Sunday, 17 May 2015


My Thoughts on this First World War Spy Thriller .....

THE STAR OF ISTANBUL ( A Christopher Marlowe Cobb thriller)

Published:  14 May 2015
Publisher:  No Exit Press
Pages:  369  (Paperback)

Source:  Real Readers

It is 1915 and Germany has allied itself with the Ottoman empire, persuading the caliphs of Turkey to declare a jihad on the British empire. War correspondent Christopher Marlowe Cobb has been tasked to follow Brauer, a German intellectual and possible secret service agent suspected of holding information vital to the war effort.
As they travel on the Lusitania’s fateful voyage, Cobb becomes smitten with famed actress Selene Bourgani. Cobb soon realizes that this simple actress is anything but, as she harbours secrets that could add fuel to the already raging conflict. Surviving the night of the infamous German U-Boat attack, Cobb follows Selene and Brauer into the darkest alleyways of London and on to the powder keg that is Istanbul. He must use all the cunning he possesses to uncover Selene’s true motives, only to realize her hidden agenda could bring down some of the world’s most powerful leaders.

Having not read the first of the Christopher Marlowe Cobb thrillers, I wasn't sure what to expect from this spy story, but, though mention was made of his earlier adventure, I think that this is a book that can be read on its own, and I didn't feel that I'd missed too much of his back story. Having now enjoyed this, I may go back and read The Hot Country at some time.

Under his cover as a famous War Correspondent 'Kit' Cobb has been asked to follow a suspected agent of the German Secret Service on the ill-fated ship The Lusitania but becomes distracted by a beautiful actress.  He is shocked to discover that she is not what she seems to be.....who's side is she on?

Cobb is an interesting character, he misses nothing, he's smart about reading people, being a pretty good reporter, but is not so smart about women, a fact he readily admits as he becomes smitten with the enigmatic Selene Bourgani.

The writing is very detailed, which I really enjoyed reading, it moves along at a brisk pace, it's never boring, involving intriguing characters who are well-developed, clever twists, full of danger, this is a very good exciting espionage thriller.


Available to buy from

Author Robert Olen Butler can be found at his website:
On twitter:  #starofistanbul

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