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Europe In Autumn (2014)

by Dave Hutchinson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3792557,640 (3.72)42
Rudi is a cook in a Krakow restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he's trapped in, a new career - part spy, part people-smuggler - begins. Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested and beaten, and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue. With so many nations to work in, and identities to assume, Rudi is kept busy travelling across Europe. But when he is sent to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead, a conspiracy begins to wind itself around him. With kidnapping, double-crosses and a map that constantly re-draws itself, Europe in Autumn is a science fiction thriller like no other.… (more)
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» See also 42 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
The sci-fi stuff don't come out until past the middle portion of the novel. And really the technology isn't that spectacular compared to the plot and the characters. The main character is severely sympathetic. You'd want to follow him to find out what happens to him. The dialogue and descriptions are very well-done, almost poetic, oftentimes witty.

I really like the politics in this. It is about a near-future Europe filled with micro-states and emerging micro-states. Speculative politics is an interest of mine, books like The Dispossessed, Dune, John Shirley's Eclipse series, Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan, etc. There's intrigue, conspiracies upon conspiracies, and lots of killings.

Another book I'd compare it to is Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds. Both have these interesting take on what makes a character badass, but the one in Europe in Autumn is more sympathetic in my opinion.

If you liked any of the books mentioned here, I highly recommend this novel. ( )
  rufus666 | Aug 14, 2022 |
Sharon Rudnick rec
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
The conceit is nice — what if Europe reverted to a pre-Westphalian condition? — and I was loving the ride until the last quarter took a sharp turn into ... something else. Not necessarily a bad something else, but it’s as if he read Rotherweird or The City and The City and thought “I’ll have some of that, let’s add in a hidden world”. The gear change killed it for me. ( )
1 vote st3t | Aug 3, 2020 |
Shift ahead a few years and a slightly less populated world, drop in a fascinating collection of european characters from Poland, Hungary, Germany, England, and much more, and give us the origin story of Rudi, the cook turned Courier, sold a bill of sale about countries without borders, give him the basics of spycraft, and lie, lie, and lie some more.

And that's just the beginning.

This is a rather deep and detailed look at parts of the world I have little experience in, even though I'm a fan of spy movies, obscure horrors, and thrillers of all types. By all rights, I might have had a harder time with this novel, but I was very fortunate. I really like Rudi. The kid was really put through the wringer. Where he goes when he decides to take his destiny in his own hands is where the novel gets really interesting.

I did have some issues with how the narrative started looking at Rudi from the outside or as a stranger, with short Vignettes, but when each of those outside PoV's started tying together into a very incomplete, but still extremely interesting picture of a grand conspiracy of polities and information assets going after a goal that is still unclear, I still don't mind.

I should. I really ought to mind, especially since the novel doesn't get tied up with bow at the end, but the picture, the map I'm forced to draw of the situation, happens to be very revealing and satisfying, even if it doesn't fit the standard structure for novelizations. It's obviously just the beginning of a series, but it gave enough payoff to the reader, enough meat, and real food for thought, that it still *felt* like a good ending.

Isn't that odd? Some sort of magic happened, here.

There are some good techo-geekery going on in the novel, but it's generally sparse and always in the service to the tale, never the other way around. No macguffins. The focus is all on people, and what can I say? I appreciate it. The other stuff is too obvious and too cliché. This is a return to the roots of the spy novel, and it really sucked me in. :)

I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Love the concept. The execution starts well but became (for me) muddled, with odd pacing later on. I struggled to finish it. ( )
  RFellows | Apr 29, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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For you abide, a singing rib within
my dreaming side, you always stay
Postscript: For Gweno
Alun Lewis
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The Hungarians came into the restaurant around nine in the evening, eight large men with gorgeously-tailored suits and hand-stitched Italian shoes and hundred-zloty haircuts.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Rudi is a cook in a Krakow restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he's trapped in, a new career - part spy, part people-smuggler - begins. Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested and beaten, and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue. With so many nations to work in, and identities to assume, Rudi is kept busy travelling across Europe. But when he is sent to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead, a conspiracy begins to wind itself around him. With kidnapping, double-crosses and a map that constantly re-draws itself, Europe in Autumn is a science fiction thriller like no other.

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