Horse under Water

The unnamed hero of this novel smokes Gauloise cigarettes and is serious about good coffee He spent part of WW II in Portugal He and his boss Dawlish work in a secret branch of the War Office called W.O.O.C P , located in a shabby building in Charlotte Street in London They will reappear in later books In this novel, the hero is sent on a diving course in preparationThe unnamed hero of this novel smokes Gauloise cigarettes and is serious about good coffee He spent part of WW II in Portugal He and his boss Dawlish work in a secret branch of the War Office called W.O.O.C P , located in a shabby building in Charlotte Street in London They will reappear in later books In this novel, the hero is sent on a diving course in preparation for a venture that might yield a lot of possibly counterfeited money from a sunken German WW II submarine, which could be invested discreetly, in a group planning to overthrow the then ruling Salazar dictatorship in Portugal Its principal locations are London and Albufeira in Portugal s Algarve.Apart from diving 40 meters deep, the hero is trying to find out what is really at stake And why him to find out Claustrophobics should skip the probes of the dark interior of the massive U Boot Before and during the dives, the hero is tailed, his messages are intercepted, and some of the associates forced on him die violent deaths His mission objectives are vague and remain so What is going on Who is behind it all No one seems to be who he claims to be And some local connections go back to WW II, even to the Spanish civil war Even the horse under water is not a horse
Horse under Water The unnamed hero of this novel smokes Gauloise cigarettes and is serious about good coffee He spent part of WW II in Portugal He and his boss Dawlish work in a secret branch of the War Office called W

  • Title: Horse under Water
  • Author: Len Deighton
  • ISBN: 058604431
  • Page: 433
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Horse under Water”

    1. As a writer of spy novels, Len Deighton is high on the scale of authenticity, but low on the scale of writerly skills. Probably the best in the field is John Le Carré, with Ian Fleming somewhere south of him. The unnamed narrator of Horse Under Water is sent to Portugal to supervise divers in bringing some some highly interesting contents of a sunken U-Boat. As is typical in what I have read of Deighton's, everyone he works with is suspect in various ways, either as a spy for the enemy, or as a [...]

    2. Len Deighton's unnamed spy, first encountered in The Ipcress File, stands somewhere between the OTT hero antics of James Bond and the far more believable and prosaic world of John Le Carre's George Smiley. Horse Under Water is not quite as well known the three Len Deighton novels that were made into Michael Caine movies; which it should be.There is more sardonic humour and a few leaps of faith, that in the real world would probably be amiss but it makes for the pacing and readability of these bo [...]

    3. It's easy to forget how good a writer the nearly nonagenarian Len Deighton is; he has been amazingly prolific in various genres, churning out wildly disparate works with apparent ease, and the prose never seems to suffer. This was Deighton's second novel, published in 1963, and it's full of sharp one-liners and little virtuoso touches: "The water was cool and moonlight trickled across it like cream spilt on a black velvet dress Cats sat around with their hands in their pockets and stared insolen [...]

    4. 'Horse Under Water' is a lot of fun. The traditional laconic, wry, self-deprecating, offbeat, irreverent, swank, Deighton style which he coined with the earlier 'Ipcress File'. Characters spouting quips left and right. The pacing is languid for 3/4ths of the story and then picks up impetus at the end, while remaining very clipped and staccato, making you eager to thumb ahead. Exotic setting (coast of Portugal); and Deighton's trademark 'elements of the absurd'. Deighton nimbly keeps all the clue [...]

    5. The anonymous spy in Deighton's first four novels is a Marlowe type moral hero. He is anti-establishment and has symphaty for those who have the misfortune of understanding the otherside's points. Unlike Marlowe, Deighton's spy is a bureaucrat. He is still fighting for the Queen and Country which turns him into an even more of a cynical character than Marlowe. This is not a bad thing as Deighton has a keen eye on bureaucratic maneuvers and inter agency rivalry. Deighton's style is influenced by [...]

    6. Fatty grilled kidneys and warm bread in Marrakech's souk, jelly filled doughnuts hot from the fryer, warm almond cookies dipped in hot mint tea mmmmmmm. So what if Deighton's humor is sometimes puerile, his attitudes occasionally smutty, and his attempts at clever Chandlerisms regrettable ("He was a cool as a Camembert."!?). He's still the only spy writer who's successfully yoked heart-thumping intrigue with broiled spider crab followed by cream of shrimp soup. Read the Horse under Water for it [...]

    7. This is his second novel, and you can feel him developing his skills. I know the appeal of the first book, The Ipcress File, was its depiction of British intelligence as a bureaucracy, seizing on a more realistic approach to espionage than someone like Fleming. However the writing is sometimes hard to follow, sometimes a bit too plodding, and the moments where action rules fall flat.This second book is better at character development, and slightly better at developing tension and holding a reade [...]

    8. I read this one sometime in the seventies or eighties and other than the cover art, I can't remember much about it at all. What I do remember is that Len Deighton wrote a couple of cookery books that I quite liked and found much more useful than this book.

    9. Possibly my favourite of the unnamed agent series. As in many many of Deightons books there often small humorous touches. Especially relevant to me is part of the action takes place near me.Also nice to see is the cover shown is the original paperback

    10. Interesting read centered on a sunken Nazi submarine and it's role in the Cold War era. British intelligence agencies investigate how its links to highly placed officials in the government. What is notable is the measured pace of this spy novel, at times like reading a diary, in contrast with the usual flash/bang narrative pace of the genre.

    11. Another intriguing instalment from Deighton - with some intuitive jumps preventing a 5star performance. Palmer is the thinking man's spy.

    12. A little over-achieving in the early chapters, where Deighton launches every disconcerting jump-cut, jarring montage or snap-zoom that he can; a symptom of the times, probably, and certainly influenced by the Pop Media of the day.Once the flashy business is over and we're into the actual storyline, the novel improves considerably. Here we're back on familiar ground and the better-known Deighton environs that were notable in The Ipcress File and Funeral In Berlin. The great strengths of this kind [...]

    13. Library ebook (A story reminder) In this second book Dawlish is now head of the secret British Intelligence unit, WOOC(P). Harry Palmer (no name given in the books but the films Harry Palmer is used).HP is set an assignment that was a ruse from the beginning. He was to gain diving skills and then head up a search of a known German U boat sunk off the coast of Portugal. The goal was to locate counterfeit money from the war years printed by the Germans to unsettle the UK economy. HP, as I the read [...]

    14. This is the second in Len Deighton's 'nameless spy' series. (The notion that they're narrated by a real spy recounting real cases that have become unclassified is supported by his never saying his name in the books. In the movies based on some of the books, he's called Harry Palmer.) This was fun, mainly thanks to the narrator's lightly comic style. As a thriller, it might not satisfy modern fans of that genre - there are thrills, but there are also lengthy sequences of good non-thrill storytell [...]

    15. Originally published on my blog here in December 2003.When The Ipcress File was such a huge success - it became an instant classic, and almost immediately a hit film - there must have been a great deal of interest in the follow-up. In fact, it plays safe, and is more of the same - a straight sequel. Indeed, throughout his career, despite occasional experimentation in novels such as Bomber and SS-GB, Deighton tended to return again and again to the disillusioned spy story of the type which made h [...]

    16. One reason why Len Deighton’s 1960s’ spy-novels read so much better than his 1980s’ “Berlin Game” and its sequels, featuring Bernard Samson and his family and colleagues, is the character of the first-person narrator-hero. Whereas Deighton’s later novels rely on the motifs, plots and standard characters of the genre, “Horse Under Water”, “The Ipcress File”, “Funeral in Berlin” and “Billion Dollar Brain” have Harry Palmer, as the first-person narrator is retrospectivel [...]

    17. I found Len Deighton's Horse Under Water to be an entertaining and fun read. Chock-full of smelly French cigarettes, countless cups of Nescafé, a few ex-Nazis, a few British fascists, an eccentric American expatriate, and the ubiquitous sexy blond, Horse Under Water covers all the bases.Most of the action takes place in a small Salazar-era Portuguese fishing village. Deighton makes use of a handy appendix to further explain several plot twists. He writes in the first person from the perspective [...]

    18. Boy did this one take me awhile to get through. I just couldn't get into it. One of Deighton's early works and it shows. He was far too focused on being clever in his writing and it was distracting.I understand that the nature of the story entails not having everything laid out and explained. At the end the narrator even states that, but this one just didn't flow. It lagged and I found myself having to work to maintain my interest. I kept at it mainly because I had started it and I hate to put a [...]

    19. Len Deighton's unnamed spy, first encountered in The Ipcress File, stands somewhere between the OTT hero antics of James Bond and the far more believable and prosaic world of John Le Carre's George Smiley. Horse Under Water is not quite as well known the three that were made into Michael Caine movies which it should be.There is amiss but it makes for the pacing and readability of these books. It's also the time period. Post war Britain and all the attention to a world now sadly gone. Mention of [...]

    20. These Deighton covers with Michael Caine's thick black frames and hooded eyes peering out are a cool reminder of the era. I also like the photo of Deighton himself they have on the back cover. Standing in front of a helicopter with his aviator sunglasses. Wiping a bit of grit out of his eye, I think. The accompanying quote by Life magazine, something like, 'Big soft girls read Len Deighton in jazz workshops,' is a gem.The novel itself is very enjoyable. A lot of it is set in Portugal. Deighton l [...]

    21. This is probably one of the least known, and yet the best of Len Deighton's books. Narrated with superb, deadpan humour, the book cleverly mixes the dullness of espionage bureaucracy with Bond-like shoot outs and girls in sexy bikinis. Accept you are reading a 'historical' novel - the nineteen sixties technology is a world away now You can't really describe his early books and do them justice Just read them. I've read this one more than twenty times, and I still haven't got tired of it. He's the [...]

    22. Having read so many of his later rather exceptional novels this highlights too much of his developing skills and not enough of those developed. Some of the writing (descriptive narrative) is beautifully crafted and one can see that it is coming from a mind with no limits to its imagination or more importantly: creativity! Later in his life, he perfected character development, historical research and plot so well that many of stories came off to me as bloody believable. Hey perhaps they were trut [...]

    23. For a second novel I thought this was pretty good. It starts off really well. I loved the scenes at the diving school, the trip to albufeira and the diving, the laid back dry humour of the protagonist. But when the big reveal comes, it comes slowly almost drip fed and the whole didn't seem to be worth the sum of its parts. I've already read funeral in Berlin so it's onto billion dollar brain, trying not to remember that awful film.

    24. Definitely enjoyed this more second time around. The plot's not as complex as other spy novels by this author and the narrator's smart cynical voice kept me hooked. Some of the references are a bit dated (understandable given this was written over fifty years ago), but the writing's class and this paperback edition is a thing of beauty. Would've been interesting to see the movie - this was the only "Harry Palmer" book not to be filmed.

    25. Sequel to the Ipcress File featuring the same nameless secret agent (dubbed Harry Palmer in the films). More straightforward than the previous book, this is more of a potboiler about a sunken Nazi u-boat, heroin smuggling and neo-fascists. There's lots of to-ing and fro-ing between London and Portugal and the short chapters keep things moving along at a nice pace. A minor Deighton, but an enjoyable read.

    26. Horse Under Water is the second book in the series that follows our unnamed spy hero. This time he's flying back and forth from Portugal to London to Morocco, meeting mysterious people and being generally cynical. It's a fun story, the language is colorful and intricate, and humor abounds. Overall a good read, but I suggest reading The Ipcress File first.

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