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Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary (novel)

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Title: Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary (novel)  
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Subject: Berlin Wall, Spy fiction, Teufelsberg, Hopscotch (Brian Garfield novel), United States Army Security Agency
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary (novel)

Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary (novel)
Author T.H.E. Hill
Illustrator T.H.E. Hill
Cover artist T.H.E. Hill
Language English
Series Monterey Mary

Operation Gold, Field Station Berlin, Army Security Agency

Kevin, Gabbie, Fast Eddie, Meg, Master-Sergeant Laufflaecker, Lt. Sheerluck
Genre Spy fiction
Publication date 2008
Media type Print (paperback)
Pages 312
Awards Hollywood Book Festival, Stars & Flags Book Award, PODBRAM Book Award for Best Historical Concept, Puss Reboots Top 10 List of Books Reviewed, NIEA Book Award, Indie 500 Booklist
ISBN 978-1434839732
Followed by Reunification: A Monterey Mary Returns to Berlin

Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary is a 2008 novel by an American Author[1] writing under the pen name of T.H.E. Hill.[2] The action of the novel takes place in Berlin in the mid-1950s, at the beginning of the Cold War, before the construction of the Berlin Wall (1961). It loosely follows the history of the Berlin Tunnel (Operation Gold, covername: PBJOINTLY), which was built and run jointly by the CIA and the British SIS.

The story, however, is presented from an exclusively American/Russian viewpoint.[3] The novel is episodic,[3] but it is tied together by an element of suspense. One of the Americans is the target of a Russian 'Honey trap', sex-for-secrets operation, but while there are clues spread throughout the book, the answer to the question of who is the target of the operation does not become clear until the end of the novel.[4]

The Russian viewpoint is presented as a series of unnarrated transcripts of the Russians' telephone conversations. This is the portion of the book that lends the novel its title. The Russians are the voices under Berlin.[4]

The other half of the title (The Tale of a Monterey Mary) is an allusion to the fact that the author is a three-time graduate of the Defense Language Institute,[5] located in Monterey, Ca, the alumni of which are called "Monterey Marys".[6] The main character, Kevin, is a Monterey Mary.

The novel is considered "insider spy fiction,"[7][8] and a number of reviewers have commented on the novel's sense of authenticity,[9] which is a reflection of the fact that the author served at United States Army Security Agency Field Station Berlin in the mid-1970s.[5] The author's 'insider' status is further reflected by the inside joke contained in his pen name. The Field Station Berlin operations site was referred to as "The Hill" by those who worked there.[2][10] "The Hill" was in fact a common appellation for SIGINT sites at other locations.[11] The author is clearly familiar with the history of the Berlin Tunnel, as he has written an article on it for the Cold War Museum.[12]

Dr. Wesley Britton, author of Spy Television, Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film, and Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage, writing at calls Voices Under Berlin "a spy novel that breaks all the molds," adding that "in the tradition of Greene and Ambler, Voices Under Berlin "contains many literate qualities that make it a work of special consideration, worthy of an audience much broader than that of espionage enthusiasts or those interested in Cold War history."[3]

Selected awards



  • The plot summary from the book's website.
  • A summary of the novel's reviews, from the book's website.
  • (Monterey Mary)
  • (Monterey Mary)
  • Britton, his website Spy fiction
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