FREE READ ç Masaryk Station

David Downing ë 1 FREE READ

Berlin 1948 Still occupied by the four Allied powers and largely in ruins the city has become the cockpit of a new Cold War The legacies of the war have become entangled in the new Soviet American conflict creating a world of bizarre and fleeting loyalties a paradise for spies As spring unfolds a Western withdrawal looks increasingly likely Berlin Masaryk Sta­tion by David Down­ing is the last novel in the John Rus­sell series The story takes place in the chaotic time in 1948 Berlin when the city was divided in the post war eraJohn Rus­sell is an Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist liv­ing in Berlin for a long time Even though he was linked to the Com­mu­nist Party he is involved in spy­ing for the Amer­i­cans and the Rus­sians try­ing to keep his fam­ily secure and safe John is mar­ried to a Ger­man actress named Effie they have a son and an adopted daughterJohn is plan­ning one final job which will cement the finan­cial secu­rity and well being of his fam­ily before he retires How­ever that final reward will take guts cun­ning and an enor­mous risk which he might not be will­ing to takeMasaryk Sta­tion by David Down­ing ties up the John Rus­sell series nicely will giv­ing the reader much to think about even thought the story takes place 7 decades ago In this book Mr Rus­sell strug­gles to the do the right thing but doesn’t really know what the right thing is or even what is the right course of action he should takeMr Down­ing does an excel­lent job writ­ing char­ac­ters All of the char­ac­ters in the book bad or good felt as if they could have been real peo­ple How­ever the plot is still dark and bru­tal against the back­drop of Prague and BerlinThe inter­est­ing part of the book was the cur­rency reform of Berlin when both Amer­i­can and Russ­ian inter­ests wanted to con­trol the cur­rency and hence the econ­omy Both coun­tries try to reassert their power and legit­i­macy over Berlin nei­ther will­ing nor polit­i­cally able to back out The author also rec­og­nizes the famed Berlin Block­ade in which Rus­sia blocked all pas­sages by air road rail and water between the East and West zones The block­ade was designed to force the USA Eng­land and France to leaver Berlin or at least accept Russ­ian cur­rency in their areasIt didn’t workThis is the final book to an excel­lent series in which the author appraises post World War II Europe in a cyn­i­cal tired yet clear man­ner The book is a won­der­ful intro­duc­tion to the Berlin Block­ade told through an excit­ing story with like­able charactersDis­claimer I got this book for freeFor reviews and bookish posts please visit Cure for the Loneliness jour­nal­ist liv­ing in Berlin for a long time Even though he was linked to the Com­mu­nist Party he is involved in spy­ing for the Amer­i­cans and the Rus­sians try­ing to keep his fam­ily secure and safe John is mar­ried to a Ger­man actress named Effie they have a son and an adopted daughterJohn is plan­ning one final Bijoux en origami job which will cement the finan­cial secu­rity and well being of his fam­ily before he retires How­ever that final reward will take guts cun­ning and an enor­mous risk which he might not be will­ing to takeMasaryk Sta­tion by David Down­ing ties up the John Rus­sell series nicely will giv­ing the reader much to think about even thought the story takes place 7 decades ago In this book Mr Rus­sell strug­gles to the do the right thing but doesn’t really know what the right thing is or even what is the right course of action he should takeMr Down­ing does an excel­lent Hookup Master (Men of Lake Tahoe Series, job writ­ing char­ac­ters All of the char­ac­ters in the book bad or good felt as if they could have been real peo­ple How­ever the plot is still dark and bru­tal against the back­drop of Prague and BerlinThe inter­est­ing part of the book was the cur­rency reform of Berlin when both Amer­i­can and Russ­ian inter­ests wanted to con­trol the cur­rency and hence the econ­omy Both coun­tries try to reassert their power and legit­i­macy over Berlin nei­ther will­ing nor polit­i­cally able to back out The author also rec­og­nizes the famed Berlin Block­ade in which Rus­sia blocked all pas­sages by air road rail and water between the East and West zones The block­ade was designed to force the USA Eng­land and France to leaver Berlin or at least accept Russ­ian cur­rency in their areasIt didn’t workThis is the final book to an excel­lent series in which the author appraises post World War II Europe in a cyn­i­cal tired yet clear man­ner The book is a won­der­ful intro­duc­tion to the Berlin Block­ade told through an excit­ing story with like­able charactersDis­claimer I got this book for freeFor reviews and bookish posts please visit

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Masaryk Station

’s German inhabitants live in fear of the Soviet forces who occupy half the city and whose legacy of violence has ripped apart many families John Russell works for both Stalin's NKVD and the newly created CIA trying his best to cut himself loose from both before his double agency is discovered by either As tensions between the great powers esca I am so sorry to see this series end but in the process I have been impressed with David Downing's ability to create a continuing cast of characters who survived the Nazis and the Soviets not to mention the Americans as Berlin moved through WWII and emerged into the beginning of the Cold WarI wasn't certain this would be the last until the end notes but it apparently is In this final chapter John Russell the British American journalist and double agent his actress wife Effi and their adopted daughter Rosa are trying to survive the intrigue and tug of war between the Soviets the Germans who are now occupied by the Allies and the Americans In the process of all this with at least two other murderous subplots thrown in for good measure Russell and his longtime Soviet mentor Shchepkin discover the existence of a film that endangers the reputation of one of Russia's most feared leaders and could give them their chance to finally uit the spy business and move to America The film does its work but not before some very tense moments at the end which thankfully spare all the people we have come to care about One final note I don't know if this was the fault of the original British manuscript or its American version but Masaryk Station was full of typos dropped words incorrect verb tenses and other glitches that gave it an amateurish feel despite Downing's excellent sense of storytelling and pace Silly uestion I know but are there no proofreaders any?If you ever want to have a close up view of what life was like in Berlin leading up to WWII and afterwards you should start with Zoo Station and move through all the other station books to get to this one

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Late each passing day makes Russell’s position treacherous He and his Soviet liaison Shchepkin seek out one final operation one piece of intelligence so damning it could silence the wrath of one nation and solicit the protection of the other It will be the most dangerous task Russell has ever taken on but one way or the other it will be his last Berlin Prague and Belgrade are not a lot of fun to live in after WWII John Russell double agent working for the Soviets and the Americans spends most of his time trying to figure out how to accomplish his missions for both of them and extricate himself from working for either of them He just wants to keep his wife and his daughter safeI have not read the earlier books in this series and I do think that would have helped with understanding the relationships between the characters but I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller anyway Having spent a little time in Eastern Europe this felt very realistic If you're a student of WWII or the Cold War this book is an interesting novel about the time as those two are intersecting The settings feel real the characters' dilemmas and emotions feel real the secret agencies on both sides feel real I would place David Downing in the top rank of spy novel writers and he became one of my favorites with this bookThis received this book through Goodreads giveaways and I was excited to have the opportunity to read it


10 thoughts on “Masaryk Station

  1. says:

    Masaryk Sta­tion by David Down­ing is the last novel in the John Rus­sell series The story takes place in the chaotic time in 1948 Berlin when the city was divided in the post war eraJohn Rus­sell is an Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist liv­ing in Berlin for a long time Even though he was linked to the Com­mu­nist Party he is involved in spy­ing for the Amer­i­cans and the Rus­sians try­ing to keep his fam­ily secure and safe John is mar­ried to a Ger­man actress named Effie they have a son and an adopted daughterJohn is plan­ning one final job which will cement the finan­cial secu­rity and well being of his fam­ily before he retires How­ever that final reward will take guts cun­ning and an enor­mous risk which he might not be will­ing to takeMasaryk Sta­tion by David Down­ing ties up the John Rus­sell series nicely will giv­ing the reader much to think about even thought the story takes place 7 decades ago In this book Mr Rus­sell strug­gles to the do the right thing but doesn’t really know what the right thing is or even what is the right course of action he should takeMr Down­ing does an excel­lent job writ­ing char­ac­ters All of the char­ac­ters in the book bad or good felt as if they could have been real peo­ple How­ever the plot is still dark and bru­tal against the back­drop of Prague and BerlinThe inter­est­ing part of the book was the cur­rency reform of Berlin when both Amer­i­can and Russ­ian inter­ests wanted to con­trol the cur­rency and hence the econ­omy Both coun­tries try to reassert their power and legit­i­macy over Berlin nei­ther will­ing nor polit­i­cally able to back out The author also rec­og­nizes the famed Berlin Block­ade in which Rus­sia blocked all pas­sages by air road rail and water between the East and West zones The block­ade was designed to force the USA Eng­land and France to leaver Berlin or at least accept Russ­ian cur­rency in their areasIt didn’t workThis is the final book to an excel­lent series in which the author appraises post World War II Europe in a cyn­i­cal tired yet clear man­ner The book is a won­der­ful intro­duc­tion to the Berlin Block­ade told through an excit­ing story with like­able charactersDis­claimer I got this book for freeFor reviews and bookish posts please visit


  2. says:

    This is the last in the Station series and I'm already thinking that I've been a bit harsh in only giving it three stars but I'm sticking to it for a number of small reasons that I shall explain laterIn Lehrter Station David Downing painted a superb picture of post War Berlin; a grubby world of mixed morals the fit child of the Nazi War In Masaryk Station the world of 1948 feels perhaps a little less grubby but uncertain because of the political game the Soviets are playing It was interesting reading about a Berlin where the divisions of the times to come did not exist and which were unimaginable People seem to move around between zones with perfect freedom but also with an understanding of the undertones that exist in Soviet behaviour Abroad because that's where a lot of the action in the first half of the book takes place it is the Americans who are playing a duplicitous game just as they did in Lehrter Station They have allied themselves with former Nazi supporters in what they know will be the coming conflict with the Soviets They play a uiet role in supporting the number of escape routs that have been set up for Ukrainian Nazi supporting nationalists bloodthirsty Croat racists and for Soviet defectors Our hero John Russell is in the middle of both these worlds and thus has no illusions about either party His hands feel filthy and he would love to get outThen along comes an opportunity Something has turned up that might just provide Russell and his family with a get out of jail free ticket On the whole this was a good read marred only by the terrible grammatical errors that appear to have been thrown into the publication like spanners intended to ruin my day They are irritating and evidence of a rush into publication either that or the Soviets have been at it or those incompetent US officers that crop up in the book Without wishing to spoil the read for anyone else I do think the outcome is a little simplistic and even innocent for a book that has its feet in the realpolitik of those uncertain times Another ending would have been much realistic Oh cynic that I am


  3. says:

    Russell wondered how much easier his life would have been if he'd just done as he was told Why hadn't he? What had made him the pain in the ass others thought him? p179A sense of ethics evidently Post war Berlin is a regulated chaos as loyalties are tested and the shifting fallout takes its ruthless toll In the interim between the last book to facilitate their formal adoption of Rosa Russell and Effie have married and attempted to restore some sort of normalcy to their lives When the new normal includes city wide electrical outages transportation issues and food issues not to mention sudden disappearances and murder life becomes almost intolerableHe should be glad to be alive he thought but the feeling was beyond him p157Life was a risky business and one needed wisdom about which risks to take p269When you are a triple agent you don't always have the luxury of a choice When you are married to a triple agent you might pick up some habits that put your choices at riskIn this last volume of the series DD attempts with his meticulous attention to detail to wrap it all up Problem is it won't be wrapped up tidily and there's no bow that could disguise the rough edges and some glaring editorial glitches With it's unsavoury opening scene and it's unsettling thread my enjoyment of this volume was seriously challenged Why were people so stupid? Did they really think that bravery always went hand in hand with virtue? p238Overall however I am grateful for DD's perceptive and gripping series and the broadening of my perspective I will wait patiently for him to realize it isn't actually complete and give us


  4. says:

    A superb end to a simply wonderful series A marvellous end to the book Happiness tinged with sadness Tragedy and hope It didn’t really feel like a ‘goodbye’ An au revoir hopefully Though that’s probably me wishing it rather than it actually being so And yes he saved the best for the last twoAs the book begins it is three years since the second war to end all wars ended But the world feels for many just as unsafe as it was Perhaps so The series’ ‘hero’ John Russell and his old espionage ‘friend' and part time Soviet controller Shchepkin find themselves sinking deeper and deeper into the new world of spies and mistrust as the two new world powers let paranoia about each other override any thoughts of justice and retribution for the people who suffered most The ordinary man and woman in the street wherever that street might once have been in Europe are just as expendable in the new Cold War as they ever were in the 'old' war Russell and Shchepkin reach the conclusion that there is probably no escape for them or those they care for not alive anyway Unless that is they can find a secret about one side or the other to use as blackmail They know plenty of secrets of course but the people they know secrets about also know secrets about them It needs to be a big one a huge one a secret so potentially devastating that it would be worth leaving them alone to pay for If they survive long enough after disclosing it to use it that isI don’t think there’s been a deep message to be got from the ’Station’ series David Downing hasn’t been on a cliched anti war anti Nazi anti conflict mission That’s for us to read in maybe The things I take from the series are maybe the triumph of spirit and that people no matter where they come from are fundamentally decent at heart That war affects every side differently but in the end the same There are no winners the human race loses Masaryk Station in summing up the series that has gone before it is about betrayal Of people each other of ideas It’s about starting to build your own future because no one else is going to do it for you Certainly not the Big Powers as here They say they are but they can’t be trusted with the future and certainly not with yours’ Universally relevant wherever you find yourself today it’s about all sides being let down by their leaders elected and unelectedDespite obviously being written by an English speaking writer the series has been remarkably even handed and non judgemental You draw your own conclusions if you want to Obviously the events and atrocities will speak for themselves however they can be open to interpretation however you want to interpret them depending on which side you were or are There were no winners nothing was solved by 5 years of war and 40 odd million deadIt’s impossible to pick a best book of the six Stations and would be wrong to even think about trying Could the series be returned to? Yes Should it? That’s a whole other uestion'Masaryk Station' especially and the series as a whole leave me with sadness hope tragedy happiness possibility Leaves me with a smile on my face and hope in my heart and glad that I travelled with David Downing John Russell and Effi CohenMore world class reviews on Speesh Reads


  5. says:

    This is number 5 in Downing's 'John Russell and Effi Koenen series'and for fans of the first 4 it won't disappoint The series tracks the adventures of a British American journalist and expat living in Berlin and his German actress girlfriend from their pre war days in Nazi Germany through the war years and finally to this book which takes place in 1948 and which is billed as the final installment of the series though to be honest I'm not convinced Downing doesn't still have another one up his sleeve The premise of this book as well as the other 4 is engaging Initially stuck in Germany because his ex wife and son are there as well as his current girlfriend Russell ends up being recruited by the Americans and the Russians to spy for their respective countries using his journalist credentials as a cover Each thinks he's a double agent on their side and during the war the Germans recruit him as well assuming he'll do their bidding above the others How Russell manages to juggle all his masters yet stay relatively true to his moral center keeps the reader interestedAlong with the well paced plots and engaging lead characters Downing's background descriptions of life in Berlin as well as a few other European cities before during and after the war are a major portion of the hold these books have on the reader The details and descriptions are skillfully written and help bring the story to life as well as cause the book's atmospherics to linger in the reader's memory even after the story is doneThis time Russell and Koenen are trying to survive in the American sector of the divided city while being unwillingly drawn into Russian intrigues Russell realizes the only way to put his clandestine past behind him and be truly free is to find some information so dangerous to the Russians' cause that they'll leave him alone for fear of its revelation How Russell manages this and makes it work is a fine way to wrap up the series although this reader would still like some


  6. says:

    I am so sorry to see this series end but in the process I have been impressed with David Downing's ability to create a continuing cast of characters who survived the Nazis and the Soviets not to mention the Americans as Berlin moved through WWII and emerged into the beginning of the Cold WarI wasn't certain this would be the last until the end notes but it apparently is In this final chapter John Russell the British American journalist and double agent his actress wife Effi and their adopted daughter Rosa are trying to survive the intrigue and tug of war between the Soviets the Germans who are now occupied by the Allies and the Americans In the process of all this with at least two other murderous subplots thrown in for good measure Russell and his longtime Soviet mentor Shchepkin discover the existence of a film that endangers the reputation of one of Russia's most feared leaders and could give them their chance to finally uit the spy business and move to America The film does its work but not before some very tense moments at the end which thankfully spare all the people we have come to care about One final note I don't know if this was the fault of the original British manuscript or its American version but Masaryk Station was full of typos dropped words incorrect verb tenses and other glitches that gave it an amateurish feel despite Downing's excellent sense of storytelling and pace Silly uestion I know but are there no proofreaders any?If you ever want to have a close up view of what life was like in Berlin leading up to WWII and afterwards you should start with Zoo Station and move through all the other station books to get to this one


  7. says:

    Berlin Prague and Belgrade are not a lot of fun to live in after WWII John Russell double agent working for the Soviets and the Americans spends most of his time trying to figure out how to accomplish his missions for both of them and extricate himself from working for either of them He just wants to keep his wife and his daughter safeI have not read the earlier books in this series and I do think that would have helped with understanding the relationships between the characters but I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller anyway Having spent a little time in Eastern Europe this felt very realistic If you're a student of WWII or the Cold War this book is an interesting novel about the time as those two are intersecting The settings feel real the characters' dilemmas and emotions feel real the secret agencies on both sides feel real I would place David Downing in the top rank of spy novel writers and he became one of my favorites with this bookThis received this book through Goodreads giveaways and I was excited to have the opportunity to read it


  8. says:

    Those of you that follow me know I have read every book in the John Russel series I started to think after the last installment Lehrtet Station that Mr Downing was running out of plots for Russel This book was very good from the history standpoint again which is what drew me to this series in the first place But that being said this should be the end I would think Also I must say that my impressions of neutrality politically was different this time and it was starting to bother me I feel that Downing was trying to hard sell me on the vertues of pure Socializem in the Lenin style I'm not sold that it was such a great system Also I didn't agree with the depiction of the Americans as a bunch of Buffons in Berlin post war I still give it 4 stars for Effi and John great characters and I will miss them


  9. says:

    The sixth and final volume in the John Russell series all named after German train stations This last volume puts the hero in Berlin a couple of years after the war and just before the Berlin airlift I liked this series for bringing up lesser known parts of history in Eastern Europe Once again Russell is caught between his Russian and American handlers


  10. says:

    The last of this 'Station' series by David Downing As enjoyable and informative as the preceding 5 stories His writing style always appeals to me I look forward to reading something else by Downing in the future


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