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The Empire of Night: A Christopher Marlowe…
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The Empire of Night: A Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller

by Robert Olen Butler

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Empire of the Night – Another Brilliant Outing For Kit Cobb

Empire of the Night is the third book in the Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe Cobb spy thriller series from the excellent writer Robert Olen Butler. Butler once again has researched and written an exciting story that draws you, some may accuse him of being formulaic, but one thing this book is; is predictable. There are once again nods to some historic figures some of whom you will have heard of such as Einstein and others such as Dr Fritz Haber you may not have heard of.

Kit Cobb is back in London at the Tavistock Hotel, where the United States have placed their journalist come spy when required. While little over 150 miles away the First Battle of Ypres has taken place and London night life seems to be continuing apace. Cobb has received a ticket from his mother to see her play Hamlet while they are both in London.

He is later informed that he and his mother are working together to spy on Sir Albert Stockman a Member of Parliament for a Kent constituency and suspected traitor. Cobb has been given a back story of being a journalist who is writing for a pro-German American newspaper that is focusing on the work of Isobel Cobb.

He is invited along with his mother for a weekend to spend the weekend at the home of Sir Albert Stockman. He takes the opportunity to search for evidence either for or against Stockman as to whether he is a traitor or not. When one of his employees is murdered he disappears along with Isobel Cobb in the night.

Then begins his real work as an American spy as he is sent to Berlin to spy on Albert Stockman and find out what he is doing. So begins the many twists in the story as he has to somehow stay ahead of Stockman, find out what he wants to do or is going to do. As well as find out why Stockman has such an interest in the Zeppelins that have been bombing London during the course of the war.

What we get is an introduction to the thoughts of the Germans towards their enemy the English and how the blockade was affecting the people of Germany. He also finds not everyone is supportive of the Kaiser but who he can trust is another matter. He also needs to stay as close as he can to Stockman without being caught or suspected to be an American spy. At the same time we see Cobb’s relationship with his mother develop further and how they need each other to stay alive.

Robert Olen Butler has written an excellent spy thriller that has the right amounts of twists while remaining a pacey story, and avoiding the usual spy clichés. His research is second to none, especially when he mentions a beer that has not been brewed in nearly 75 years which shows how far he is willing to go to make sure the lives are reflective of the period. An excellent spy thriller that is not predictable but enjoyable from beginning to end. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Sep 23, 2015 |
It is 1915 and Kit Cobb is working undercover in a castle in Kent which is owned by a suspected British Government Mole Sir Albert. This is one of a series of books that features Kit Cobb, I have not previously read any of the other books. I have never read or heard of the author and this series before.
I found this to be a finely laced together story. It mixed intrigue and politics and was a rip roaring yarn. It is told from the view of an American during the 1st world war.
As Kit gets closer to discovering exactly what Sir Albert is capable of, the tension mounts and all the while having to try and ensure that his mother doesn’t let her feelings interfere with their duty to the U.S. intelligence service.
I found this book to be a thoroughly good read and will activiely seek out other books from this author to read. ( )
  dally33 | Sep 16, 2015 |
I was really please to be asked to review The Empire of Night from Real Readers as I was familiar with this authors writing. I have previously reviewed The Hot Country and The Star of Istanbul.

This is the third Christopher Marlowe Cobb book in the series. As this book is not due for publication till November I urge you to get into this author’s writing by reading the first two books.

The main character “Kit”Cobb is an established spy working for the American Government, but in the cover of a war correspondent. The date is 1915 in the heart of London’s Theatreland and at the beginning of the bombing of London; his mother who is an actress joins her son who travels to Berlin. This is a dangerous time and double espionage.

Appropriate that this is a hundred years ago and the Great War is being remembered. Although this is fiction the author has researched this period well and fact and fiction work so well in this thriller.

The characters are written well, and has worked the story round writing in the first person

The author has established himself so well now and is producing great thrillers.

The author has written a first world war James Bond and it is almost Ian Fleming meets James Buchan.

This author is going places and I would urge you to dip your toe into some great thriller writing. ( )
  mexico24 | Sep 8, 2015 |
The Empire of Night - Robert Olen Butler

This is the third Christopher Marlowe Cobb thriller and I’m tempted to say that if you’ve read one then you’ve read them all but that sounds derogatory and that couldn't be further from my intention.
This edition, apparently, “is a special pre publication limited edition of 200 copies to mark the Robert Olen Butler UK tour”. But before you get as excited as I did the tour was in May and I missed it.

My real problem is what can I add to what I have already said in my reviews of the previous two books? It is on a par with them, formulaic almost but without being predictable. What that does though is allow one to know what to expect from the writer. However all of these books can be enjoyed as stand alone tales. They all have a consistency within them.

What I particularly enjoyed in The Empire of Night is the development and exploration of the relationship between Kit and his mother. I thought that was very well done and captured enough emotion without being sentimental.

Other than that, again, it’s structured, intelligent writing from an experienced writer. A good adventure story, a war story with a purpose, some cerebral violence that never becomes gratuitous, doesn't make it pleasant though. And plenty of characters created with depth and integrity.

It’s excellent of its genre and won't disappoint if you’re a fan of the genre, and the previous stories. ( )
  shizz | Sep 3, 2015 |
The Empire of Night is the third book in a series featuring Christopher “Kit” Marlow Cobb. The story continues from the previous instalment (‘The Star of Istanbul’) but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. The story takes place during WWI and Kit is now a fully-fledged spy working undercover for the American government and aided by British counterparts. He is now joined by Isabel Cobb, his actress mother, who will play a pivotal role in his new mission. As part of her touring production of Hamlet, Isabel will travel to Berlin with her new male fan and suitor, Sir Albert Stockman, a suspected British government mole and possible German spy. Kit will follow his mother into Berlin and will play a double game of espionage where the future of the city of London and American involvement in the war are in danger.

I have enjoyed this thrill-logy (yes, these novels are very fast paced and will keep you in suspense) and love the character of Kit Cobb. The plot gets more engaging and interesting from novel to novel and the storyline in this latest installment surpassed the previous novel. The situations are very realistic and the story is fascinating and very fast paced. The mission on the zeppelin at the end of the book kept me in suspense and I could not put the book down. The character of Isabel Cobb takes a more prominent role this time and the relationship between Kit and his mother is explained in more depth, which also gives more insight into the character’s upbringing and childhood.

The narrative was very fast-paced and the suspense of the plot kept me hooked until the very end. I am very much looking forward to the fourth installment in the series. Kit deserves more missions and I can’t wait to read them. ( )
  ninnytendo | Aug 26, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802123236, Hardcover)

In the first two books of his acclaimed Christopher Marlowe Cobb series, The Hot Country and The Star of Istanbul, Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler captured the hearts of historical crime fiction fans with the artfulness of his World War I settings and his charismatic leading man, a Chicago journalist recruited by American intelligence.

In The Empire of Night, it is 1915, and President Woodrow Wilson is still assessing the war's threat to the United States. After proving himself during the Lusitania mission, Kit is now a full-blown spy, working undercover in a castle on the Kentish coast owned by a suspected British government mole named Sir Albert Stockman. And Kit is again thrown together with a female spy—his own mother, the beautiful and mercurial Isabel Cobb, who also happens to be a world-famous stage actress. Starring in a touring production of Hamlet, Isabel's offstage role is to keep tabs on the supposed mole, an ardent fan of hers, while Kit tries to figure out Stockman's secret agenda. Following his mother and her escort from the relative safety of Britain into the lion's den of Berlin, Kit must remain in character, even under the very nose of the Kaiser.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:04 -0400)

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