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Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler
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Journey into Fear (original 1940; edition 1940)

by Eric Ambler (Author)

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6711224,476 (3.85)36
A thrilling, intense, and masterfully plotted classic suspense tale from one of the founders of the genre. Returning to his hotel room after a late-night flirtation with a cabaret dancer at an Istanbul boîte, Graham is surprised by an intruder with a gun. What follows is a nightmare of intrigue for the English armaments engineer as he makes his way home aboard an Italian freighter. Among the passengers are a couple of Nazi assassins intent on preventing his returning to England with plans for a Turkish defense system, the seductive cabaret dancer and her manager husband, and a number of surprising allies.… (more)
Member:bsabernathy
Title:Journey into Fear
Authors:Eric Ambler (Author)
Info:Alfred A. Knopf (1940), Edition: Red & Black Mystery Series, 184 Pages
Collections:Read and Owned, Your library
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Journey Into Fear by Eric Ambler (1940)

Recently added byRonWelton, JuliusRedzinski, ponnypoppy, runningbeardbooks, private library, marcorel, puckers, SCPeterson
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» See also 36 mentions

English (11)  Italian (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Set during the "Phoney War," Journey Into Fear captures completely those opening moments of World War II before the Fall of France and the entry of Italy into the war on the side of Hitler. Nobody really had an idea where the war would lead, and certainly nobody could imagine the outcome and devastation that would be the result five years later. Yet Ambler somehow seems to have a premonition of it all. And in this straight forward linear thriller, his characters all seem immersed in the moment. Because the moment is all you have. At book's end, the threat is literally on the horizon.

For this tale, Ambler creates a sinister pair of Nazi agents, an English moralist under the siege of temptations towards both lust and fear, and set of quirky Spaniards, surprising French, and woe begotten Italians, all encompassed by clever Turkish policemen.

The latter point is especially important. For Ambler specialized in bring Turkey and Greece into the picture of his crime settings. He does so again, here. And he also goes one better, incorporating a Romanian member of the Iron Guard into the action. I believe this is actually the second or third time Ambler used a member of the Iron Guard. That is fairly notable. Rarely do they figure into the fiction of pre-war or war fiction. In fact, rarely do they make it into fiction at all. That is one of the joys of Ambler, seeing him stake out territory that others miss or don't have the background to understand.

Oh, by the way, the story is the usual excellent Ambler style thriller. A page turner that will not loosen its grip on your interest. ( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
As the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle are the archetypal detective stories and Conan Doyle virtually seen as the father of the genre, likewise the novels of Eric Ambler are seen as the best earliest examples of the spy novel.
While some of Ambler's novels see a lot of action, «Journey into Fear» is more about the subtle build-up of tension of a man who knows himself in danger of getting murdered.
What makes the novels special is that they were written at a time when war was about to break out, and Ambler's assessment of the rise to power of the Nazis is very accurate and astonishing (not in this novel). Particularly to contemporary readers, in the late 1930s and early 40s these novels must had a great sense of actuality. To readers of our time the novels present an exotic forray into espionage of the first half of the Twentieth Century; they are still very exciting to read. Five of Ambler's spy novels have been reissued in the collection of Penguin Modern Classics. ( )
  edwinbcn | Feb 19, 2020 |
I suppose two and half would be the more accurate decision. Enough atmospere and twists but the impossible resolution bit me wrongly. There wasn't much of the literary present. A dearth of depth and plot which skipped forward over crucial development left a certain displeasure as well. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
I don't know what it is but despite the fact that this thriller had many elements I like, as a whole it didn't quite work for me. Maybe it was the personality of the main character... Maybe it was just my mood right now. Even though it was missing some ingredient to make it a great book for me, it was still a good example of the "innocent person caught up in intrigue" type of thriller & the setting was wonderful. ( )
  leslie.98 | Sep 25, 2015 |
Very 1940s; reasonable suspense; main character a bit thin but what we saw of him was interesting. ( )
  TadAD | Sep 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Primarily set on a ship in the Mediterranean with a small number of passengers, Journey into Fear is a closed-world narrative. While building the requisite tension and suspense, Ambler also keeps the political dimension in the foreground. Finding himself in the psychological equivalent of a death cell, Graham [the protagonist] is forced to reassess his outlook on life and experiences enlightenment. The boat journey becomes a journey of self-discovery, with fear being the necessary stimulus. Graham finds within himself the strength to resist what seems inevitable – his murder. In this way, he personifies Britain’s need to take on the Nazi threat.
added by Roycrofter | editCalifornia Literary Review, Brett F. Woods (Mar 26, 2007)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eric Amblerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gini, MariagraziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, NormanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The steamer, Sestri Levante, stood high above the dockside, and watery sleet, carried on the wind blustering down from the Black Sea, had drenched even the small shelter deck.
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A thrilling, intense, and masterfully plotted classic suspense tale from one of the founders of the genre. Returning to his hotel room after a late-night flirtation with a cabaret dancer at an Istanbul boîte, Graham is surprised by an intruder with a gun. What follows is a nightmare of intrigue for the English armaments engineer as he makes his way home aboard an Italian freighter. Among the passengers are a couple of Nazi assassins intent on preventing his returning to England with plans for a Turkish defense system, the seductive cabaret dancer and her manager husband, and a number of surprising allies.

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