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Istanbul Passageby Joseph Kanon
Synopses & Reviews
In the bestselling tradition of espionage novels by John LeCarre and Alan Furst, andlt;Iandgt;Istanbul Passageandlt;/Iandgt; brilliantly illustrates why Edgar Awardand#8211;winning author Joseph Kanon has been hailed as "the heir apparent to Graham Greene" (andlt;iandgt;The Boston Globeandlt;/iandgt;).andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;A neutral city straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul survived the Second World War as a magnet for refugees and spies, trafficking in secrets and lies rather than soldiers. Expatriate American businessman Leon Bauer was drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs and courier runs in support of the Allied war effort.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Now, as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of postwar life, Leon is given one last routine assignment. But when the job goes fatally wrongand#8212;an exchange of gunfire, a body left in the street, a potential war criminal on his handsand#8212;Leon is plunged into a tangle of intrigue, shifting loyalties, and moral uncertainty.andlt;BRandgt;Played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this knowing, ancient Ottoman city, Leonand#8217;s conflicted attempt to save one life leads to a desperate manhunt that ultimately threatens his own survival. How do you do the right thing when there are only bad choices to be made?andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Rich with atmosphere and period detail, andlt;Iandgt;Istanbul Passage andlt;/Iandgt;is the haunting story of a man swept up in the dawn of the Cold War, of an unexpected love affair, and of a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it.
"As this tense, complex, and fascinating espionage novel opens, Leon Bauer is on the Bosphorus shoreline north of Istanbul, shivering in the dark, waiting to take custody of a mysterious passenger who is being smuggled from Romania. It is late 1945, and Europe is hastily transitioning from World War II to the cold war. Turkey, a noncombatant, has thrived as a neutral center of business and diplomacy, and now Istanbul is filled with defeated Germans and victorious Russians, blustery Americans, and resigned Turks and desperate Jews, all pursuing vital and divergent agendas. And, of course, spies. This is the Istanbul in which American businessman Leon Bauer finds himself, having fled here with his German-Jewish wife, Anna, after Kristallnacht in 1938. Leon was unable to serve in the military, but he was resourceful, spoke German as well as Turkish, and before long an American operative asked him to do a favor, a simple courier job. And so Leon began to do his part, an amateur in a professional's world. The title, Istanbul Passage, operates on many levels. The main passage is that of the mystery passenger, a journey that forms the core of the suspenseful double-cross — filled plot. The mission is a disaster from the very first sentence of the book, and Leon struggles to make sense of the betrayals while also taking critical responsibility for this stranger's life, for a man's safe passage from his wartime identity to his postwar fate. Along the way, Leon must confront the duplicity of nearly everyone around him, a diverse cast of memorable characters with unclear and shifting alliances. Another passage is that of Jews, from fear in Europe to new hope in Palestine. Although Turkey had been officially neutral during most of the war, unofficially Istanbul had been a center for human trafficking. This had been Anna's chief concern: the life-or-death business of transporting refugees via unsafe boats through dangerous waters. But when one of these missions failed tragically, Anna sank into a fugue state and is now shuttered in a clinic, completely uncommunicative. There's also the passage as a geographical designation, and in this regard Kanon's book is a swirling, impressionistic treat, a sensory feast on one of the most delectable cities in the world, the confluence of the Islamic and the Christian, the ancient and the contemporary, the Asian and the European (straddling the Bosphorus, it is the only city in the world on two continents). The descriptive passages, the period tourism, are transporting. Finally, there's Leon's journey — rather, his many journeys — as protagonist. From a civilian to a spy to whatever will follow. From a temporary expat to a possibly permanent resident. From a blind patriot to an independent operator. From a happily married man to something else. From an idealist to a pragmatist. Istanbul Passage is a first-rate espionage novel, filled with complexity and thrills, but its greatest success may be in this much more universal literary exploration: how an ordinary man is transformed by extraordinary circumstances. Chris Pavone is the author of the debut novel The Expats, on sale March 6 (Crown)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the author of the New York Times best-selling Constantines Sword, a novel set in post-World War II Rome, where the fate of recently liberated Jews and the Churchs dark wartime secrets intertwine
David Warburg, newly minted director of the U.S. War Refugee Board, arrives in Rome at wars end, determined to bring aid to the destitute European Jews streaming into the city. Marguerite dErasmo, a French-Italian Red Cross worker with a shadowed past, is initially Warburgs guide to a complicated Rome; while a charismatic young American Catholic priest, Monsignor Kevin Deane, seems equally committed to aiding Italian Jews. But the city is a labyrinth of desperate fugitives, runaway Nazis, Jewish resisters, and criminal Church figures. Marguerite, caught between justice and revenge, is forced to play a double game. At the center of the maze, Warburg discovers one of historys great scandals—the Vatican ratline, a clandestine escape route maintained by Church officials and providing scores of Nazi war criminals with secret passage to Argentina. Warburgs disillusionment is complete when, turning to American intelligence officials, he learns that the dark secret is not so secret, and that even those he trusts may betray him.
James Carroll delivers an authoritative, stirring novel that reckons powerfully with the postwar complexities of good and evil in the Eternal City.
A neutral city straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul survived the Second World War as a magnet for refugees and spies, trafficking in secrets and lies rather than soldiers. Expatriate American businessman Leon Bauer was drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs and courier runs in support of the Allied war effort.
Now, as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of postwar life, Leon is given one last routine assignment. But when the job goes fatally wrong—an exchange of gunfire, a body left in the street, a potential war criminal on his hands—Leon is plunged into a tangle of intrigue, shifting loyalties, and moral uncertainty.
Played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this knowing, ancient Ottoman city, Leon’s conflicted attempt to save one life leads to a desperate manhunt that ultimately threatens his own survival. How do you do the right thing when there are only bad choices to be made?
Rich with atmosphere and period detail, Istanbul Passage is the haunting story of a man swept up in the dawn of the Cold War, of an unexpected love affair, and of a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it.
About the Author
Joseph Kanon is the author of five other novels, Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, The Good German, Alibi, and Stardust. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a book publishing executive. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
1. The Name 1
2. The Files 9
Part I: War
1. A Mighty Endeavor 17
2. Master of Ceremonies 41
3. Handkerchief 71
4. Intercedite Pro Nobis 97
5. A Jews Fantasy 127
6. Cleopatras Needle 163
Part II: Post War
7. Road Out 191
8. Reds 223
9. Obbedienza 253
10. Nakam Means Revenge 283
11. Ratline 311
12. Vieni! Come! 343
Authors Note 363
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