Cover image for A time without shadows
A time without shadows
Allbeury, Ted.
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Publication Information:
New York : Mysterious Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
289 pages ; 24 cm
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Already a bestseller in England, this book combines Allbeury's mastery of current espionage techniques with his encyclopedic knowledge of WWII spying in the French underground. Allbeury is arguably the best teller of spy tales to come out of that growing group of authors who were spies themselves.--Washington Post.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The premise of this espionage thriller seems a bit tired, but the book holds several unexpected pleasures. The action jumps between World War II and present-day Britain, where a government worker has developed a theory that, in order to keep Stalin happy, Churchill compromised a network of spies who were working with the French underground. Winnie's wheelings and dealings have framed more than one spy tale, but, by setting his novel in the past, Allbeury avoids dealing with the problem of how to write espionage novels in the post-cold war era. Instead, he offers a gentle, measured narrative, chronicling the gradual indoctrination of British soldier Philip Maclean into patriotism and spycraft. Along the way, there's room for a detailed and decidedly unjingoistic evocation of Paris during wartime, where collaboration and surrender make a lot more sense than we're usually led to believe. There's also a tender love story involving Maclean and a French woman whose later recollections will fuel the investigation. Espionage as a cover for the study of place, time, and character. ~--Peter Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

The title's irony isn't apparent until halfway into the book; by the end, however, its reverberations are breathtaking. A young Scot raised in Paris, Philip Maclean is recruited in 1941 to run a Resistance operation in occupied France. After a year of performing modest, safe jobs, Philip is told by Churchill that an Allied invasion is imminent, and Philip's Scorpio network begins a major campaign of sabotage against the Germans. Philip is abruptly picked up by the Nazis and Scorpio wiped out; just before he's sent to Auschwitz, Philip learns that a German spy had been planted within Scorpio from the start. Forty years later Harry Chapman of British Intelligence is assigned to ferret out information in response to a question in Parliament about a secret agreement between Churchill and the Soviets that allowed the sacrifice of a non-government intelligence group. Although it's not Chapman's usual kind of job, he interviews a variety of survivors--Philip's French widow, an ex-Nazi officer, a crippled Resistance hero, a French dressmaker. Learning of the vicious competition between rival intelligence services, the professionals and the wartime amateurs, he realizes that he himself is in danger from ruthless spy veterans. Allbeury's ( A Wilderness of Mirrors ) tale is smoothly bleak. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Philip Maclean, an English art student living in France in 1940, escapes to England where he is recruited by British intelligence. He soon returns to France to establish Scorpio, a resistance network. Barely operational, Scorpio is betrayed and Maclean and his followers are rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps. Forty years later British intelligence officer Harry Chapman is assigned to find out who betrayed Scorpio, and why. He quickly learns that others are ready to kill to keep the truth buried forever. Allbeury ( The Lantern Network , LJ 2/15/89) offers a well-written, leisurely excursion into a mild version of espionage with interesting characters engaged in a well-crafted plot. Quietly entertaining, but not for the hard-core spy thriller fan. Recommended for large fiction collections.-- Brian Alley, Sangamon State Univ. Lib., Springfield, Ill. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.