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Declare (2000)

by Tim Powers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3523910,651 (4.07)70
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 post-war 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.… (more)
  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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» See also 70 mentions

English (38)  Dutch (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Picked up my own copy of this (at last) this summer, and re-read it this fall. Still, IMO, the best work Powers has done, and probably in my top 10 20th-century novels. Spies, Nazis, Soviets, and the supernatural; if I have a wheelhouse, this is SO in it! Just freaking read it; it's incredible! ( )
  JohnNienart | Jul 11, 2021 |
Interesting style of writing, heavy on moving back and forwards in time (flashbacks, but not written as such). Ties together spies and Arab / Russian folklore to create a compelling story. ( )
1 vote jercox | Jun 2, 2021 |
Much like The Mystery Play (which I also recently read), I have been trying to find a copy of Declare in paperback for the longest time, after I checked it out of the public library 4 or 5 times in high school. I discovered while at Green Apple Books that William Morrow/HarperCollins has recently reprinted a whole slew of Powers's books, so now none of you have any excuse for not reading these.

While I knocked Last Call down a peg when I reread it, I'm keeping Declare at five stars. Powers really sells the horror in this one in a way that I don't think he really has since On Stranger Tides, and (as always) the supernatural elements have a pleasing logic to them. My one complaint is that on rereading this, there's not a whole lot of character development to be found here (Powers kind of cheats this with some of the supernatural parts of the book, but my point still stands). If you have ever enjoyed a fantasy, horror, or spy novel, you should really give Declare a go. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
I struggled with the first two hundred pages as the author deliberately kept the reader in the dark regarding a number of critical past events. It makes sense as an attempt to ally the reader with the protagonists similar lack of knowledge at certain points in time in the narrative, but made me think about giving up a couple of times. I thought it was over-detailed, however, after reading the work the author put into having the narrative line up with real world events I'm happy to be wrong on that subject! ( )
  sarcher | Jan 1, 2021 |
I think that this is probably the best book by Tim Powers.

The story is good as a spy novel, with lots of tension, quick-witted escapes and hard moral choices as it switches backward and forwards between different times in the life of an English agent.

The supernatural elements also provides other levels. I love the way that these differ in scope and tone: sometimes we see people do small, odd things, and sometimes we get awe-inspiring encounters with forces that are as powerful and terrifying as desert storms. The truth behind these things also stretches the limits of humans: characters sometimes explain phenomenon in terms of pseudo-science, and at other times their only reference points are legends or religion.

Sort of spoiler warning: If you can, avoid reading [b:The Stress of Her Regard|417656|The Stress of Her Regard|Tim Powers|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1503059955l/417656._SY75_.jpg|937457] or its sequel [b:Hide Me Among the Graves|11966655|Hide Me Among the Graves|Tim Powers|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1319763727l/11966655._SX50_.jpg|16929374] before this book. Declare is really good at slowly building the mystery, but if you have already read TSoHR, you'll be able to guess what is going on. ( )
  StuartEllis | Dec 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (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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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 post-war 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.

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