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A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller Series

David Downing
As WWII rages, Anglo-American journalist John Russell must try to navigate his day job at the paper in Berlin, his home life, and his secret life with opposing intelligence services. One misstep and the equilibrium he’s fought so hard to maintain could crumble.
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A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller Series : Titles in Order

Book 7
The prequel to David Downing’s bestselling Station series introduces John Russell, an Englishman with a political past who must keep his head down as the Nazis solidify their power.

February 27, 1933. In this stunning prequel to the John Russell espionage novels, the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin is set ablaze. It’s just a month after Hitler’s inauguration as Chancellor of Germany, and the Nazis use the torching to justify a campaign of terror against their political opponents. John Russell’s recent separation from his wife threatens his right to reside in Germany and any meaningful relationship with his six-year-old son, Paul. He has just secured work as a crime reporter for a Berlin newspaper, and the crimes which he has to report—the gruesome murder of a rent boy, the hit-and-run death of a professional genealogist, the suspicious disappearance of a Nazi-supporting celebrity fortune-teller—are increasingly entangled in the wider nightmare engulfing Germany.

Each new investigation carries the risk of Russell’s falling foul of the authorities, at a time when the rule of law has completely vanished, and the Nazis are running scores of pop-up detention centers, complete with torture chambers, in every corner of Berlin.
Book 6
Berlin, 1948. Still occupied by the four Allied powers and largely in ruins, the city has become the cockpit of a new Cold War. 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. As spring unfolds, a Western withdrawal looks increasingly likely. Berlin’s German inhabitants live in fear of the Soviet forces who occupy half the city, and whose legacy of violence has ripped apart many families.
 
John Russell works for both Stalin’s NKVD and the newly created CIA, trying his best to cut himself loose from both before his double-agency is discovered by either. As tensions between the great powers escalate, each passing day makes Russell’s position more treacherous. He and his Soviet liaison, Shchepkin, seek out one final operation—one piece of intelligence so damning it could silence the wrath of one nation and solicit the protection of the other. It will be the most dangerous task Russell has ever taken on, but one way or the other, it will be his last.
Book 5
Caught between Soviets and Americans, John Russell can’t escape his role as an accidental spy

Book 5 in the John Russell historical thriller series.

It’s 1945, and British journalist John Russell has finally reunited with his German girlfriend, Effi, in London after a dangerous flight from war-torn Berlin. But Russell realizes his new life in England isn’t going to last when he is tracked down by Soviet agent Shchepkin, who helped Russell escape the disastrous last days of the war and the Russian army’s destruction of Berlin. It is time to repay the debt, and Shchepkin’s bosses in Moscow are not the forgiving types. Russell has no choice but to agree to be transferred back to Germany, where he will resume his cover as an investigative journalist and hand over US intelligence reports on the German Communist Party.

Meanwhile, Effi struggles to revive her acting career, but she cannot fight the desire to uncover ex-Nazi Party members still at large in Berlin. In this dangerous new world, where alliances change every day, will John and Effi be able to leave the past behind? Or are the new enemies the same as the old?
Book 4
In April 1945, Hitler’s Reich is on the verge of extinction. Assaulted by Allied bombs and Soviet shells, ruled by Nazis with nothing to lose, Berlin has become the most dangerous place on earth.
 
John Russell’s son Paul is stationed on the Eastern Front with the German Army, awaiting the Soviets’ final onslaught. In Berlin, Russell’s girlfriend Effi has been living in disguise, helping fugitives to escape from Germany. With a Jewish orphan to care for, she’s trying to outlast the Nazis.
 
Russell hasn’t heard from either of them since fleeing Germany in 1941. He is desperate to find out if they’re alive and to protect them from the advancing Red Army. He flies to Moscow, seeking permission to enter Berlin with the Red Army as a journalist, but when the Soviet’s arrest him as a spy, things look bleak—until they find a use for him that has him parachuting into Berlin behind German lines.
Book 3
In the fall of 1941, Anglo-American journalist John Russell is still living in Berlin, tied to the increasingly alien city by his love for two Berliners: his fourteen-year-old son, Paul, and his longtime girlfriend, Effi. Forced to work for both German and American Intelligence, he’s searching for a way out of Germany. Can he escape and take Effi with him?
Book 2
Summer, 1939. British journalist John Russell has just been granted American citizenship in exchange for agreeing to work for American intelligence when his girlfriend Effi is arrested by the Gestapo. Russell hoped his new nationality would let him safely stay in Berlin with Effi and his son, but now he’s being blackmailed. To free Effi, he must agree to work for the Nazis. They know he has Soviet connections and want him to pass them false intelligence. Russell consents, but secretly offers his services to the Soviets instead—not for anything too dangerous, though, and only if they’ll sneak him and Effi out of Germany if necessary.

It’s a good plan, but soon things become complicated. A Jewish girl has vanished, and Russell feels compelled to search for her. A woman from his past, a communist, reappears, insisting he help her reconnect with the Soviets, who turn out to demand more than Russell hoped. Meanwhile, Europe lurches toward war, and he must follow the latest stories—to places where American espionage assignments await him.
Book 1
“In the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr . . . [Downing is] brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin.”─Washington Post
 
Berlin, 1939: Anglo-American journalist John Russell survives in Nazi Germany by keeping his head down. He writes human-interest pieces for British and American papers, avoiding the investigative journalism that could get him deported. But war is on the horizon, and every day is fraught with new risks.

When an acquaintance from his communist days approaches him to do some work for the Soviets, Russell is reluctant, but he agrees in hopes that it will allow him to keep his family together. One dangerous assignment leads to another, and when the British and the Nazis notice his involvement with the Soviets, Russell is dragged into the murky world of warring intelligence services.

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