Bulgaria, 1934. The local fascists have just murdered the brother of Khristo Stoianev. Now Khristo is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, for special service in the Spanish civil war.
©1988 Alan Furst; (P)2002 Recorded Books
"Furst shows a remarkable talent in his fifth novel, integrating details about the cultures of Spain, France and Eastern Europe with a fascinating story." (Publishers Weekly)
"Night Soldiers has everything the best thrillers offer, excitement, intrigue, romance, plus grown-up writing, characters that matter, and a crisp, carefully researched portrait of the period in which our own postwar world was shaped." (USA Today)
"Intelligent, ambitious, absorbing....The history is deftly incorporated; the viewpoint civilized; the characters and the settings picturesque; the adventures exciting; the writing pungent." (The New York Times)
I love spy novels and this is one first-rate. Detailed trade craft, fascinating economically-developed characters, suspense, intrigue, courage, the works. I couldn't stop listening. George Guidall's reading is perfect: unhurried, slightly understated, and with distinctive voices for the different characters. As a benchmark to see if your taste lines up with mine, I love John Le Carre (especially early John Le Carre) and have no time whatsoever for the likes of Henning Mankell.
I think that the story might be easier to follow if read instead of listened to, but it was still highly entertaining. The narrator is very good at switching between French, Spanish, Russian, and English characters. Its almost like Dickens the way all the characters come together. I definitely recommend it.
The book is similar to an epic, whereas the main character travels al over the world. From Bulgaria, to Russia, to Spain, to France, to Switzerland, to Czechoslovakia, and so on. It gives an idea of life before and during WWII.
The book has tons of unneeded character development. For example it takes a half hour or so to develop three characters, giving historical background and logging years of conversations in the village bar, to have then both arrested and hanged in the very next paragraph, all to no avail. Also, there are so many characters with similar Eastern European names, it was very difficult to keep them all straight.
In the end, I'm glad I read the book, but this won't be one that I'll remember for very long.
Definitely his best book, Polish Officer comes in second. A spy novel is supposed to be complicated, some of the other reviewers should be reading Dan Brown rather than Alan Furst.
One of the best. A story with a great sense of place and time. Memorable characters with even the relatively minor characters being deftly drawn. Beautifully performed as well.
Eric Ambler's Cause for Alarm, it has the same atmosphere of good people initially dimly aware of gathering evil coming to terms with their destiny being ordained by forces of evil on all sides.
As good, if not better than his performance in the World at Night. He is truly the voice of Alan Furst.
No, each part needs to be relished, absorbed and the next keenly anticipated.
The second book in the series doesn't appear to be available would love to download it.
Historical intrigue lovestory
George Guidall is simply the best narrator I know of. He gives you a real sense of familiarity with the characters, whether male or female, Wyoming sheriff, Cheyene Indian, Czech woman patriot, or Bulgarian spy. He provides a real sense of the feeling behind the words. He brings every character to life!
Historically interesting well written a little slow at times bogged down in details but overall story was good and gave an emotional sense of the tragedy of Eastern Europe during WWII
I will listen to Night Soldiers again because it is rich in mood and detail. The characters, their circumstances amd motivations are complex. The story placement and structure are different and I came away thinking I had gained a new perspective on a period which in many ways seems well known. Any book that can do that deserves the highest accolades.
It covers periods, peoples and places that are not very familiar and canvasses complex emotions and motivations. Very interesting and very moving. Also the author reveals a wry sense of humour which surfaces occasionally to season the plot. The book makes you ask the question: what would you do in these circumstances?
Guidall is fantastic. His pronunciation and deep understanding of the characters lifts a great book to a higher level. His range is extraordinary - from Russian commisars, Spanish peasants to English aristocrats. Guidall really adds something. I wouldn't have enjoyed the book as much without his performance.
Trust no one, stay alive.
This was my first Alan Furst novel. I got on to him after seeing the TV series of Spies of Warsaw. I have since listened to The World at Night which I also enjoyed and will next listen to Red Gold. He is a great author.
This was the first Furst book I "read" and it is the best of the bunch, I believe. He is a brillant writer and Night Soldiers is incredible. Well worth it.
I downloaded this book as a fan of historical fiction, mysteries, as well as military history. Based on the synopsis of the book and other audible readers' reviews, this book should have fed each of my vices.
What I received was a painfully slow story full of under-developed characters and mind numbing, meaningless descriptions. I did, however, find a wonderful use for Night Soldiers; a sleep aid.
To be fair to this book, I had just finished Woud's "War and Remembrance" and so there are very few books that could even come close to the power. However, my opinion doesn't change when I think of it relative to some other fiction (historical fiction) I've read. It's an OK story. It's well told and it takes place (at least in part) in a part of the world (Bulgaria) with which I am less familiar. But it didn't really grip me. When it ended, I had to listen to the last two chapters again to be sure I hadn't spaced out and missed anything. It's the first Furst novel I've read and I'm not rushing to add others. I do like Guidall in general.
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