Paris, 1938: As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called "the most talented espionage novelist of our generation", now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa, on the eve of World War II.
Cristián Ferrar, a brilliant and handsome Spanish émigré, is a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. Ferrar is approached by the embassy of the Spanish Republic and asked to help a clandestine agency trying desperately to supply weapons to the Republic’s beleaguered army - an effort that puts his life at risk in the battle against fascism.
Joining Ferrar in this mission is a group of unlikely men and women: idealists and gangsters, arms traders and aristocrats and spies. From shady Paris nightclubs to white-shoe New York law firms, from brothels in Istanbul to the dockyards of Poland, Ferrar and his allies battle the secret agents of Hitler and Franco. And what allies they are: There’s Max de Lyon, a former arms merchant now hunted by the Gestapo; the Marquesa Maria Cristina, a beautiful aristocrat with a taste for danger; and the Macedonian Stavros, who grew up "fighting Bulgarian bandits. After that, being a gangster was easy." Then there is Eileen Moore, the American woman Ferrar could never forget.
In Midnight in Europe, Alan Furst paints a spellbinding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare - and the heroes and heroines who fought back against the darkness.
©2014 Alan Furst. All rights reserved. (P)2014 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
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I love the noir espionage of this--and all of Fursts' fine books. Once again, Furst weaves distinct characters into a behind-the-scenes spy story. Beautiful writing. I can't wait for the next one!
I love that Furst writes literary espionage, along the lines of John LeCarre. He brilliantly evokes a lively Paris that hides dark doings, anxious citizens, and an complicated, likeable hero that we root for.
The very last, which I won't give away. : )
It has inspired me to go back and listen to all the previous Alan Furst books. The are so intricate and well-written and carefully paced, I've found I always find something new, even though I might have read any Furst novel previously. I'm looking forward to hearing more of the very brilliant Daneil Carroll.
Just want to toss out some kudos to narrator Daniel Carroll. He PERFECTLY captures the feeling of an Alan Furst novel. More, more, more!
The plot lacked the suspense, sweep, and complexity of previous Furst novels.
Excellent narration but really miss George Guidall.
I am a huge Alan Furst fan, so it is with great sadness that I say that I was disappointed with this novel. I've read all of the formulaic works by Furst, and honestly I love them. That's why I keep coming back and buying more. The problem though is when I compare this novel with earlier works like Dark Star, or even Spies of the Balkans, this novel simply can't hold up. It almost feels as if someone has done a poor job of impersonating Furst and published a book with his name.
Think back about some of the Furst characters over the years, and the wonderful words Furst put to paper. Think about Khristo Stoianev, and Illya Goldman. Remember the way Furst described the German Funkmeister eating his sausage as he used trucks to hunt down the Opel network radio girl. Remember the drunken fisherman in Normandy who made it clear he was Norman, not French. This book has none of that. No memories that stick in my head and make me long for it like an old friend.
Now to the narration. Personally, I like George Guidall doing Furst novels. I was disappointed for jump street seeing that he didn't do this one. Daniel Gerroll has done at least one other of Furst's novels that I can think of right off the top of my head, so I knew he was coming in with some experience. The problem I have is when crossover characters are portrayed by different narrates differently, even to the point of pronouncing their names differently. If you listed to the book, you'll hear about the count and know what I'm talking about. In the end though, I'm glad Guidall didn't do this book because I think it was so bad, that it may have impacted my feelings about him.
I give the book three stars and that is generous. It probably only warrants two if I were honest with myself and not giving Furst a pass because of his numerous other five star novels. I'm just shattered that I waited two years for this to come out.
I listen to approximately 40 hours of audio books a month. I love audio books.
Could not get into this book. I enjoyed Dark Star so thought this one could be another great read but no. The story seemed silly and the characters were not compelling.
Well-written and for fans of LeCarre, this will be a good book. There is lots of discussion and little action. Unfortunately, I am a fan of books full of suspense and the tension that comes with it. So this book was not for me.
Boring. Moved very slow.
Narrator was fine.
Story was fair.
Do not recommend this book.
This was another Alan Furst book, with a lot of love affairs and not too much violence. I began to sense the character of someone who 'loves women'....and haven't we all known them?....how they connect in one way with such gusto, but on another level, aren't connecting at all. That was useful. Finally, after multiple books, each with multiple love affairs in the pre-pill era, someone FINALLY got pregnant. Still, he was detached from the whole thing! The author is in his 70's and some other reviews have said he's 'phoning it in', but I enjoyed it.
Addicted to police procedurals, foreign or otherwise. Also, interested in WW I. Spy stuff as well.
The narrator had just the right speech pattern to tell the story so that it sounded as though one was right there whether in Paris or Spain.
I love reading (listening!) About the 1930's Europe..
Romance and Treachery
Great read_Alan First is the best at this era.
This is another great book from Alan Furst, loader with atmosphere and “you are there” feeling about it.
The central focus is a tale of spies and arms trading on the even of World War II. The Spanish Civil war is at its height. Franco is winning, but the Republican forces are struggling on. But they need weapons and other forms of aid.
The central figure in this book is Cristián Ferrar, a Spanish émigré, a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. He gets involved with a mysterious figure of Max De Lyon who is an arms trader working for the Republican force.
The book is a serious of stories of arms trades which takes the duo from Warsaw to Odessa and Berlin in their business to secure supplies, illegally for the republican forces. On these trips they become involved with a series of mysterious, and shady characters who supply them with guns, oil, bullets etc. These people have little morals or scruples and for some it is all about the money – the cause is irrelevant so long as they get money. It is a dirty grubby business and Furst, like the consummate writer he is deftly brings to life this business and the cost in human lives and money and the cities they go to for their business – from Turkish Brothels to shoveling coal on a stolen Railway train there is the feel of Europe on the even of war.
It is a gripping story and if you are interested in the late 1930’s this is the book for you. Furst does not disappoint. The reader is excellent and adds to the story immeasurably. He gets the voice and tones just right
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Alan Furst creates a sense of foreboding, isolation, and hedonistic abandon before WWII in "Midnight in Europe". It is 1938. The Spanish Civil War is raging. France and England are kowtowing to Hitler’s land-grabbing demands and false concessions. By the end of the year, the Franco/English appeasement agreement in Munich will be signed and Czechoslovakia will be ceded to the Nazis.
Spies lurk in Paris’ bars and crooks work on the fringes of clandestine arms’ and munitions’ deals. The spies are working for their governments. The crooks are lining their pockets at the expense of nationalist patriots.
There are several tales of derring-do in Furst’s book but this genre of fiction is overdone and nothing new about pre-war Europe seems revealed by Furst’s effort. Furst is a good writer but he needs a new story line.
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