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Ebook Night of Wenceslas by Lionel Davidson read! Book Title: Night of Wenceslas
The author of the book: Lionel Davidson
Language: English
ISBN: 0312958765
ISBN 13: 9780312958763
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 33.45 MB
Edition: St. Martin's Press
Date of issue: July 7th 1996

Read full description of the books Night of Wenceslas:

After reading Kolymsky Heights and the Rose of Tibet recently, it only seemed right that I track down the book that started Lionel Davidson's career as a novelist. And thus, a week ago, it arrived in the post - wrapped and ready for my reading pleasure! The first thing that surprised me was the length, the other two were at least 200 pages longer!

We open up with a view as to what dating was like in the 1960s - a decade I was forty years away from ever experiencing! At first I thought that the book may seem a little dated, but this wasn't the case and if anything it was lovely to read a portrayal of early sixties London - a city I'm very familiar with in its contemporary state.

The protagonist is Nicolas Whistler, a half Czechoslovakian (this is relevant to the plot) twenty-two year old who works for a glass company that used to be owned by his late father. Like many twenty somethings of today (I guess, myself included) - he lives life quite fast, likes a beer and has a tendency to burn money on cars and clothes. However (thankfully unlike myself) he's managed to get himself in a fair bit of debt - he's hoping to gain a better role at the glass firm, however his boss - who he aptly calls 'the little swine' - seems to have no intention of complying with his wishes. His lack of money and lack of common sense also irritates his girlfriend, Maura - she's sensible, down-to-earth and if he'd just listen to her his life would be so much easier!

Nicolas' one hope at getting some money is receiving an inheritance from his Uncle Bela, an elderly relative who has a business over in Canada. One day news breaks that Bela has died and Nicolas is invited to a solicitor's office to collect his inheritance. All seems good at first...however, things aren't as they seem - and it soon turns out that it was all a ploy by a tyrant of a moneylender to get Nicolas to work for him.

At the time of writing, Czechoslovakia was an iron curtain country - involved in the Cold War. Our intrepid 'hero' is, basically, blackmailed into entering (via connections to his late father) the country to help the moneylender steal some business secrets from a glass factory in Prague. Reluctantly he agrees to fly over there first...things seem to go very well.

However, as is the case with this type of tale, things spiral out of control and all really isn't as it seems. The hapless, self-absorbed Nicolas Whistler finds himself on the run from the secret police and trapped amongst the faceless streets of the Czech city.

It's a lot of fun, and as with Davidson's other novels - there's a great sense of place, I've yet to go to Prague (on the list) but it painted up such a picture that I almost felt as if I was there with the character.

I'll warn you though, it's a different type of man-on-the-run thriller than today's offerings. Don't go in expecting lots of gunfights and an ending where the 'good guy' has some kind of bigass showdown with the main 'villains'. It's a different type of story, and in many ways is also a spoof of the genre - some say it's the book that actually created the whole 'spy parody'.

It's a five star from me.

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Lionel Davidson was a three-times winner of the Gold Dagger Award (for The Night of Wenceslas, A Long Way to Shilo and The Chelsea Murders). His thrillers and adventure novels have won him enormous international acclaim.

See also Obituary at
[this reference added 12-Aug-2013].

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