Russian Revolution 1985, and The Red Eagles. He lives with his wife, an American acupuncturist, in Guildford, England.


Shadowed by Nazi Germany, a British journalist walks a line fraught with intrigue and peril.


Blackwell North Amer
As 1939 begins, war looms over Europe. Anglo-American journalist John Russell has lived in Berlin long enough to have a German ex-wife and an eleven-year-old son there. He also has a longtime girlfriend, a beautiful German film starlet. Hoping to stay in Germany as long as possible, he writes human interest pieces for British and American newspapers, avoiding the investigative journalism that could get him deported.
But playing it safe turns out to be more difficult than Russell expected. He is approached by an acquaintance from his old communist days who asks him to write some articles for the Soviets. Russell is initially reluctant, but the work seems safe enough at first. At the same time, he becomes involved in more dangerous activities, helping a Jewish family as well as an idealistic young American reporter who is investigating Nazi secrets.
Soon British and Nazi intelligence become aware of Russell's involvement with the Soviets. All three want to use him as he is dragged into the murky world of warning intelligence services.

Publisher: New York : SOHO Press, Inc., 2007
ISBN: 9781569474549
1569474540
Characteristics: 293 p. ; 24 cm

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hania4987 Oct 02, 2013

This work is a great character study which also captures a taste of life in Nazi Germany at the beginning of 1939. It follows the evermore complicated situation of John Russell, a British-born journalist with an American mother, his German ex-wife and 12 year old son being raised in German society, along with his German girlfriend. He is a veteran of the Great War but has no real allegiance to Britain or America and despises the Nazi regime; he is also a former Communist sympathizer (but none of this is ever fully explained or explored). As events start to invade his own social circle, he is reluctantly drawn into a world of intrigue after he is approached by an old Soviet contact. In his professional life he is privy to a lot of information, but has chosen to suppress the dark side of the Nazi repressions in order to maintain his legal status as a foreign correspondent in order to maintain contact with his son. As he explains to an idealistic American colleague, he is one of 75 million people trying to keep their heads down.

j
jowalker1955
Jun 04, 2013

Excellent read about pre-WWII Berlin. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

GeoffAbel May 27, 2013

An excellent, well-crafted LeCarre-style thriller. Very immersive with good characters and plot and very well researched (sometimes to the point of distraction). Not exactly riveting and the author loses steam from time to time but still very engaging and worth reading.

b
Batsen
May 21, 2013

Not bad, but not Alan Furst, either in terms of characters, plotting, or historical atmosphere of the European pre-war era. Try him!

i
iowafalls
Dec 03, 2011

This is gripping historical fiction -- a must-read for anyone wanting to see pre-war Germany.

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