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A Very British Ending

av Edward Wilson

Serier: William Catesby (5)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
332593,621 (3.9)Ingen/inga
An MI6 officer, haunted by the ghosts of an SS atrocity, kills a Nazi war criminal in the ruins of a U-boot bunker. The German turns out to be a CIA asset being rat-lined to South America. As a hungry Britain freezes in the winter of 1947, a young cabinet minister negotiates a deal with Moscow trading Rolls-Royce jet engines for cattle fodder and wood. Both have made powerful enemies with long memories. The fates of the two men become entwined as one rises through MI6 and the other to Downing Street. It is the mid-1970s and a coup d'etat is imminent. A Very British Ending is the Wolf Hall of power games in modern Britain. Senior MI6 officers, Catesby and Bone, try to outwit a cabal of plotters trying to overthrow the Prime Minister. The author once again reveals the dark underside of the Secret State on both sides of the Atlantic.… (mer)
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An excellent conspiracy theory novel set against the backdrop of post-war Britain. William Catesby is an MI6 officer and we follow his rise through the ranks from the 1950s through the 1970s. During this time his career becomes entwined with that of Harold Wilson and his rise to become Prime Minister. Dark political forces in the UK and the USA are determined to bring Wilson down, even to the extent of organising a coup led by the army and key business interests. Catesby works to foil these conspiracies.

Edward Wilson does a great job of mixing historical and fictional events to bring his story to life and at no point is the plot anything but horrifyingly believable. Wilson mixes newspaper reports and extracts from official documents to strengthen the feeling that we are reading history rather than a novel.

This is the first book by Wilson I have read and I am very impressed. The quality of the writing, the pacing, the detail, all make for a rather claustrophobic and tense atmosphere that reflects the time in which the book is set. ( )
  pierthinker | Aug 3, 2018 |
Another excellent conspiracy theory novel, this time set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, as the country struggles to re-establish itself as a major economic and military power. William Catesby, who featured in Wilson's earlier novels 'The Envoy' and 'The Darkling Spy', is a mid-ranking officer in MI6, haunted with his own secrets and also frustrated at the prejudices he encounters in his service and its counterpart, MI5. Edward Wilson deftly mixes fact and fiction, using his character Catesby as a powerful lens on the political machinations that bedevilled British governments in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, regardless of their political complexion.

Catesby had himself stood as a Labour candidate in the 1945 general election but, despite the huge landslide victory for his party he had, himself, been defeated. He had, however, had the opportunity to meet Harold Wilson who had gone on to experience a meteoric rise, attaining a Cabinet post as President of the Board of Trade. In this capacity he was responsible for signing off an agreement to sell Rolls Royce aero engines to the USSR (though the deal had been arranged and all but completed by his predecessors in office). This deal provoked the ire of the American administration because the Soviets were able to 'reverse engineer' the workings of the engines and use them in their own jet fighters which were in turn deployed against the Americans in Korea. This transaction was to lead to Wilson being targeted by the CIA as a likely Soviet sympathiser, and possibly even a mole reporting back to the Kremlin.

As the novel develops Catesby is embroiled in a series of operations all over Europe, but he becomes increasingly concerned at how both MI5 and MI6 are being manoeuvred by their American counterparts into undermining both Harold Wilson and Edward Heath. This has, of course, been the subject of numerous claims and corresponding official repudiations, and it is unlikely that the question of whether such plots really took place will ever be satisfactorily resolved. Certainly this fictional account is engrossing and all too plausible. The detailed insight into historic events gives a convincing patina of verisimilitude to the story, and I was definitelky hooked.

In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter whether or not the plots actually existed. The mere fact that we are prepared to believe that they might have done is sufficient measure of our cynicism about both our governments and the organisations that are supposed to support them. ( )
1 rösta Eyejaybee | Nov 17, 2015 |
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An MI6 officer, haunted by the ghosts of an SS atrocity, kills a Nazi war criminal in the ruins of a U-boot bunker. The German turns out to be a CIA asset being rat-lined to South America. As a hungry Britain freezes in the winter of 1947, a young cabinet minister negotiates a deal with Moscow trading Rolls-Royce jet engines for cattle fodder and wood. Both have made powerful enemies with long memories. The fates of the two men become entwined as one rises through MI6 and the other to Downing Street. It is the mid-1970s and a coup d'etat is imminent. A Very British Ending is the Wolf Hall of power games in modern Britain. Senior MI6 officers, Catesby and Bone, try to outwit a cabal of plotters trying to overthrow the Prime Minister. The author once again reveals the dark underside of the Secret State on both sides of the Atlantic.

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