A labyrinth of plot
twists, an incredible setting, and brilliant writing make this post WWII story
a winner. Istanbul has the glamor and intrigue of sitting at the gate
between West and East. It is a city full of dark alleys, black water
sparkling in the city lights at night, and colorful mosques; a visually
dazzling place. Leon’s wife helped shepherd Jews fleeing the Nazis through the
city on their way to Palestine. It was dangerous, dismal work that left
her catatonic in an expensive care facility. Leon started with delivering
packages to do his bit, as an American businessman he had the perfect cover for
going from place to place. Then the packages became people and the game
was something more. With the war over his handler in the US Embassy wants him
to deliver one more man; it should have been easy and relatively safe.
Instead, the night explodes in violence and leaves Leon with dangerous human
cargo and no backup. Now he has to figure his way through the maze of
disinformation and double cross.
June 2012 Indie Next List
“Istanbul in 1945 -- a caldron of intrigue with layer upon layer of cultures, religions, security organizations, spies, police, foreign agents, and refugees -- is the backdrop for this tale of moral ambiguity featuring Leon Bauer, an American tobacco company representative. He has spent the war years in Istanbul doing 'favors' for someone from the American Consulate from time to time. Now he is asked for one last favor -- to arrange passage of a notorious Romanian Nazi collaborator on the run from the Russians. Istanbul Passage is atmospheric, believable, fast-paced, and elegantly written for a thoroughly absorbing read.”
— Darwin Ellis, Books On The Common, Ridgefield, CT
In the bestselling tradition of espionage novels by John LeCarre and Alan Furst, Istanbul Passage brilliantly illustrates why Edgar Award–winning author Joseph Kanon has been hailed as "the heir apparent to Graham Greene" (The Boston Globe).
Istanbul survived the Second World War as a magnet for refugees and spies. Even expatriate American Leon Bauer was drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs in support of the Allied war effort. Now as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of postwar life, Leon is given one last routine assignment. But when the job goes fatally wrong—an exchange of gunfire, a body left in the street, and a potential war criminal on his hands—Leon is trapped in a tangle of shifting loyalties and moral uncertainty.
Played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this knowing, ancient Ottoman city, Istanbul Passage is the unforgettable story of a man swept up in the dawn of the Cold War, of an unexpected love affair, and of a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it.
About the Author
Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of The Accomplice, Defectors, Leaving Berlin, Istanbul Passage, Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, Alibi, Stardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. He lives in New York City.
“A fast-moving, thinking man’s thriller. . . tense and atmospheric [with] sinister intrigue.”
— The Wall Street Journal
“Intelligent plotting and vivid evocation of the city itself.”
— The New York Times Book Review
“Dialogue that can go off like gunfire…Takes its place among espionage novels as an instant classic.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Superbly crafted…A beautifully conceived and atmospheric thriller.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“Offers access to the compromised milieu of a vivid metropolis in its first postwar winter, where everyone is trying to keep balance amid bad choices.”
— The Washington Post
"Istanbul Passage is a first-rate espionage novel, filled with complexity and thrills, but its greatest success may be in this much more universal literary exploration: how an ordinary man is transformed by extraordinary circumstances."
— Chris Pavone, New York Times bestselling author of The Expats, in Publishers Weekly
"Istanbul Passage bristles with authenticity. Joseph Kanon has a unique and admirable talent: he brilliantly marries suspense and historical fact, wrapping them around a core of pure human drama, while making it seem effortless. This isn't just talent; it's magic.”
— Olen Steinhauer, New York Times bestselling author of The Tourist
"With dialogue that can go off like gunfire and a streak of nostalgia that feels timeless, this book takes its place among espionage novels as an instant classic."
--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“A masterful work that is as gripping as it is intelligent.”
— The Daily Beast
“Kanon delivers a satisfying atmospheric thriller.”
— Entertainment Weekly
"Superbly crafted… A beautifully conceived and atmospheric thriller; highly recommended."
— Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Reminiscent of the works of Graham Greene."
— Alexander McCall Smith