'Merriman excels at recreating the physicality of their experiences: the smell of dense clay, the click-clack of a woman walking down the street above in high heels... Merriman has burrowed her way deep into interviews, news reports and Stasi files to fashion an impressive real life page-turner.' Guardian
'An audacious and compelling tale, told with narrative tension and novelistic drive, creating a fascinating portrayal of life in Berlin in the early days of the Wall.' Observer
'A fantastic story, exceedingly well told...more gripping than a thriller. The story arc, through betrayal and disaster to triumph, is perfect...a cracking tale that deserves retelling.' The Times
'Helena Merriman's book is a tour de force... The chapters on the day of the escape are possibly the most suspenseful I have ever read, in fiction as well as nonfiction.' Scotsman
'its skilful blend of a dynamic protagonist, intrigue, spooks, deception, and a love divided imbues Tunnel 29 with all the qualities of a taut Cold War spy thriller.' Sunday Business Post
'Captivating... Ms Merriman's well-crafted book does justice to the extraordinary bravery of her characters.' Economist
'This new book... allows readers to slip into Joachim's shoes as if living this extraordinary experience... This is a remarkable tale, beautifully told and utterly compelling.' BBC History Magazine
He's just escaped from one of the world's most brutal regimes.
Now, he decides to tunnel back in.
It's summer, 1962, and Joachim Rudolph, a student, is digging a tunnel under the Berlin Wall. Waiting on the other side in East Berlin - dozens of men, women and children; all willing to risk everything to escape.
From the award-winning creator of the acclaimed BBC Radio 4 podcast, Tunnel 29 is the true story of the most remarkable escape tunnel dug under the Berlin Wall. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews with the survivors, and thousands of pages of Stasi documents, Helena Merriman brilliantly reveals the stranger-than-fiction story of the ingenious group of student-diggers, the glamorous red-haired messenger, the American News network which films the escape, and the Stasi spy who betrays it. For what Joachim doesn't know as he burrows closer to East Germany, is that the escape operation has been infiltrated. As the escapees prepare to crawl through the cold, wet darkness, above them, the Stasi are closing in.
Tunnel 29 is about what happens when people lose their freedom - and how some will do anything to win it back.
Acclaim for the TUNNEL 29 podcast:
'Combining the fun of a thriller that we know will end happily with grim perspective on history and tyranny... stunning.' New Yorker
'Reminiscent of a savvy Netflix block buster series.' Evening Standard
'A truly exciting yarn... creates a sense for the listener of being right there in the tunnel, experiencing the dangers.' Observer