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Publisher's Summary

Berlin, early 1948: The city, still occupied by the four Allied powers, still largely in ruins, has become the cockpit of a new Cold War, and as spring unfolds its German inhabitants live in fear of the Soviets enforcing a Western withdrawal. Here, as elsewhere in Europe, 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.

John Russell works for both Stalin’s NKVD and the newly-created CIA. He does as little for either as he can safely get away with, and between the tawdry tasks they set him - assessing dubious defectors in Trieste, running a spy ring in a Berlin VD clinic, rescuing ex-Nazis who might prove useful from Czechoslovakia - he seeks a way to cut himself loose.

His partner Effi Koenen has an easier time, starring in a popular radio series and looking after their adopted daughter Rosa, until a woman she helped save in the War turns up on her doorstep, and admits to a child she left behind all those years before, a child now trapped behind the new iron curtain.

©2013 David Downing (P)2013 AudioGO

What listeners say about Masaryk Station

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Profile Image for Joyce
  • Joyce
  • 16-07-2013

What a disappointment...and it's all the narrator

Would you try another book from David Downing and/or Michael Healy?

I love David Downing! this is the 6th audible book of his i purchased. The narrator is so miserable you can hardly follow the story. Simon Prebble made Downing's words come alive. In fact, the listener is riveted. This narrator should be fired from all future readings. his voice is droning, and i finally figured out why my Iphone has settings for increasing the speed at which you listen...If I didn't love these stories so much and was so interested in the lives of the characters, I would have given up long ago

14 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 06-03-2014

A nice completion to a good series, nearly ruined.

I've worked my way through the John Russel series, by David Downing, and enjoyed all of them. I don't understand why the whole series isn't available. I bought the paperback of the missing book so I could maintain the story line. I suppose the series can be read out of order, but it is really more of a single long novel and more enjoyable to read in order. This book did a nice job of summing up and closing the series. If you've enjoyed the story and characters in these somewhat slow paced, but well written books, I think you could enjoy this one.

But,,,,(and it's a significant but), the reader is nearly awful. The book is full of mispronunciations. I can ignore a lot of that, but the reader sometimes pronounces the proper name "Thomas" in the ordinary way, (tomas), but then, inexplicably will pronounce the Th, (thomas, as in Thermos), Again and again. It's really annoying.

So, if you can find this book performed by another reader, buy that version. If you can't, well, the story is a good solid David Downing story and important for closure to those of us who follow a series, so you'll just have to try to turn a deaf ear to the narrator, and do your best to enjoy the writing.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jim McBride
  • 21-08-2013

Deserves a better reader

I can't imagine a narrator less interested in the material he was reading than this one. He made almost no effort to differentiate among the characters with voice, inflection, accent, dynamics -- i.e., acting. Nor did he even try to properly pronounce the myriad of foreign names and phrases sprinkled throughout the book.I've read all of David Downing's excellent John Russell novels that depict the intrigues, human and political, that formed, deformed, and reformed the German experience before, during, and after World War II. This latest installment stands tall among them.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Liz
  • 17-12-2014

Appalling narration

What would have made Masaryk Station better?

Simon Prebble narrating

What other book might you compare Masaryk Station to and why?

Can't, as I couldn't finish it. Will have to read it instead.

Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Healy’s performances?

Certainly not. If I could have given this zero stars I would have.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Couldn't finish listening to it.

Any additional comments?

I wish I'd taken note of the comments from other readers before purchasing it.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David Holroyd
  • 01-02-2014

Big fan ...but

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator. I was tempted to give up.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His diction and pronunciation are poor.

Any additional comments?

Not the best work in the series, but once you're hooked!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Cindy Seitter
  • 10-06-2019

Terrible narrator

I’ve purchased and listened to the entire series. I was disappointed when Simon Prebble didn’t narrate the last 2 but the narrator of #5 was good as well. The narrator for this book is absolutely horrible, No inflection in his voice, hard to follow, and absolutely a pain to listen to. I’m not even sure I can finish it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Laura
  • 20-03-2019

New Reader please!

The story, once one got past the narrator, was actually really fascinating, that early cold war period in Berlin, as well as a view on what was happening to the rest of the Eastern Block. Why a different narrator was chosen was mysterious, because his tone completely distracted from the story,and it took me at least 2/3 the way through to get the thread of it, and who was who. Please, if any John Russell books come back, do NOT use Mr. Healy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 17-09-2020

A great story weighed down by a terrible narrator

I bought this title out of loyalty to the series, which I had thoroughly enjoyed through the voices of Simon Prebble and Simon Vance, fully aware that the reviews of this book were lackluster to say the least. Despite the fair warning, the book fell well short of my already low expectations. The reader commits not one, not two, but three cardinal sins of narration: indifference, mispronunciation and blurring of characters. He sounds like he just can't be bothered, or has a train to catch. He mangles words all over the place. And he has trouble distinguishing between female characters and male ones, much less among characters of the same gender. It was painful. I would have put it down if it was the first book and not the sixth in the series. I say all this because I am such a fan of Downing and this series in particular. He's right up there with the late, great Phillip Kerr, Alan Furst and Joseph Kanon. Creating textured characters and painting a vivid picture of the war years and the aftermath. This reader does such a disservice to an otherwise thrilling conclusion of this series. I would highly encourage the powers that be to bring back either Simon and put him in front of the microphone for a re-do.

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  • MickeyMarie
  • 10-02-2020

You have ruined this wonderful series

I struggled through Book Six after you changed narrators. But this one is soooooooooooooooo horrible that I have gotten only to chapter 3 and have to turn it off.

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  • AVS
  • 06-02-2019

Poor narration

Michael Healy has a perfectly good speaking voice, but his performance did not suit the material. Too much upspeak—not emotive enough. He sounded like he was narrating a children’s book.

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  • National Hunter
  • 22-03-2014

having loved David Downing's previous books...

...I thought I'd go against the previous reviews and get the book anyway because it can't be as bad as the narrator was painted...it is...and then some. So far I've stopped it twice and read other books...the narrator is appalling, it must've been done on the cheap this...he reads it monotone, like he didn't bother to proof read it the first time, it's awful, I'm so disappointed. I will be staying away from him in future...and Mr Downing, if you use him again, I'll be staying away from you too!

5 people found this helpful

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  • DjW
  • 02-11-2014

Good Plot. Awful narration.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Masaryk Station?

Having enjoyed Zoo, Silesian and Stettin stations on audio, I was doubly disappointed a) by two missing volumes: Pottsdam and Lehrter stations and b) by one of the worst audion narrations I've ever heard. I didn't trouble to check the narrator but it sounds as though English is not his first language. Perhaps someone thought this might lend the novel authenticity... or perhaps the narrator came cheap. Either way, a dreadful disappointment after the first 3 audios... made worse by the gap of two novels. Who plans this stuff? Seriously...

4 people found this helpful

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  • Emilie
  • 12-03-2018

Awful Narration

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I’ve listened to all the books in this series and this narrator is awful. The best are performers, they bring a wonderful new dimension to a a book. Next come the good readers, they have an ear for cadence and voice. The come the readers, who at least do no harm. Then come the serial word pronouncers. That’s what this is. he is so bad I am giving up and switching to the print version. I had been saving this because it was the last one in a series I didn’t want to see end but ..... there’s a limit.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Masaryk Station?

Will have to read it in print to find out.

Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Healy’s performances?

NO!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Chusan Services Ltd
  • 18-06-2015

Don't buy this book

Would you try another book written by David Downing or narrated by Michael Healy?

David Downing - YesMichael Healy - No

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Didn't get beyond chapter one.

What didn’t you like about Michael Healy’s performance?

Nothing!This, unfortunately, is the second book this month that has been spoiled by the choice of the reader. Michael Healy is another American who can't read aloud. I doubt he's ever heard the phrase 'tonal modulation' and wouldn't know what it was if he had! Remember the teacher/tutor/instructor who spoke in such a monotonous, boring way that most of the class were asleep in the first five minutes? That's Michael Healy!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger and sadness.

Any additional comments?

Luckily I have the Kindle version...

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • merlinsrevenge
  • 25-01-2015

I have heard instructions read aloud better

This narrator makes me wish for an abridged version........just awful. Ruined a good story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Flossie dog
  • 08-05-2014

Brilliant book spoiled by a dreadful narrator!

Would you consider the audio edition of Masaryk Station to be better than the print version?

I've listened to the audiobooks of the first 3 books in this series and read the 4th and 5th (as they don't seem to be available on audio as yet). I have thoroughly enjoyed all but this last one. The story-lines are excellent - informative, atmospheric and gripping; real page-turners. Masaryk Station, however, was totally spoiled for me by the dire narration. The modulation and inflection were dreadful and pronunciation (of English, German and Russian) was little,short of pitiful. I can't believe that the director / producer could be satisfied with producing such a dreadful audiobook. I was so disappointed that I shall be reading the printed version for myself!

What other book might you compare Masaryk Station to, and why?

Similar to the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr - all excellent stories. All these, however, had competent narrators!

Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Healy’s performances?

Definitely not!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Intrigue in post-war Berlin

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon Wells
  • 06-11-2020

Excellent conclusion to the series

Excellent story, captivating conclusion to the series, poor pronunciation of German words and names a bit frustrating.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • SMG
  • 10-03-2020

Great Series, Terrible Narrator

I’ve really enjoyed the series of books and would heartily recommend them. It’s made me want to is ten to more WWII stories. However, this book was almost ruined by the awful narration. Michael Healy’s accent doesn’t lend itself to narration in general but specifically- many words were mispronounced, large sections were read in a droning monotone, emphasis was often placed on the wrong part of a sentence and countless other mistakes. It made the story very hard to follow, if this had been the first book and not the last, I would have given up in less than an hour.

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