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Field Gray: A Bernie Gunther Novel Paperback – Feb 28 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Feb. 28 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780143120728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143120728
  • ASIN: 0143120727
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'Far more illuminating and enjoyable than the season's other big thriller, John le Carre's Our Kind of Traitor' Daily Express. Daily Express 'Rich, compelling, beautifully written and with a central character that it's impossible not to admire' Daily Mail. Daily Mail 'Kerr is a master of evoking the spirit of the age' Financial Times. Financial Times 'A brilliantly crafted challenge to the stereotypical received history of the Second World War' The Times. The Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Philip Kerr is the author of many novels, but perhaps most important are the five featuring Bernie Gunther—A Quiet Flame, The One from the Other, and the Berlin Noir trilogy (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem). He lives in London and Cornwall, England, with his family.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 14 2012
Format: Hardcover
Also published under the title ''Field Grey'"

Book 7 in the Bernie Gunther mystery series

In this story Bernie Gunther reflects on his past, the good the bad and the ugly. Trying to outrun his shadows has resulted in a lonely life; his personal and political associations have left him a man with a trouble conscience. This is one of Mr. Kerr's darkest and most complex novels I have read so far.

In the prologue, set in 1950s Cuba, Bernie is living the good life under an assumed name when his life is chattered once again by a local policeman who questions his true identity. In haste, Bernie attempts to leave Cuba by boat however he is intercepted by an American patrol and is taken to Guantanamo Bay for interrogation by the CIA. The intense questioning forces Bernie to eventually reveal his past, his war time activities under Heydrich as an SS field officer and his pre-war association with Eric Mielke prove to be a gold mine of information for his interrogators. He is eventually flown to Berlin to face the music and is given a simple choice: work for the French intelligence or hang for murder. His task is to meet POW's returning to Germany and finger one particular French war criminal he is familiar with. With this we learn of another period in Bernie's past as a German POW in Russia and how it comes back to haunt him.

This seventh novel is set in Cuba, a Soviet POW camp, Paris and Berlin, it is a fast-paced and quick-action thriller. Bernie is portrayed as a pawn in a deadly game of espionage by various spy agencies of the Cold War era. The chapters are peppered with strategically placed flashbacks from 1931 to 1946, including events that occurred during the actual war years (all the other books took place before or after the war). Mr.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 12 2011
Format: Hardcover
After the last two rather disappointing efforts featuring the once noir Bernie Gunther, the author rediscovers his pace and intrigue with Field Gray. This is because after Argentina and Cuba, our gray hero returns to Germany, Ukraine and Russia. Newcomers to the series could actually start here as it explains and tidies up a great deal of Bernie's Zelig-like past. Set in 1954, Bernie finds himself tugged and prodded by no fewer than three intelligence agencies interested in his time with the SS and specifically his knowledge of Erich Mielke. Mielke is another infamous real-life figure from history and the story ingeniously weaves in the real murders of Berlin police Captains Anlauf and Lenck. The plot is detailed, interesting and moves at a great clip with flashbacks from 1931 through the war years along with the repatriation of German troops from the Soviet Union years after the war. It has rekindled my interest in the series.
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Format: Hardcover
In BERLIN NOIR, the trilogy that begins Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, we are introduced to Bernie Gunther in the pre-war Nazi-era Berlin, and then we see him again shortly after the war ends. Author Philip Kerr let fifteen years and many other books go by before bringing Bernie Gunther back in THE ONE FROM THE OTHER, set in 1949. The next book, A QUIET FLAME, finds Bernie on the run in 1950 and living in Argentina under an assumed name.

These first five novels in the Bernie Gunther saga made me wonder about Bernie in the years before the Nazi assumption of power and what Bernie was doing during the war. In the sixth novel in the series, IF THE DEAD RISE NOT, we learn the answer to the first question. The book begins with Bernie having left Argentina for pre-Castro Havana, but it then flashes back to Berlin in 1934, as the Nazis consolidate their power.

Now, in FIELD GRAY, the seventh novel in the series, we see what Bernie did during the war, during the chaos of the immediate postwar period and in 1954, when he is spirited back to Europe and made a pawn in the deadly espionage games of the various spy agencies engaged in the Cold War.

In recent years, long-secret documents about Russian activities during WW2 and the actions of the East German secret police before the fall of the Berlin Wall have been made available. It is apparent that Philip Kerr has some familiarity with the history revealed by those documents.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 30 2010
Format: Hardcover
The "field grey" that author Philip Kerr refers to in the title of his new Bernie Gunther book, is the uniform worn by German soldiers in WW2. According to Wiki, "feldgrau" was worn by the army from 1907 til 1945. The German SS wore black uniforms, but the Wehrmacht wore grey. I'm alluding to the color of uniform because Kerr, in his depiction of Bernie Gunther in all his books (and I believe there are seven), never makes it quite clear as to what "side" Gunther was on. He began as a detective at "The Alex" - the main Berlin police station - in the 1930's but evolves through many incarnations as an aide to Reinhard Heydrich, a soldier on the Russian front, a political prisoner after WW2 by the Russians, etc. This man has more lives than the cat on the can of "Little Friskies"!

During Gunther's service on the Russian Front, he's a member of the SS - forced to join by Heydrich - and he does kill partisans. He never joins the Nazi party, though. Some of the partisans are Jewish, and all have killed German soldiers. So, the killing of the partisans is okay to Gunther. But, no so "okay" are the mass killings of Jews in the Ukraine and Russia that he witnesses. We're getting to the "tricky part" here. At what point does firing a gun at an individual become police work - i.e., the partisans - and at what point does firing a gun become mass murder? The number of victims? The religious identity of the murdered? A point that Kerr never quite clears up in Gunther's story and makes the code of ethics that Gunther adheres to quite elastic.

"Field Grey" - as with most of Kerr's novels - bounces back and forth in both time and place. From Cuba to Haiti to New York to Germany to France to Russia, and back again. And from 1954 to 1945, with some additional back tracking to 1931 and 1940.
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