DECEMBER BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION THREAD - Thursday's bookclub session and author chat here

(166 Posts)

Hi all, this is the discussion thread to come to this Thursday night 8-10pm for December's Book of the Month, Agent Zigzag. Author Ben Macintyre will be joining us from 9 onwards.

If you can't make the session and would like to ask Ben a question then do post it here now and we'll email it on. And if you want to post a question in advance pop it up here on this thread, and we'll email them to him. Ben will start with those on Thursday eve.

I'm hoarding the last of the pudding wine and Quality Street in anticipation (should be drinking something far more spy-like and sophisticated but never could stomach martini)

CaptainCod Wed 06-Feb-08 15:11:10

oi ben i haev read it now
well i devoured it!

did oyu ever go to the houses in france and norway?
what happeend to the daughters he had? were they bothered NOT to own the iron cross?

what was the essence of his charm- why did folk liek him?

sophiewd Fri 18-Jan-08 12:20:07

Will let you know. The only thing that is coming across for me at the moment, is that I really do not like the guy.

That's interesting - perhaps Eddie was over-egging his attachment to Faramus to make himself feel better. Is it very very harrowing, his book? I want to read it but I'm worried that January is grim enough already...

sophiewd Thu 17-Jan-08 10:01:21

Started reading the book thst Faramus wrote, no mention of Eddie Chapman at all and completely different account of how he ended up in France

We've got Jan's bookclub coming up before Feb's - we're doing Tim Dowling's novel, The Giles Wareing Haters Club (you can get your copy here and the discussion night is on Thursday January 31st. Tim is joining us for a live chat so definitely try and make it.

I thought we could start all our author chats at 8.30 from now on, as its rather good to get all the questions answered as soon as possible. Does everyone agree?

icod, maybe try the scotch eggs on Tim, he might be more of a snack-orientated writer. I bet you a Gingster's sausage roll he'll answer it.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-Jan-08 18:05:22

Chocoholic, what a shame, don't you get our newsletters? ANd it was on the home page.
The next one will be in Feb date TBC.

chocoholic Fri 11-Jan-08 14:12:07

Missed it again. blush
I keep reading the books and then missing the chat. Oh well, I can have a good read through the thread now.
I think it is great to get the authors on here.
Was Agent Zigzag liked by everyone who read it then? Haven't noticed anyone who wasn't keen. I thought is was great.

PussinJimmyChoos Thu 10-Jan-08 23:56:27

<popping in for v quick thread hi-jack to tell Cod how much she loves her life book from Organised mum! Fab fab fab!>

FluffyMummy123 Thu 10-Jan-08 22:38:40

Message withdrawn

lemurtamer Thu 10-Jan-08 22:34:14

Oops too late, didn't realise it'd started early.
January's book arrived yesterday: warning to anyone who reads the part about cleaning the rinser arms of the dishwasher. I didn't realise you could do this, so thought what a good idea. Have now lost important screwcap to keep upper rinser arm on, spent all afternoon looking for it, DS could not be held accountable as he was asleep at the time, and have probably broken dishwasher. Note to self: never clean anything ever again. Will be buying paper plates tomorrow.

Ben, thank you very very much for joining us - it has been such a pleasure and highly illuminating. You have brilliantly managed to cover all our questions too, although we'll have to wait for a final verdict on Best Actor in the Eddie Chapman role....

Good luck with the next project (which sounds highly inriguing, please can you come back and talk about that one when its done?) and congratulations on a fabulous book.

Tx

lemurtamer Thu 10-Jan-08 21:46:58

I've just rejoined chat, thank you for answering.
What surprised me (apart from the magician's contribution to the war effort, fantastic!) was the lack of efficient spy networks on either side. Do you think it's likely that there was a more successful network than was apparent, and we will never really know about it, just as now we are not likely to hear of successful counter-terrorism action?

ChampagneSupernova Thu 10-Jan-08 21:45:39

Best of luck with the new book - and please come on and talk to us again when it comes out
grin

BenMacintyre Thu 10-Jan-08 21:44:12

Finally, thank you all so much for having me. Terrific feedback.

One final question: I was asked

"What are you currently working on?"

I am now working on another World War II spy story about a deception scheme that had a dramatic effect on the course of the war. Very macabre, with lots of completely strange characters. I discovered a trunk of papers relating to the case in private hands, which I hope will enable me to reconstruct the narrative in much the same way as with this book...

Thanks again.

Best wishes from Ben

BenMacintyre Thu 10-Jan-08 21:39:53

was there a lot more research material that would not have added more interest to the story, or was pretty much all the research used in the book?

I do hope I did not miss too much. I a pretty sure there is no more in the MI5 files. There was TONS more stuff that could ahve been sued in the book, but I found myself cutting lots to keep the pace going.

Do you think the Germans may have won the war if their codes had not been broken? I haven't read any "If the Germans had won the war" fiction nor much about the code-breaking, but wondered what you thought.

Certainly, withou the Enigma breakthrough, we would ahve foud it far harder to win, the war would have gone on far longer. Conversely, if the Germans had broken our codes, I think we would have lost, and you and I would be writing in German.

ChampagneSupernova Thu 10-Jan-08 21:39:49

LOL at Ben The Spy with his vodka martini

Many thanks to you both TIlly and Ben

And we'll probably begin winding up now too, as Ben has been heroically answering questions for over an hour. Ben, would you have time for jsut the last few queries? And then we will let you return to your vodka martini and Walther PPK.(I know you're a spy really; doing Paris and NYC for The Times nice cover, v clever...)

Notyummy Thu 10-Jan-08 21:37:52

Thanks Ben, and Tilly for organising. Very interesting!

sophiewd Thu 10-Jan-08 21:37:46

Thank you, it has been great chatting with you and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us

BenMacintyre Thu 10-Jan-08 21:35:09

sorry sophie, meant to answer this earlier:

From ChampagneSupernova

I have just seen on Amazon that there's another book telling his story by someone else but that yours was published first. How much did that annoy you?

At first, it annoyed me a very great deal. But in a way, it was inevitable: once the material had been released, there was no way I would be the only one to know about it (although I later got MI5 to release more material exclusively to me). In the end, however, having two books out at the same time really did both of us some good, I think. One or two literary editors had the books reviewed together, and having two books I think made people sit up and pay more attention.

sophiewd Thu 10-Jan-08 21:34:31

Noooooooooo, I will never know the answer to my question.

A couple of questions from lemurtamer, who couldn't make it this evening:

was there a lot more research material that would not have added more interest to the story, or was pretty much all the research used in the book?

Do you think the Germans may have won the war if their codes had not been broken? I haven't read any "If the Germans had won the war" fiction nor much about the code-breaking, but wondered what you thought.

sophiewd Thu 10-Jan-08 21:32:45

Sorry being nosy again on Amazon, there seems to have been another book written about Eddie by Nicholas Booth which cam out approximately at the same time. Did you know this when you started or was it a bit of surprise. Have you read it asn is it vastly diferent from yours, written from a different angle

morningpaper Thu 10-Jan-08 21:31:57

Awwwwww Ben are you off? It's been lovely to talk to you and the book was huge fun. Well done. I'm deffo going to try another one of your books. Good luck with all the juggling.

BenMacintyre Thu 10-Jan-08 21:31:09

Thanks Champagne supernova: i meant Sebastian Koch...don't you think?

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