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“The source on which we all draw”  John Le Carre

“He became intrigued by the shady, unsavoury characters whom he would once have cast as villains Eric Ambler’s exciting, fast-paced spy novels influenced Hitchcock and Graham Greene, and with their leftish take on 1930s European politics rescued the genre from nationalist cliché. Thomas Jones on a consummate thriller writer whose scrutiny of the links between big business and bad governments is all too relevant today”  Thomas Jones, The Guardian 

“Ambler … began to write thrillers in the mid-Thirties. Feeling that he spent enough time peddling fantasies in his day job as an advertising copywriter, he set out to introduce an unwonted note of realism to the genre. His debut novel, The Dark Frontier, was published in 1936, which he later remembered as “the year in which Italy invaded Abyssinia, civil war broke out in Spain and Hitler ordered the German army to reoccupy the Rhineland… These were the things I was trying, in my own fictional terms, to write about.” Jake Kerridge, The Telegraph

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“Before him it had all been decent British heroes walloping filthy Jewish spies. He popularised writing about characters on both sides of the fence, the heroes and the spies they are trying to dig out, as human beings.” H R F Keating

“I love the passage in Journey into Fear in which [the Hungarian dancer] Josette berates Graham over the hypocrisy of the British political classes. There’s always been this belief that we have the monopoly on virtue, whereas in reality we’ve been setting people up and double-crossing them for years. That’s as relevant now as it was in Ambler’s time, but he was the first spy novelist to introduce that note of political cynicism, to question the rightness of the British imperial project. Nowadays it’s something that writers like le Carré do all the time.” Charles Cumming

In Ian Fleming’s From Russia, with Love (1957), James Bond amuses himself with Ambler’s The Mask of Dimitrios on a plane journey to Istanbul. – believed to be Fleming giving the audience a wink towards his Istanbul being a homage to the city as conjured up in Dimitrios. Fleming was a great fan of Ambler’s.

“…he recalled: ‘I felt I had a fresh bit of my character, which was an assassin. And I felt there were people all over Europe just like me, just ready for the word to kill.” New York Times on Ambler’s death


“Unquestionably our best thriller writer ever” – Graham Greene


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