Mission to paris alan furst review
Mission to Paris (Night Soldiers, #12) by Alan FurstIt is the late summer of 1938, Europe is about to explode, the Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie for Paramount France. The Nazis know he’s coming—a secret bureau within the Reich Foreign Ministry has for years been waging political warfare against France, using bribery, intimidation, and corrupt newspapers to weaken French morale and degrade France’s will to defend herself.
For their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service being run out of the American embassy in Paris.
From Alan Furst, the bestselling author, often praised as the best spy novelist ever, comes a novel that’s truly hard to put down. Mission to Paris includes beautifully drawn scenes of romance and intimacy, and the novel is alive with extraordinary characters: the German Baroness von Reschke, a famous hostess deeply involved in Nazi clandestine operations; the assassins Herbert and Lothar; the Russian film actress and spy Olga Orlova; the Hungarian diplomat and spy, Count Janos Polanyi; along with the French cast of Stahl’s movie, German film producers, and the magnetic women in Stahl’s life, the socialite Kiki de Saint-Ange and the emigre Renate Steiner.
But always at the center of the novel is the city of Paris, the heart and soul of Europe—its alleys and bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it was their last. As always, Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.
Mission to Paris
A reporter asks what they should use for a headline. Alan Furst quotes the scene in his new novel ". In any Furst novel, "the forces of autumn are gathering" and when a character goes for a walk, Paris "smelled of a thousand years of rain dropping on stone, smelled of rough black tobacco and garlic and drains, of perfume, of potatoes frying in fat. If that passage stirs something inside, maybe makes you swoon a little for a more continental, romantic world, get in line. Furst has locked into a lush formula of secrets, spies and sex, and his audience is growing like storm clouds on the eastern horizon. In each novel, a strong, fortyish hero steps forward, a man who's been around but retains his idealism and wears his clothes well, to do what must be done as the curtains of war close in.
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At the start of the novel, Stahl is surprisingly ignorant of politics, and the German agents manipulate him easily. Then, eyes beginning to open, he travels to Berlin for a film festival and arrives just in time for the horrors of Kristallnacht, Nov. And with that we move from political warfare to perhaps the oldest drama in our national literature, the virtuous American recoiling from the smooth and treacherous arms of wicked Europe. Furst is often compared to Eric Ambler and Graham Greene because of his remarkable command of the dark moral atmosphere of Europe in the s. But he commands another kind of atmosphere as well. Furst is a skillful storyteller, writing in two- or three-page scenes that instill a sense of movement and energy in an otherwise loosely episodic plot.
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Furst not only vividly re-creates the excitement and growing gloom of the City of Light in , as war with Nazi Germany looms, but also demonstrates a profound knowledge of the political divisions and cultural sensibilities of that bygone era. All of this takes place against the dramatic backdrop of Paris, with its fashionable parties, beautiful women, and glittering film industry. Newly arrived in Paris, Stahl receives an invitation from the Baroness von Reschke to attend a cocktail party. Furst writes with his characteristic clarity and grace; he moves the plot along at a brisk, satisfying pace that will have readers turning pages deep into the night. Throughout, he displays a remarkable skill for satirically succinct character description.