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Usædvanlig fare (1937)

af Eric Ambler

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411546,916 (3.74)22
En engelsk journalist påtager sig en harmløs smugleraffære over grænsen til Østrig, og bliver derved intetanende indblandet i et livsfarligt spil mellem England, Hitlertyskland og Sovjetunionen om olieinteresser i Rumænien.
Nyligt tilføjet afJohnCraig73, privat bibliotek, Rennie80, KENNERLYDAN, Celion
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Free lance reporter Kenton finds himself out of funds and opportunities while traveling in Nazi Germany bound for Linz. When he accepts an assignment from a fellow traveler to drop off an envelop there, for a fee, he finds himself in the midst of espionage and murder.
Eric Ambler's writing is fast paced and his characters are interesting and believable.
  RonWelton | Nov 7, 2020 |
It is easy to see how Eric Ambler came to enjoy so much success in Hollywood. His books have a cinematic quality to them. He is obsessed with advancing the plot. And he does so, here, with Background to Danger, in a fashion as strong as any other book he wrote, including A Coffin for Dimitrios. Ambler's chapters can easily be broken into scenes and you can practically see the shot as it would appear before the camera. Transitions, done with flashbacks, directly relate to cinema, as does his transitions that amount to plot points, along with easily visualized fades and dissolves.

Background to Danger was published a few years before A Coffin for Dimitrios. And it seems to me that Ambler is working towards what he will ultimately achieve in Dimitrios. That is, both these novels work towards what will be the "buddy movie" genre in Hollywood and both are fitted out in a manner that would later be seen in the anti-heroes of 70s films. Go to the film version of Dimitrios and this notion is even more evident, with two confirmed anti-heroes in the lead roles, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet as newly framed friends in the fight against corruption.

The unexpected friendship in Background to Danger comes with the relationship built up between Kenton ("not Kenten") and the Soviet spy, Zaleshoff, and his sister, Tamara. Ambler does so at a cost, however. He distorts history and current events to make the Russians friendly, heroic, ethical, and altruistic. In the process, he trivialized the crimes of Stalin, endorses the Moscow Show Trials, and contributes to the creation of the Trotsky bogeyman. Eventually, Ambler came to recant of these views and his novels became far less political.

But in Background, in the world of 1937, it's enough that Zaleshoff is anti-Nazi. That is what matters. It must have been a shock to the filmgoing audiences, then, when in just a few years, kindly Uncle Joe would sign up to a non-aggression pact with Hitler, invade eastern Poland, and enable the start of World War II. As with many who had succumbed to the lure of the Soviet dictator in order to fight fascism, the filmgoers and writers such as Ambler would soon have their illusions shattered. That is why, I suppose, that so many of Ambler's later books treat corruption, despotism, and widespread massacre as an integral part of human society everywhere. ( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
Ook verschenen als "Dodelijk gevaar"
  Marjoles | Jul 20, 2015 |
Taking anything across the border for anyone spells trouble, especially if for high payment. The British journalist Kenton takes the offer, as he has just lost all his money gambling. The following day, when he tries to deliver the envelope and collect his fee, he finds the agent murdered.

Upon inspection, Kenton discovers that the envelope contains a number of photos, which, in the wrong hands could lead to a war on the Balkans, and the rise of Fascism in the region. Obviously, other people are after the photos. On the one hand, a group of dangerous criminals lead by Colonel Robinson, in the pay of Western oil companies, versus Andreas Zaleshoff and his beautiful sister Tamara, secret agents from Moscow. Kenton is kidnapped and tortured by Colonel Robinson, but rescued by Zaleshoff. Trusting neither faction, and looking for a scoop to make a great story, he escapes and, being looked for by the Austrian police, crosses into Czechoslovakia to look for Colonel Robinson in Prague. He is caught up by Zaleshoff, and they decide to take on Robinson together, an attempt they barely escape from with their lives.

It is a gripping story, somewhat reminiscent of, but preceding as Uncommon danger was published as early as 1937, some of the stories of James Bond and the oil interest in the Balkan region. The story is ingenious and exciting, while the reader's natural sympathy is with Kenton, and absolute amateur of espionage.

Excellent reading. ( )
1 stem edwinbcn | Nov 4, 2012 |
Very typical Ambler - which means better than 99% of what is out there. Most of Amber's best books seem like Hitchcock movies, with an average man involved in things that are somewhat beyond his understanding - but persevering through his courage and determination. This one has a lot of other interesting characters besides the hero, as well. ( )
1 stem datrappert | Jun 9, 2009 |
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'Today, with Europe assuming the appearance of an armed camp in which an incident, unimportant in itself, would be sufficient to ignite a conflagration that would consume Europe and perhaps spread to other quarters of the globe: today, when national security in Europe and perhaps elsewhere, depends primarily on the strength and effectiveness of a nation's armed forces, the question of supply of raw materials and particularly supply of petroleum is of the first importance.' - World Petroleum
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One sunny morning in July, Mr Balterghen's blue Rolls-Royce oozed silently away from the pavement in Berkeley Square, slid across Picadilly into St James's, and sped softly eastward towards the City of London.
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Uncommon Danger is also known as Background to Danger in the US. Please do not use the canonical title field to force one title over the other.
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En engelsk journalist påtager sig en harmløs smugleraffære over grænsen til Østrig, og bliver derved intetanende indblandet i et livsfarligt spil mellem England, Hitlertyskland og Sovjetunionen om olieinteresser i Rumænien.

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