Istanbul Passage

Istanbul Passage

A Novel

Book - 2012
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"From the acclaimed, bestselling author of Stardust, The Good German, and Los Alamos--a gripping tale of an American undercover agent in 1945 Istanbul who descends into the murky cat-and-mouse world of compromise and betrayal that will come to define the entire post-war era. A neutral capital straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul has spent the war as a magnet for refugees and spies. Even American businessman Leon Bauer has been drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs and courier runs for the Allied war effort. Now as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of post-war life, he is given one more assignment, a routine job that goes fatally wrong, plunging him into a tangle of intrigue and moral confusion. Played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this knowing, ancient Ottoman city, Leon's attempt to save one life leads to a desperate manhunt and a maze of shifting loyalties that threatens his own. How do you do the right thing when there are only bad choices to make? Istanbul Passage is the story of a man swept up in the aftermath of war, an unexpected love affair, and a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it. Rich with atmosphere and period detail, Joseph Kanon's latest novel flawlessly blends fact and fiction into a haunting thriller about the dawn of the Cold War, once again proving why Kanon has been hailed as the 'heir apparent to Graham Greene' (The Boston Globe)"--
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2012
Washinton Square Press
Edition: 1st Atria Books hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781439156414
Characteristics: 404 p. : col. map ; 24 cm.


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Mar 07, 2019

Enjoyed this book. Old school type spycraft/espionage/foreign service thriller. You really have to pay attention to the dialogue and character interaction. In the style of a John le Carre, or Len Deighton and others of that genre.

Oct 20, 2018

I usually don't quit a book but I returned this book after three try's.

Feb 03, 2018

Kanon is one of the best and this is one of his best. I thoroughly enjoyed if from beginning to end. The sense of time and place is extraordinary. The plotting is suspenseful. You are drawn into a world of desperate people and deadly consequences.

Dec 07, 2017

Kanon has a powerful talent for bringing the atmosphere of the past to life. As with the best spy fiction, the story is not as much about spying but about humanity, and the choices that humans make when caught between loyalty and self-interest, between love and betrayal. The blacks and whites become grey in the moments between the hard choices, and in the repercussions from the first time killing a man, or sending another one to death.
Istanbul in the immediate aftermath of WW2 offers a rich canvas for Kanon to explore human choices.

Sep 12, 2013

It was a little heard to get into at first. THere were multiple character to keep track of. However, one you understood who the players were it became a good story. I visited Istanbul many years ago and I thought the prose was good. It reminded me of an Alan Furst novel. The ending is a good one. It is worth it to get bast the first 100 pages.

brianreynolds Apr 20, 2013

Reader's of Joseph Kanon's Istanbul Passage are provided with a detailed map of the Bosporus region and urban Istanbul of 1945. I wore out the book flipping back to see where I was. I was, nevertheless, still lost somewhat in the sea of characters and sentence fragments, the fog of history just prior to my childhood. Thrillers ought to be breathless and mysterious and Kanon manages both. I'm still in doubt, however, as to whether my muddle was the result of encroaching senility or a lack of clarity in the writing.

Jan 13, 2013

Istanbul Passage is set in post WWII Turkey as the spy networks switch into cold war mode. American Leon Bauer has been helping Jews escape Europe and now has to help someone who was complicit in the murder of Jews escape the Russians. However, it seems that everyone wants his charge dead. As with all good spy novels the betrayals are early and often. Kanon has created a decent man who is honour bound to look after his distasteful charge while being able to trust no one. I read Istanbul Passage right after Alan Furst’s Mission to Paris. They are interesting book ends to WWII era espionage.

Nov 16, 2012

A disappointment: a thoroughly competent detective story, but it didn't live up to the mystery and suspense promised by the jacket photo. I've been to the city, and the descriptive passages seem like tourist post-it notes rather than revealing the soul of Istanbul. The characters likewise are pretty standard issue and don't come near to engaging the history and psyche of the place. Not much suspense, either.

KatSu Aug 28, 2012

Sorry to say I just couldn't seem to get into this one :(

Jun 28, 2012

A good read. Some history woven in, good contrast in the types of American ex-pats.

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