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All in all Steve Fraser had enjoyed his three year stint in the former Dutch Southeast Asian colony of Sunda and he’d been well compensated But now he was looking forward to a last weekend in the capital before heading home But Sunda was newly independent and not entirely stable An opposition faction with fundamentalist Islamic leanings was set on overthrowing the provisonal government And instead of enjoying a sybaritic weekend with the Eurasian beauty Rosalie Fraser finds himself trapped with her by a fanatical group who’ve taken over the country’s radio station and made their headuarters in his friend Jebb’s apartment As the government launches a counterattack the couple’s survival depends on their ability to dodge bullets and the shifting loyalties of the coup’s liuetenants


10 thoughts on “State of Siege

  1. says:

    uite interesring story and thriller told in a way like old time south sea tales like j conrad and others confilcts between whites and natives in indonesia after liberation


  2. says:

    Ah – I was sorry to reach the end of this one – the third of a trilogy that I borrowed through PrimeIt’s the usual Ambler thing – “unwitting amateur gets tangled with dangerous professionals” – but a formula that I enjoy boosted here by an elegantly woven plotSet in post colonial Southeast Asia mechanical engineer Steven Fraser is comfortably ensconced in a borrowed penthouse suite with local girl Rosalie let’s call her ‘a willing courtesan’ when a military coup explodes into lifeThe apartment is on the 7th floor of the national radio station building – it becomes commandeered by insurgents as their H They enlist Steven to repair the generators For his own and Rosalie’s safety he must play alongWith survival on a knife edge their chances are further compromised when Steven recognises one of the renegade officers He deduces that the man is an agent provocateur – there is a much sinister sub plot afootAs mortars rain down upon the radio station Steven is torn between his roles as inadvertent double agent and protector of Rosalie with whom he forms an ever closer bondWill they survive the hostilities? Will they be released unharmed? Oh – and will Steven get the girl?


  3. says:

    I am a great admirer of Eric Ambler and thought I'd read all of his novels most of them than once; imagine my excitement when I came across this one which had somehow escaped my notice It concerns a British engineer in a fictionalized Indonesia in the 1950's who is about to fly out at the end of his contract when a coup attempt traps him in an apartment in a building being used as headuarters by the rebels Most of the action takes place on that reduced stage as he and his female companion a young Eurasian woman have to use their wits to survive threats from all sides That makes the whole thing a bit claustrophobic and thus not one of his best works but it has all the Ambler hallmarks of sophisticated social and political observation and cool understated suspense Nobody did intrigue in exotic locales better


  4. says:

    Ambler continues to be my go to writer for relief from the world's current chaos by throwing me into other world's in chaos Be it his tight plotting evoking imagery strong simple yet memorable characters and an everyman's way of inclusivity in the prose he gets me or at least I feel he does State of Siege on the surface is a tale about revolution and endurance with two characters burgeoning lovers waiting out a surrounding battle in a building in a far east city But it's really about deception hypocrisy decency and the ability of the human spirit to endure all to find peace A satisfying read


  5. says:

    This fine thriller is set in an Malay speaking nation near Indonesia in a 48 hour coup The descriptive uality of urban warfare is fine The characterization is basic but compelling I'm ready for AmblerRecommended


  6. says:

    A light thriller with no ramifications for the main character who adds no insights despite telling the story in first person some time after it occurred As it is a short book that is understandable the focus is on crafting a tight thriller that keeps the pages turning and the reader engaged This is a book for escapist reading and doesn't ask for much from the reader and won't leave lingering uestions about society and selfIt is perfectly poised and polished for what it is an unpretentious story that knows it's just a story which is refreshing Sometimes thrillers become epic in size and scope forgetting they are just a story Which is not to say that thrillers can't be than that but if that's all they are it's important for the author and editor to pare down extraneous detail something which seems difficult for many writersAmbler's style appeals to me as it doesn't spend much time on description with even the action leaving space for the imagination to fill Dialogue is used instead of clunky authorial exposition which is one of the reasons the book hums along at a fast clip Since it is focused on just a few days this uick speed works the tone is suited to the action and it is easy to see why Ambler is a master of the thriller genre I would like to read of his work to see if his prose adapts to the time frame of his pieces or whether he always writes in at the uick speed found here


  7. says:

    Eric Ambler was the first of a kind and there still hasn't been anyone betterIn this one he tackles challenging issues that are still with us today The setting is in a newly independent country in Southeast Asia with all its struggles after having gained independence the legacy of colonialism He vividly describes the lack of human capital the fight for control over the new nation the competing visions corruption incompetence cruelty societal divisions I couldn't help but think of South Sudan that currently than six decades after Ambler wrote this book is going through such struggles and internal strife that is tearing this world's newest nation apartAnother theme in State of Siege that still resonates today pertains to race and ethnicity Rosalie the main female protagonist is Eurasian eually despised by the white colonialists and the fervent Sunda nationalists and conseuently suffers from self doubt The owner of the New Harmony Club Mor Sai Lim is Chinese belonging to a minority that then and now was wealthy and powerful but seen as separate from the native population who could easily be agitated against the ChineseVery interesting and prescient but never distracting from the exciting plot and action


  8. says:

    A thriller worthy of the name from the days shortly before Ian Fleming got his typewriter out and everything began to get a just a little bit sillySteve Fraser is the reluctant hero of this short retelling in the first person of his horrific involvement in a coup or counter coup in colonial SE Asia He's a resourceful fellow of perhaps better than average height build courage intelligence etc but no superman Fraser's an engineer so has practical knowledge and skills and he speaks the local language which is always usefulHe finds himself we find ourselves through a short series of wholly credible accidents and coincidences caught up with a woman in a military revolution just as he's on his way out of the country It's a dreadful mess in the way that such things must in truth be and it's terrifying to watch it unfolding with all the inexorable inevitability of an uncontrollable natural disasterWithout a single gadget in sight


  9. says:

    I'm borderline obsessed with Ambler's pre WWII golden age and The Night Comers is the latest written chronologically speaking Ambler novel I've read Compared to his classics this one starts slowly but the last half is can't uite put it down riveting Still I rank it a notch below his best work


  10. says:

    This one has lost my interest Either I've burned out on Ambler for the week 3 books in 5 6 days or it's simply not as good as the others I think it's probably the latter