• The Berlin Exchange

  • A Novel
  • By: Joseph Kanon
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (160 ratings)

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The Berlin Exchange

By: Joseph Kanon
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
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Publisher's Summary

From “the most accomplished spy novelist working today” (The Sunday Times, London), a “heart-poundingly suspenseful” (The Washington Post) espionage thriller set at the height of the Cold War, when a captured American who has spied for the KGB is returned to East Berlin, needing to know who arranged for his release and what they now want from him.

Berlin, 1963. An early morning spy swap, not at the familiar setting for such exchanges, nor at Checkpoint Charlie, where international visitors cross into the East, but at a more discreet border crossing, usually reserved for East German VIPs. The Communists are trading two American students caught helping people to escape over the wall and an aging MI6 operative. On the other side of the trade: Martin Keller, a physicist who once made headlines, but who then disappeared into the English prison system. Keller’s most critical possession: his American passport. Keller’s most ardent desire: to see his ex-wife Sabine and their young son.

The exchange is made with the formality characteristic of these swaps. But Martin has other questions: Who asked for him? Who negotiated the deal? The KGB? He knows that nothing happens by chance. They want him for something. Not physics—his expertise is out of date. Something else, which he cannot learn until he arrives in East Berlin, when suddenly the game is afoot.

Intriguing and atmospheric, with action rising to a dangerous climax, The Berlin Exchange “expertly describes what happens when a disillusioned former agent tries to come in from the cold” (The New York Times Book Review), confirming Kanon as “the greatest writer ever of historical espionage fiction” (Spybrary).

©2022 Joseph Kanon. All rights reserved. (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Jonathan Davis helps build the tension, creating a dark atmosphere of suspicion and suspense. His strong characterizations help listeners keep track of the story’s principals. Davis’s authentic-sounding pronunciation of names and places also helps to set the scenes and build the atmosphere, while his excellent pacing amps up the tension." (AudioFile Magazine)

What listeners say about The Berlin Exchange

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fabulous thriller. As good as LeCarre

This is a can’t stop listening story of East Germany in he 1960’s and the people who were ghost traded across the wall for western goods. The story reaches back into Los Alamos and the sharing of secret information of the Manhattan project to the Soviets. This is a first rate, top of the heap spy yarn with none of the cheap and tawdry violent nonsense put in by 90% of thriller writers. Every bit as good as Le Carre or Daniel Silva’s best.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mediocre

The story was a bit tooo linear to really captivate me. I knew what was going to happen. And, while I really appreciate the creativity and skill that it take to narrate a story. This narrator, while getting voices, accents and tones believable, whispered the whole thing. As a result most of it was pretty much monotone as a result. The characters didn’t raise their voices or even talk at a normal volume (except the story narrator). I do realize it was a technique to reinforce that almost everything was told in secret, but it really got tiresome.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

nothing interesting.

Boring. don't waste your time or money on this. reader is boring. story is desultory.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Classic Joseph Kanon!

Good story, a slow burn at first, and a slower book than he normally writes. But things heat up and the story keeps you on your toes! Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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Another cold war Germanystory

The story started well and but somewhat fizzled out at the end. Some of the characters are from the earlier and much better novel (Los Alamos) by the same author. Loved the reading that kept my interest up.