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Publisher's Summary

In 1939, as the armies of Europe mobilized for war, the British secret services undertook operations to impede the exportation of Roumanian oil to Germany. They failed. Then, in the autumn of 1940, they tried again....

So begins Blood of Victory, a novel rich with suspense, historical insight, and the powerful narrative immediacy we have come to expect from best-selling author Alan Furst. The book takes its title from a speech given by a French senator at a conference on petroleum in 1918: Oil, he said, the blood of the earth, has become, in time of war, the blood of victory.

November 1940. The Russian writer I. A. Serebin arrives in Istanbul by Black Sea freighter. Although he travels on behalf of an migr organization based in Paris, he is in flight from a dying and corrupt Europespecifically, from Nazi-occupied France. Serebin finds himself facing his fifth war, but this time he is an exile, a man without a country, and there is no army to join. Still, in the words of Leon Trotsky, You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you. Serebin is recruited for an operation run by Count Janos Polanyi, a Hungarian master spy now working for the British secret services.

The battle to cut Germany's oil supply rages through the spy haunts of the Balkans; from the Athene Palace in Bucharest to a whorehouse in Izmir; from an elegant yacht club in Istanbul to the river docks of Belgrade; from a skating pond in St. Moritz to the fogbound banks of the Danube; in sleazy nightclubs and safe houses and nameless hotels; amid the street fighting of a fascist civil war.

Blood of Victory is classic Alan Furst, combining remarkable authenticity and atmosphere with the complexity and excitement of an outstanding spy thriller. As Walter Shapiro of Time magazine wrote, "Nothing can be like watching Casablanca for the first time, but Furst comes closer than anyone has in years."

©2002 Alan Furst (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 08-08-13

Shadows and hard-boiled misfits

'Blood of Victory' is an oblique sequel to 'Kingdom of Shadows' and the seventh novel in Furst's 'Night Soldiers' series. This novel, however, is set more in Romania and deals with the intrigue around the travels of Ilya Serebin a Russian emigre who runs a organization for Russian exiles and gets caught up in trying to slow Hitler's march into Romania and eventually, inevitably Russia. It is a story about Romanian oil, Hitler's dark creep and the shadows and hard-boiled misfits that wander around, without a home, trying to stop him.

I don't know if it just sepia-fatigue but Furst's novels just aren't hitting me as hard as they once did. 'Blood of Victory' was better written than his last novel, and Furst's plots and characters are still inovative, but just not brilliant. I know I'm asking a lot, and perhaps I'm just weary of the cinematic, hard-boild schtick. I might need to put Furst to rest for a bit. He is too good a genre writer to give up on, but I might have just over-dosed on the Furst world's war.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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What was the point

No suspense to speak of.This was a slice of time early in the war . Not much happening , confusing story
Hardly worth the. Time

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Excellent story of WWII

If you could sum up Blood of Victory in three words, what would they be?

Rising to threat

What did you like best about this story?

The story of ordinary people's response to extraordinary circumstances

Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

He is one of five best out there. I think he likely has the broadest range of any narrarator. He is amazing!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole circumstances of finding yourself in a war that you really weren't ready for

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • DWR
  • Minnesota, USA
  • 07-22-16

Poor Showing By Furst

The only thing that was suspenseful about this story was, was anything going to finally happen. Too much dialog, like a movie that had nothing but the interaction of characters to keep it going, and the characters were not all that interesting. The only thing that was consistent (and dubious) was that the women were all ready and willing to hop into bed; are there really that many women like this?

Its enduring quality was that it is a good book to listen to if you have insomnia because it will put you under quite quickly!

Guidell is a good reader, however, I actually found myself getting tired of his voice in this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ralph
  • Miami, FL, United States
  • 10-07-16

France and Eastern Europe with Nazi occupation

Excellent historical fiction from the point of view of an Operative. Your caught in war.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • GeneGx
  • Silver Spring MD
  • 09-03-12

Not his best effort

I made it through chapter 11 before giving up on this one. At this point, it is still unclear what is going on. Thus far, sort of a BORING ex-pat travelogue. Gave up on waiting for something to happen to keep my interest.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful