It seemed to me that the train had started to make a curious thumping noise. I tried to separate the noise, identify it, and realised that it was the sound of the blood pumping in my head. I knew suddenly that I was scared, scared stiff. According to his autobiography, Here Lies , Ambler completed Cause For Alarm in an out-of-season hotel in the French Alps which was so cold that the owners heated up bricks on the hotel stove, wrapped them in newspaper and distributed them to guests. Ambler wrote the final parts of the novel with a hot brick in his lap and another on his feet.
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This is a cracking, though quite low key, classic espionage thriller, written by one of the acknowledged masters of the form, Eric Ambler in If you want to start with Ambler I would probably start there. History is turning back to the concerns of Cause for Alarm too, which is set largely in Fascist Italy in the outer regions of the arms trade.
But are Zaleshoff and his sister, Tamara, really Soviet agents as Vagas tells him during a bizarre night at the opera? In classic thriller style, fish-out-of-water Marlow is dragged in to a dirty world for which he is ill prepared.
The last third of the novel is a tense and taught escape story that the slow-burning earlier chapters nicely set up. Ambler, like many men of his generation, was sympathetic to the view that Soviet Russia and communism might be the only effective opposition to the rise of Fascism.
British readers of my age will recognise the clipped black-and-white tones of Mr Cholmondeley-Warner and enjoy the odd inappropriate smile at Marlow, who is, in any case, a rather exasperating character at times.
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Cause for Alarm
This is a cracking, though quite low key, classic espionage thriller, written by one of the acknowledged masters of the form, Eric Ambler in If you want to start with Ambler I would probably start there. History is turning back to the concerns of Cause for Alarm too, which is set largely in Fascist Italy in the outer regions of the arms trade. But are Zaleshoff and his sister, Tamara, really Soviet agents as Vagas tells him during a bizarre night at the opera? In classic thriller style, fish-out-of-water Marlow is dragged in to a dirty world for which he is ill prepared.
F or Graham Greene he was "unquestionably our best thriller writer". With the six novels he wrote in the years leading up to the second world war - five of which have just been reissued by Penguin Modern Classics - Eric Ambler revitalised the British thriller, rescuing the genre from the jingoistic clutches of third-rate imitators of John Buchan, and recasting it in a more realist, nuanced and leftishly intelligent - not to mention exciting - mould. His novels were all out of print by the time he died in October , but his tales of ordinary men and sometimes women caught up in the machinations of carelessly malign international corporations, or of stateless refugees facing an uncertain future in a volatile and unwelcoming Europe, seemed anything but out of date when I first read them the following year - the year in which Naomi Klein's No Logo brought concerns about the depredations of globalised capital into the mainstream, and thousands of people were displaced by the war in Kosovo. However, Ambler never intended to be a thriller writer. If his autobiography, the wrily entitled Here Lies Eric Ambler, is to be believed, his ambition as a young man was to be a playwright. Born years ago this month in south-east London, the eldest child of music-hall artists, he won at the age of 16 a scholarship to study engineering at Northampton Polytechnic in Islington now City University.
Cause For Alarm by Eric Ambler (1938)
Cause for Alarm is a novel by Eric Ambler first published in Set in Fascist Italy in that year, the book is one of Ambler's classic spy thrillers. Nicholas Marlow, an English engineer engaged to a young doctor, one day, out of the blue, loses his well-paid job. After several months of sheer desperation, he responds to an advert by an English engineering company, the Spartacus Machine Tool Company of Wolverhamption.
Eric Ambler - Cause for Alarm
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