WITHOUT ARMOR was published in America six months after LOST HORIZON, yet before LOST HORIZON began to win popularity--thus it missed the wider appeal it might otherwise have had. Set in Russia, it is the story of Ainsely Fothergill, an Englishman who served as a British spy and was exiled to Siberia for eight years. The book reminds us that James Hilton was one of the besWITHOUT ARMOR was published in America six months after LOST HORIZON, yet before LOST HORIZON began to win popularity--thus it missed the wider appeal it might otherwise have had. Set in Russia, it is the story of Ainsely Fothergill, an Englishman who served as a British spy and was exiled to Siberia for eight years. The book reminds us that James Hilton was one of the best storytellers of our era, and that a good story never loses its appeal....
|Number of Pages||:||291 Pages|
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Without Armor Reviews
I cant take any more of this, I'm halfway through so I think that's a long enough test for reader/author compatability. The story itself is good. Its the telling of it that crosses my eyes. That, and the male protagonist. He just doesn't seem to care much about, well, anything. You know, I can take just about any kind of character. The good, the bad and the ugly; but don't give me someone who has no passion or direction. that I find unacceptable in a novel.As for the telling. Well, there are no chapters, just "parts" (like maybe 4 parts) . That's a little hard on the eyes. There's not enough dialog and there are far too few characters. I mean, the guy is ALONE practically the whole book! Give him a drunk friend, a stray dog, someone to communicate with! But its not much use if you did... he doesn't care much about people and when you come right down to it, he really has nothing to say.What a shame! The sub themes are fantastic. Russian revolution, British spy, multiple identities, exile in the Arctic Circle.... in the hands of the right person this could be amazingly good. But as it stands, the hero's apathy was highly contagious and as a result, this book does nothing for me
A Soviet OdysseyA mild mannered Englishman, a product of the late Victorian Era, apparently undistinguished with a mediocre degree from Oxford, has just died. This is related in the novel as little more than an obituary in the local newspaper. But in retrospect a life is revealed that, propelled by accidents and events, is nothing short of an odyssey that might have been written by some 19th century Russian novelist. In an attempt to establish a career as a journalist (for which he has no aptitude) he travels to Russia to cover the Russo-Japanese war in 1903. Not particularly wanting to return to England he allows himself to be carried along by several acquaintances who give him the opportunity to extend his stay in Russia. Another chance encounter--and I won't divulge it because it is part of the unexpected nature of the plot--leads to his surrendering his English identity and becoming a Russian. Not only does he succeed in establishing a new career but a new life as well. The bulk of the book follows this life to its conclusion.This book stands well with Lost Horizon even though the latter overshadowed it. Hilton manages to capture the "Noir" of Russia that reminded me of Dostoyevsky, only without the multitude of characters and with far greater economy. In the space of a few pages one becomes an intimate in the pre-Revolutionary current of anarchism and the Socialist Clubs that will soon topple the regime. He makes one feel the cold and privation of exile in the Artic tundra. A dozen randomly selected books and a Samovar are all the hero has for almost a decade; one becomes almost convinced that is where things will end. Yet fate intervenes again and the exile is dragged from the tundra into the October Revolution. But not as himself but as yet another identity! In the course of following this third life, Hilton captures the tumult of the Revolution with the vividness of Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago--including a love story. The hero comes to a soft landing, after so many decades of turmoil, as a wealthy man and a convert to Roman Catholicism and to an uneventful death; almost the way many would like to live their own lives but with the control over the ensuing drama and reassuring outcome that our helpless hero lacked. And that marks the difference between Hilton's fiction and today's. Ours is comic book and we know in advance that, even after "ultra-violence" everything will turn out good for the principals. But Hilton's hero is no product of modern affluence and entertainment culture. The reader is in nowise reassured that at any juncture in his life things will turn out well and, in a manner, they don't.Having read four Hilton novels now, I find his grasp of subjects and locations truly amazing. The books give one the sense that if they have not been actually experienced then at least thoroughly researched. Yet the writing style is light. It propels the reader giving the impression that one is listening rather than reading.
Beautiful book, i wept and fell in love. James Hilton is a pleasure.
This book was in a collection of my grandparents old books. But for the most part read like it could have been a modern novel, surprising. The depiction of the revolution in Russia has intrigued me.... I need to read more.
An interesting story of the Russian revolution