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.
A man's got to do what a man's got to do..
I love Alain Furst , a truly good writer with an incredible insight into the years preceding the second world war and the capability to beautifully describe characters and atmospheres... But , this time again, the plot is weak with no momentum and clear direction. So the reader get lost (or bored) and loses gradually interest for the story.
Daniel Gerroll is by far not fitting the bill and his narration is at time embarrassing.
All in all, a deception!
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.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
Many readers must come to this book having read quite a few Alan Furst WWII spy novels. After all, as the NYT stated in a recent review, "Mr. Furst has long since carved out this turf and made it his own", and while I've long wanted to start on his Night Soldiers series, I jumped at the occasion to acquaint myself with this novelist with his latest one-off.
Cristián Ferrar is a Spanish émigré living in Paris and has some clout as a lawyer working for a prestigious American law firm representing an international clientèle. When the novel starts in December 1937, the Spanish civil war is ongoing and the Republicans, fighting against General Franco's fascist army is in desperate need of munitions. Ferrar, with his skills as a negotiator and diplomat is recruited to help in the arms deal negotiations with dangerous criminals and to ensure the shipments actually get into the proper hands. A man of not inconsiderable charms and an amorous disposition, Ferrar quickly falls for the charms of a prim and proper potential client, the Marquesa Maria Cristina. Beneath her chic veneer is a woman all too willing to fall for Ferrar's charm, but is she who she claims to be and does she have ulterior motives? Ferrar is too clever to be played like an innocent in these dangerous times, but he also doesn't miss a chance to enjoy the bounties beautiful women and life in Paris have to offer, as the novel takes him from exclusive swank nightclubs and the famous Parisian landmark, restaurant Lapérouse, to wine and dine, and potentially bribe a necessary contact. From there to negotiations with Bulgarian gangsters in Istanbul brothels and uncollaborative train-yard inspectors in Poland, he and his collaborator, ex arms dealer Max de Lyon, must use all the finesse they can to deliver the arms to Spain or else see the republicans lose to the Fascists in the bigger war that is looming ahead. It took me a while to sink into the story, in which many characters are introduced in the beginning, but once I got in the groove it was a smooth, satisfying ride with plenty of zing.
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