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Declare by Tim Powers
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Declare (2000)

by Tim Powers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,219309,828 (4.06)63
  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 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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English (29)  Dutch (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Ultimately Hale did begin to suspect that there was a single story behind many of the old reports and rumors he was investigating: from Armenian fugitives he learned that an earthquake had shaken Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey in 1883 and knocked down a lot of ancient standing stones around the 17,000-foot level; Russian and Turkish scientists had visited the site, and subsequently a Russian team went to the mountain with wagons, and then went away by train to Moscow; and until the Turkish Army evacuated all the Armenians from the area in 1915, Armenian blacksmiths had hammered on their anvils every day, even on Sundays and holidays, hoping by their staccato ringing noise to keep something from descending the mountain.

This is a tale of British and French attempts to stop the Russians using a djinn from Mount Ararat to protect the soviet state during World War II and the following decades. The book is too long really, and I was quite bored until at least a third of the way through it. The changes between various time periods skips between the war, the late forties and the early sixties were confusing, and it didn't get round to describing what happened after the war until much later in the book, so I kept putting it down and not picking up again for weeks.

It became much more exciting and enjoyable in the second half. ( )
  isabelx | Jan 23, 2019 |
DECLARE is Tim Powers' take on a British, Le Carre style spy novel, with his own added supernatural twists. And as such, it's a resounding success. What starts in murky waters in the British spy services quickly spirals out into the history and final culmination of a decades long investigation into what might or might not inhabit the high peaks of Mount Ararat, the reasons why the Russians are so interested, and the motives, ulterior mostly, of one of the most famous spies of all.

Powers' decision to weave this tale in and around the known facts of Kim Philby's life in the secret services is a brave one, but having facts and actual events involved serves to anchor the story in reality and allows the flights of fancy and supernatural to feel more rooted. As ever, Powers' narrative is a fractured one, but the aforementioned Philby life story serves as a backbone that holds the whole thing together, even the more outlandish sections.

Powers' way with a sentence is much in evidence, and there are the trademark lyrical flourishes that, in this story even more than some of his others, reminded me much of some of the work of Roger Zelazny.

It's a largish book, near 600 pages in the edition that I read, but I breezed through it , for despite the sometimes dense exposition which shows the depth of research that was undertaken, at its simplest, this is a love story, and what with that, and the added thrill of the Le Carre like machinations, I loved it, and read it in two sittings over two days.

Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote williemeikle | Dec 22, 2018 |
Any book that reads for 100 pages like a Le Carre spy novel before it diverts into the fantastic is a blast. If you don't mind [fantastic elements non-spoiled] and Cold War conspiracies mashed together, this is a book for you. ( )
  SESchend | Sep 6, 2017 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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)

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