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Uncommon danger by Eric Ambler
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Uncommon danger (original 1937; edition 2009)

by Eric Ambler (Author), Thomas Jones (Introduction)

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266None42,635 (3.68)12
Member:edwinbcn
Title:Uncommon danger
Authors:Eric Ambler (Author)
Other authors:Thomas Jones (Introduction)
Info:London: Penguin Books (2009)
Collections:Read but unowned, Read All Time, Read in 2012
Rating:****
Tags:English Literature, British Literature, Novel, CASS

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Uncommon Danger by Eric Ambler (1937)

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This was a lot of fun. Fast-paced, interesting characters. Just about perfect for an espionage novel without too much angst. ( )
  dmmjlllt | Feb 8, 2013 |
Taking anything across the border for anyone spells trouble, especially if for high payment. The British journalist Kenton takes the offer, as he has just lost all his money gambling. The following day, when he tries to deliver the envelope and collect his fee, he finds the agent murdered.

Upon inspection, Kenton discovers that the envelope contains a number of photos, which, in the wrong hands could lead to a war on the Balkans, and the rise of Fascism in the region. Obviously, other people are after the photos. On the one hand, a group of dangerous criminals lead by Colonel Robinson, in the pay of Western oil companies, versus Andreas Zaleshoff and his beautiful sister Tamara, secret agents from Moscow. Kenton is kidnapped and tortured by Colonel Robinson, but rescued by Zaleshoff. Trusting neither faction, and looking for a scoop to make a great story, he escapes and, being looked for by the Austrian police, crosses into Czechoslovakia to look for Colonel Robinson in Prague. He is caught up by Zaleshoff, and they decide to take on Robinson together, an attempt they barely escape from with their lives.

It is a gripping story, somewhat reminiscent of, but preceding as Uncommon danger was published as early as 1937, some of the stories of James Bond and the oil interest in the Balkan region. The story is ingenious and exciting, while the reader's natural sympathy is with Kenton, and absolute amateur of espionage.

Excellent reading. ( )
  edwinbcn | Nov 4, 2012 |
Very typical Ambler - which means better than 99% of what is out there. Most of Amber's best books seem like Hitchcock movies, with an average man involved in things that are somewhat beyond his understanding - but persevering through his courage and determination. This one has a lot of other interesting characters besides the hero, as well. ( )
  datrappert | Jun 9, 2009 |
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Epigraph
'Today, with Europe assuming the appearance of an armed camp in which an incident, unimportant in itself, would be sufficient to ignite a conflagration that would consume Europe and perhaps spread to other quarters of the globe: today, when national security in Europe and perhaps elsewhere, depends primarily on the strength and effectiveness of a nation's armed forces, the question of supply of raw materials and particularly supply of petroleum is of the first importance.' - World Petroleum
Dedication
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One sunny morning in July, Mr Balterghen's blue Rolls-Royce oozed silently away from the pavement in Berkeley Square, slid across Picadilly into St James's, and sped softly eastward towards the City of London.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Uncommon Danger is also known as Background to Danger.
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Note: two of the four Amazon descriptions below do not apply to this novel (they apply to Ambler's "A Coffin for Demitrious")
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037572673X, Paperback)

Kenton's career as a journalist depended on his facility with languages, his knowledge of European politics, and his quick judgment. Where his judgment sometimes failed him was in his personal life. When he finds himself on a train bound for Austria with insufficient funds after a bad night of gambling, he jumps at the chance to earn a fee to help a refugee smuggle securities across the border. He soon discovers that the documents he holds have a more than monetary value, and that European politics has more twists and turns than the most convoluted newspaper account.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:04 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

ESPIONAGE & SPY THRILLER. Kenton's career as a journalist depends on his facility with languages, his knowledge of European politics and his quick judgement. Where his judgement sometimes fails him, however, is in his personal life. When he travels to Nuremberg to investigate a story about a top-level meeting of Nazi officials, he inadvertently finds himself on a train bound for Austria after a bad night of gambling. Stranded with no money, Kenton jumps at the chance to earn a fee helping a refugee smuggle securities across the border. Yet he soon discovers that the documents he holds have far more than cash value - and that they could cost him his life!… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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