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Dangers, Toils and Snares charts the life and times of Jaroslav (Jiri/Jerry) Zellek, 1895-1963. Born in provincial Austria, synesthete, gifted musician and linguist, Jiri’s experiences take him to Germany, London, the Isle of Wight and finally rural Hampshire. These various locations offer him alternative paths in life, often with alternative partners. Jiri’s sexuality is ambivalent; not a problem in 1920s Berlin, but more so in post war England.
Although never an intelligence agent, Jiri is involved as both fall-guy and hitman with a group who are based on the infamous Cambridge Spies. As the story progresses, gradually uncovered family secrets will cast doubt on his closest relationships. Jiri is an unpredictable, solipsistic and not entirely likeable character, but his unusual internal monologues about the situations he finds himself in and his enduring ability to come out on top of continually unpromising situations keep the reader on his side.
The novel is an entertaining read with witty dialogue and surreal situations. The tone is decidedly quirky and will keep you guessing until the very end.
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