The Alphabet House

The Alphabet House

A Novel

Book - 2015
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In the tradition of Alan Furst, the #1 international bestselling author delivers his first stand-alone novel, a psychological thriller set in World War II Nazi Germany and 1970s England

British pilots James Teasdale and Bryan Young have been chosen to conduct a special photo-reconnaissance mission near Dresden, Germany. Intelligence believes the Nazis are building new factories that could turn the tide of the war. When their plane is shot down, James and Bryan know they will be executed if captured. With an enemy patrol in pursuit, they manage to jump aboard a train reserved for senior SS soldiers wounded on the eastern front.

In a moment of desperation, they throw two patients off the train and take their places, hoping they can escape later. But their act is too convincing and they end up in the Alphabet House, a mental hospital located far behind enemy lines, where German doctors subject their patients to daily rounds of shock treatments and experimental drugs. The pilots' only hope of survival is to fake insanity until the war ends, but their friendship and courage are put to the ultimate test when James and Bryan realize they aren't the only ones in the Alphabet House feigning madness.

Millions of fans around the world--and in this country--know Adler-Olsen for his award-winning Department Q series. His first stand-alone, The Alphabet House , is the perfect introduction for those who have yet to discover his riveting work.
Publisher: New York : Dutton, 2015.
ISBN: 9780525954897
Characteristics: 465 pages ; 24cm
Additional Contributors: Schein, Steve - Translator


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Mar 08, 2020

Two downed WWII British pilots attempt to survive by feigning insanity and being admitted to a mental hospital. Excellent novel about friendship and survival. A great change of genre for this Danish author that usually writes mysteries. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jan 28, 2018

An interesting read. While it did keep me hooked until the very end, I found the ending disappointing. The second half of the book also seemed longer than it needed to be. Nevertheless, a good read that I would recommend.

Sep 18, 2017

Some great reviews I think I'll try to read myself ^_^

Aug 31, 2015

fascinating setting; raised some very interesting issues.
The first half of the book was particularly gripping. Does make one wonder whether such situations did develop.
A very good read, I wanted to keep on going.

Jul 14, 2015

This book roped me in from the beginning, fast paced action of being shot down and their fantastic escape. The concept of inadvertently hiding out in an insane asylum until the war ends was brilliant. I couldn't put it down. This would make a great movie, I could see Colin Farell as one of the pilots.....

Jun 26, 2015

While I did read the book (and it was touch and go for a while), I was skimming at times from the tedium of some of the parts and the unrealistic aspects of other areas of the action. There were occasions when you had to suspend disbelief to allow the plot to continue. While parts of the book had some twists, in total, this was not a riveting read.

athompson10 May 28, 2015

Interesting idea, but it bogs down. Some of the book is overly descriptive, and the action can be very unrealistic.

May 07, 2015

The Alphabet House is a disturbing, intense novel that teaches us about the bonds of friendship and the atrocities of war.

James and Bryan are young Englishmen when they are shot down over Germany. Fate affords them the opportunity to hide in a train car reserved for mentally disturbed soldiers. To save themselves, they throw two patients out of the train car and assume their identities. They must feign madness or be killed as enemies; thus begins their long descent into the abyss of a psychiatric hospital.

This novel is fast paced and interesting from start to finish. It would make an excellent movie. Highly recommended!

Mar 22, 2015

Not a war story, not a love story, not a bildungsroman--but a bit of all of them plus more. Very hard to put it down once you start on it. Brilliantly told tale of two men shot down in enemy territory, how they hide in an insane asylum, and the consequences over the next 30 years. Even better than the Department Q series and clearly Literature (with a capital L).

Mar 21, 2015

this is different from his dept q books. it's the first one he wrote. I have to say my rating would be the same as the 'lower' starred ones found on

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