This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Alphabet House (1997)

by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4653322,298 (3.67)33



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 33 mentions

English (20)  Dutch (4)  German (4)  Spanish (2)  Danish (2)  Catalan (1)  All (33)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I had trouble with keeping the characters straight, something I often find with foreign names on audio books. It is a good story though. ( )
  velopunk | Mar 26, 2018 |
Too long, especially Part 1. Both parts defy credibility. ( )
  APopova | Jan 2, 2017 |
Oh my goodness, what an outstanding book! I loved it from beginning to end. It is the story of two English childhood friends who leave home to fight in World War II. While on a recon flight over Germany, their plane is shot down. You then follow these best friends on their fight for survival both during the war and life afterwards. But don’t get comfortable thinking you know what will happen next or how it will end because I don’t think it’s a predictable read at all. It kept me captivated and was hard to put down. I would occasionally confuse who was who when it came to the German names, but I was able to quickly correct myself and it never took away from my enjoyment of the story. And I liked how it was told from various points of view – it would lead to some small areas of duplicity of the story line but it never felt repetitive. I definitely highly recommend this one and wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up in the movie theaters one day.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book for an honest review in return.
( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
While I received this from Netgalley (a VERY long time ago) in exchange for an honest review, I ended up listening to this book on Audible.

4 stars.

This is a tale of two books.

The first half of is mind-numbingly monotonous and downright boring, almost to the point of putting it on the DNF shelf. The second part is exceedingly suspenseful, complete with violent confrontations, a touch of romance, and a tale of revenge on a trio of monstrous villains. Adler-Olsen touches on the universal themes of the horrors of war, man's inhumanity to man, the corrosiveness of guilt, and the cleansing nature of forgiveness. This book was written in 1997, and it is easy to see that Adler-Olsen hadn’t yet developed the writing skills he displays in his Department Q series. Even still, this is a worthwhile read.

"The Alphabet House" is first set during World War II. Two Englishmen, James Teasdale and Bryan Young, bail out when their plane is shot down over Germany during a reconnaissance mission. In desperation, they assume the identities of shell-shocked German SS officers. Assuming their roles too well, they are confined to a mental hospital behind enemy lines. How long will it take for their captors to realize that James and Bryan are imposters? What effect will the pills and shock treatments that the doctors administer to their patients have on the British soldiers' minds? Can they escape from this hellhole? The situation spirals out of control when three fellow inmates viciously turn on James and Bryan.

The second half is also set in Germany, almost 30 years later, during the 1972 Munich Olympics. In the second half, the story really comes alive, as the friends deal with the fallout of their imprisonment.

This book was obviously extremely well researched, the detail is magnificent, horrifying, and yet strangely fascinating. The pacing and layout were cleverly done – the first half is slow moving and plodding, allowing the story to unfold at a pace that allows the reader to almost experience what these two friends are going through. It’s very disturbing but absolutely compelling; you simply can’t look away. The second half is much faster paced, and I’m not going to say anything for fear of giving away the surprising events. It did ramp up significantly to the completely unexpected ending.

This is not a war story as much as it is a story of friendship under extreme circumstances, character-driven throughout, often violent, but always engaging and thought provoking. I found it to be an excellent, moving story, haunting and evocative, with some great edge-of-the-seat moments.

Overall a very good read. ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 31, 2016 |
I will keep it short -- the book is quite depressing. I will stick to Adler-Olsen's Department Q novels. ( )
  Jcambridge | Mar 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Overall the novel is unrelentingly depressing, with most characters being difficult to like, as well as being nearly indistinguishable from each other...this book is nasty, brutish and long - way too long at over 4 50 pages of small print.
added by mysterymax | editDeadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine, Ted Hertel (Sep 5, 2015)

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jussi Adler-Olsenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hasselberger, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schein, SteveTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Theodor, Alissa RoseDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Important events
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Het weer was niet al te best. Een koude wind en slecht zicht.
Last words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

British pilots James Teasdale and Bryan Young have been chosen to conduct a special photo-reconnaissance mission near Dresden, Germany. Intelligence believes the Nazis are building new factories that could turn the tide of the war. When their plane is shot down, James and Bryan know they will be executed if captured. With an enemy patrol in pursuit, they manage to jump aboard a train reserved for senior SS soldiers wounded on the eastern front. In a moment of desperation, they throw two patients off the train and take their places, hoping they can escape later. But their act is too convincing and they end up in the Alphabet House, a mental hospital located far behind enemy lines, where German doctors subject their patients to daily rounds of shock treatments and experimental drugs. The pilots' only hope of survival is to fake insanity until the war ends, but their friendship and courage are put to the ultimate test when James and Bryan realize they aren't the only ones in the Alphabet House feigning madness.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.67)
1 1
1.5 4
2 8
2.5 2
3 25
3.5 16
4 55
4.5 6
5 18

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 126,391,978 books! | Top bar: Always visible