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White Eagles over Serbia by Lawrence Durrell

White Eagles over Serbia (original 1957; edition 1980)

by Lawrence Durrell

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1414126,921 (3.5)11
Title:White Eagles over Serbia
Authors:Lawrence Durrell
Info:Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1980.
Collections:Your library
Tags:00 5477, PK477, peacock

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White Eagles Over Serbia by Lawrence Durrell (1957)



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Showing 4 of 4
Durrell evidently hoped this would be the start of a lucrative series in the James Bond mode, as he provided his hero with a couple of sidekicks, one of whom appears briefly while the other remains offstage, and a love interest. (But his literary model seems to have been John Buchan not Ian Fleming.) Apparently it didn't catch on however, or maybe Justine, which was published the same year, made enough money that he didn't need to go on with it. Well enough done that I finished it, but pretty empty.
  sonofcarc | Nov 4, 2016 |
Although he's supposed to be on vacation, Methuen agrees to a reconnaissance mission in Serbian territory in Yugoslavia. One agent has already died trying to discover the meaning behind recent activities in the area. Unlike the dead agent, Methuen speaks the language well enough to pass for a native. Will he be able to find out what's going on and get back to the safety of the British Embassy? Even more important, will he be able to indulge in some fly fishing in the rivers he remembers so well from his earlier visits?

The story leans more toward adventure/survival than espionage. The plot is fairly simple, yet it leaves some weighty questions unresolved. At the time the story takes place, Tito had not yet broken ranks with Stalin. Would the British government side with the resistance movement or with Tito's Communist government? The book would make an entertaining evening escape for readers who enjoy spy or adventure novels, as well as anglers. ( )
  cbl_tn | Dec 29, 2012 |
This is indeed a novel of suspense and intrigue. Plus a lot of description of forests, mountains and fishing. My, lots of fishing. It was a look into how the Brits conducted their covert activities in Tito-ist Yogoslavia - good to read that there was a time when one had to learn codes, send off telegrams, and rely upon low tech means of infiltrating someone else's territory (languages and a bally good peasant disguise!). The book covers one foray into Royalist territory, where those peasants are just as unpleasant as the Tito-ist peasants, but there you go. Not quite sure if the hero gets his girl in the end, but at least she's alive. A period piece. ( )
  mwittman | Apr 29, 2009 |

A more serious effort by Durrell here than his collection of humorous diplomatic stories which also drew on his time in Belgrade. The cover describes it as being in the genre of John Buchan but in fact I think it's pretty obvious that Durrell was trying to cash in on the James Bond phenomenon (Casino Royale was published two years earlier, in 1953, and Live and Let Die in 1954) by bringing his British secret agent hero to untangle murky doings in Serbia in (one assumes) early 1948.

It's a very nicely observed book in terms of the scenery, the people, the fishing (especially the fishing!), the weather, the politics (though in fact Durrell arrived in Belgrade to work only in 1949 - but I suppose he may have explored there from Corfu before the war). Unfortunately Durrell didn't quite pull it together in terms of plot. The narrative makes perfect sense, but our hero, Methuen, appears curiously unchanged by it all; he does get the girl out of danger, but it is not at all clear that he gets the girl; no huge lessons are learnt about love, loyalty or heroism (I was struck that the Royalist rebels were portrayed as being as unattractive as Tito's Communist officials and militia). So although it's a charming enough book, I felt a bit flat at the end of it. ( )
  nwhyte | Dec 3, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lawrence Durrellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ortega, Consuelo G. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Though Methuen usually lived at his Club whenever he was in London it was seldom that he was seen in the bar or the gaunt smoking-rooms.
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A British secret agent on a dangerous mission to solve a fellow spy's murder. After some especially taxing missions, seasoned secret agent Methuen wants nothing more than to take a long, relaxing fishing trip. But after a fellow British spy is killed in the remote mountains of Serbia, Methuen is called back into action. What follows is a suspenseful tale of espionage told with Lawrence Durrell's characteristic panache. Methuen sets up camp in the Serbian countryside and baits his hooks, hoping to draw out the men responsible for the murder. It's not long before Methuen realizes that he's in a fight for his own life against an unknown opponent. Are his true enemies the Communists, the royalist rebel White Eagles . . . or someone more sinister?… (more)

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Arcade Publishing

An edition of this book was published by Arcade Publishing.

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