©2000 Alan Furst; (P)2000 Recorded Books, LLC
I have listened to all of Furst's unabridged novels and wish there were more. All of his books are very well written, with none of idiotic, unrealistic dialogue that plagues most spy/mystery books.
If there is a better reader than George Guidall, I have not found him. One of many reasons to admire him is his ability to pronounce correctly French, Russian, Polish and other languages, instead of the Anglicized versions which are the usual and customary fare.
But most importantly, Furst affords the listener a clarifying view of one of the most shrouded and inhuman (we like to think anyway) eras in history. Europe from 1933 to 1945, described not via battles, generals or politicians, but by men and women doing what they could despite being terrified and alone. The characters are wonderful, the deviousness of the leaders horrific, and the dialogue some of the most clever, insightful, and at times funny, that I have ever read.
While telling the story of a Polish officer on assignment, the listener is treated to new insight on the struggles of a country torn apart by WWII. The historical aspect of the period makes this a thoughtful listen.
This book is well written and well narrated. If you’ve read other Furst WWII spy novels, such as Night Soldiers, then you’ll find little well placed hints that tie the stories together. Also, the author has a bit of humor in his writing that brings a healthy smile. Highly recommended, and well enjoyed.
I love Alan First. But, pay close attention to the little things. As you listen there are times you want just to savour the language. For instance approx 4:30, there is a moment in the mind of a country dog as it passes a city dog and says " ...this little white fluffy thing that thinks he is a dog, the things you see when you travel...". The moment is sad , a family walking the escape the Germans and this little slice of whimsy. Furst's stories abound with these little moments that you may want to rewind. The novel is great besides, but savour the journey as well. These novels are very noir, but don't blink and miss the poetry. George Guidall gets it and will transport you in to the world of war time Europe in a way you will never forget. Enjoy.
If you know anything of the politics of pre-WWII you can easily follow the thread of the story. While enjoyable it takes a while to immerse into the character. And the succeeding chapters jump around a bit. With easy references to other characters in previous books Furst continues his character development.
Furst tracks well with the intelligence system of pre-WWII and I thought this was going to be a more Polish military centric book. The Russian references are worthwhile but diverted me from the true threads of the book.
Maybe the evacuation of the gold from Poland.
Nope, probably the ending being unresolved.
I am skeptical of buying more in this series. None of the reviews are exactly, well, positive.
Not based upon this novel. While he tried to use the Polish officer as the tie-in to the many other vignettes, it just didnt work. Jumping to different characters without sufficient transitions was so distracting that I did the rare thing, for me, of not finishing the book. About half to 2/3rds of the way through I just gave up.
No, I have read many books of this genre; this particular book just turned me off of the author.
This book was a disappointment to me after Night Soldiers and Dark Star. The story, set in WWII is told in episodes, a series of stories that start and are cut off. No relationship endures; people appear and they disappear. The title, which presents the protagonist as a nameless functionary, reflects the sense of dislocation that this episodic structure creates. I suppose this is Furst's intention, to demonstrate for the reader the isolating effect of war, with constant upheaval and violence destroying every relationship and every harbor just as it materializes. I didn't really enjoy listening to it. But then, I do not think I would enjoy war, either.
Getting a real feel for the troubles of Eastern Europe during the early part of WWII. Not as familiar to Westerners as the occupation of France and the battle of Britain
Yes The historical perspective and motivations of the French. The book is well written and one is forced to go over certain parts.
The scenes and atmosphere in the jumbing off point of the German preparation for their invasion of England.
I love the love stories and how war can make us more noble and willing to sacrifice our wills
The story comes to life.
Not the Polidh officier /but something to do with resistance.
I almost didn't get into it. I started many times but the beginning just didn't take off.
I love to read about the war and wonder why the germans didn't win the war. This book gives me another view point.
The books human interations gives it the punch.
My grandparents came from Poland and my grandmother never liked it there. From what I read, they seem to have had poor leaders and one can sort of understand their patriotic will and their misteps.
Perhaps this deserves more than one star. But after five hours of listening, I gave up. There is no overall plot or story. It's a series of events taking place during the Nazi occupation, but I just didn't find it interesting. It's well read. Decently written. Just not very involving.
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