The Mask of Dimitrios


Title:                  The Mask of Dimitrios

Author:                Eric Ambler

Ambler, Eric (1939). The Mask of Dimitrios. London: Hodder and Stoughton

LCCN:    39021792

PZ3.A48 Mas

Date Updated:  March 30, 2015

The Best Spy Novels

This book is from a list I obtained from Nigel West. Nigel West is an author specializing in security, intelligence, secret service and espionage issues. He is the European Editor of the World Intelligence Review, published in Washington DC, and the editorial director of The St Ermin’s Press. In 1989 he was voted “The Experts’ Expert” by The Observer. He writes regularly for SpearsWealth Management Survey and works with The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies. He judges this book as one of the best spy novels

Nigel West says this book is “a classic of the genre. The background of an elusive pre-war master-spy suggests he may be not be dead after all. Endorsed by James Bond.”

With WWII looming, Eric Ambler created this moody masterpiece that is only dated because of its capacity to be shocked by evil. The experience of WWII would take care of that little problem. We follow the trail of Dimitrios, part spy, murderer, pimp and thief, and it’s a familiar tale of small-time desperation and large-scale ambition with the volatile politics of Europe and the Near East thrown in to add interest and a sense of bigger things at stake. It’s sad but true that this book couldn’t be written today because evil has become so much more comprehensive, and the neat plot twist at the end would be the starting point for a much more shocking expose. Nevertheless, it’s well worth the experience to read a great storyteller at work.

This book is from a list I obtained from Nigel West. Nigel West is an author specializing in security, intelligence, secret service and espionage issues. He is the European Editor of the World Intelligence Review, published in Washington DC, and the editorial director of The St Ermin’s Press. In 1989 he was voted “The Experts’ Expert” by The Observer. He writes regularly for SpearsWealth Management Survey and works with The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies. He judges this book as one of the best spy novels

Nigel West comment: A German spy is on a mission to discover the secrets of D-Day and MI5 fears he may uncover the truth about a deception campaign.

Forsyth, Frederick. The Day of the Jackal. An assassin hired to kill President Charles de Gaulle is chased across Europe, constantly switching is identity to elude his hunters.

Furst, Allan. The Nightwatch. Considered by American intelligence insiders to be impressively authentic.

Greene, Graham. The Human Factor. An SIS officer’s troubled conscience leads him to become a mole. Written by Kim Philby’s close friend and wartime subordinate

Higgins, Jack. The Eagle Has Landed. A German spy is planning to assassinate Winston Churchill at an English country house. Untrue, but nevertheless, compelling.

Le Carrè, John. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. An atmospheric tale of Cold War betrayal in Germany written by an SIS officer who served there under consular cover.

 

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