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Declare by Tim Powers

Declare (original 2000; edition 2002)

by Tim Powers

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1,153277,062 (4.07)54
Authors:Tim Powers
Info:HarperTorch (2002), Mass Market Paperback, 608 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:fantasy, tbr

Work details

Declare by Tim Powers (2000)

  1. 50
    The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross (grizzly.anderson)
  2. 30
    The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: There is a shared delight in mixing Cold War paranoia and the mystical/fantastic in these two novels.
  3. 00
    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré (LamontCranston)
  4. 13
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Both are bulky, character-oriented novels rooted in the socio-political frames of particular periods; both are self-consciously English; both have emotional depth; both mix in some real historical persons as characters; both introduce their central supernatural elements in a gradual manner; and in both cases those elements are anchored in archaic intelligences and their complex relations with humanity. I would even compare the narrative role that Powers assigns to T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia") to that occupied by the Raven King in Clarke's book. And both Powers and Clarke are performing a certain level of transcendent pastiche: adding magic to the LeCarre spy thriller on the one hand and to the Austen saga of realist satire on the other. Powers gets more points for fidelity to history, Clarke for verisimilitude of magic.… (more)

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» See also 54 mentions

English (26)  Dutch (1)  All (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Powers' entry in the category of the genre of occult intelligence & police procedural novels I admire more than I like, probably because the format of the long immersive novel is usually not to my preference. That said Powers' efforts to bind his story to the facts of real history are impressive and the payoff was emotionally satisfying. ( )
  Shrike58 | Aug 9, 2016 |
Not my favorite Powers book, but an interesting story of World War 2 spies. Gets off to rather a slow start, but then takes off in rather a whirlwind of deception and counter deception. Part spy and part horror novel. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
My standard tag line for this is that it's a cross between John Le Carré and Charles Williams.

Many supernatural secret histories these days use a Lovecraftian model for their esoteric side: this one uses the jinni of the Arabian Nights and the tales of Suleiman bin Daoud (much as Williams had used Suleiman as the background for Many Dimensions). Powers plays the eminently fair (but constraining) game of providing an exoteric narrative which is that of received history: this forces his narrative into a slightly broken-backed, episodic, shape -- episodes have to jump from the twenties through World War II to the Cold War and finally to the late Cold War -- but it's well-crafted and engaging, with fine characterization.

The best Powers I've read: if not quite at a masterpiece level, then head and shoulders above most genre works. ( )
  jsburbidge | Jan 12, 2016 |
This is one of those book where the less you know about it, the better it is, so I recommend reading it without reading reviews first.

But if you really want to know what I thought.. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It starts as a very convincing WWII/Cold War spy novel, and for the first quarter of the book it could easily be a Le Carre novel. However, some things are a little bit out of place, and Andrew Hale, the main character, slowly comes to realize that he is dealing with ancient magic.

I often don't like magical realism, because few authors can gracefully let magic intrude into the real world. However, in this book, it is totally convincing. The world of Cold War espionage is so secretive, so self-important, that magic fits in perfectly. I was even more delighted to get to the author's afterward and realize that many of the characters in this book are actual historical figures whose biographies have some unexplained episodes in them, and magic is a wonderful solution to the questions left by the historical record.

I listened to the audiobook, and Simon Prebble is the perfect narrator for this book. ( )
1 vote Gwendydd | Feb 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tim Powersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson,DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Birthdays? yes, in a general way:
For the most if not for the best of men:
You were born -- I suppose -- on a certain day:
So was I: or perhaps in the night: what then?

Only this: or at least, if more,
You must know, not think it, and learn, not speak:
There is truth to be found on the unknown shore,
And many will find what few would seek.
- J. K. Stephen, inaccurately quoted in a letter from St. John Philby to his son, Kim Philby, March 15, 1932
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Declare, if thou hast understanding.
- Job 38:4
First words
The young captain's hands were sticky with blood on the steering wheel as he cautiously backed the jeep in a tight turn off the rutted mud track onto a patch of level snow that shone in the intermittent moonlight on the edge of the gorge, and then his left hand seemed to freeze onto the gear-shift knob after he reached down to clank the lever up into first gear. (prologue)
From the telephone a man's accentless voice said, "Here's a list: Chaucer...Malory..."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380798360, Mass Market Paperback)

This supernatural suspense thriller crosses several genres--espionage, geopolitics, religion, fantasy. But like the chicken crossing the road, it takes quite a while to get to the other side. En route, Tim Powers covers a lot of territory: Turkey, Armenia, the Saudi Arabian desert, Beirut, London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow. Andrew Hale, an Oxford lecturer who first entered Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service as an 18-year-old schoolboy, is called back to finish a job that culminated in a deadly mission on Mount Ararat after the end of World War II. Now it's 1963, and cold war politics are behind the decision to activate Hale for another attempt to complete Operation Declare and bring down the Communist government before Moscow can harness the powerful, other-worldly forces concentrated on the summit of the mountain, supposed site of the landing of Noah's ark. James Theodora is the über-spymaster whose internecine rivalry with other branches of the Secret Intelligence Service traps Hale between a rock and a hard place, literally and figuratively. There's plenty of mountain and desert survival stuff here, a plethora of geopolitical and theological history, and a big serving of A Thousand and One Nights, which is Hale's guide to the meteorites, drogue stones, and amonon plant, which figure in this complicated tale. There's a love story, too, and a bizarre twist on the Kim Philby legend that posits both Philby and Hale as the only humans who can tame the powers of the djinns who populate Mount Ararat.

This is an easy book to get lost in, and Powers's many fans will have a field day with it. The rest of us may have a harder time. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"As a young double agent infiltrating the Soviet spy network in Nazi-occupied Paris, Andrew Hale finds himself caught up in a secret, even more ruthless war. Two decades later, in 1963, he will be forced to confront again the nightmare that has haunted his adult life: a lethal unfinished operation code-named Declare. From the corridors of Whitehall to the Arabian desert, from postwar Berlin to the streets of Cold War Moscow, Hale's desperate quest draws him into international politics and gritty espionage tradecraft--and inexorably drives Hale, the fiery and beautiful Communist agent Elena Teresa Ceniza-Bendiga, and Kim Philby, mysterious traitor to the British cause, to a deadly confrontation on the high glaciers of Mount Ararat, in the very shadow of the fabulous and perilous Ark"--Page 4 of cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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