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Spies of the Balkans Audiobook

Spies of the Balkans

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Publisher's Summary

Greece, 1940. Not sunny vacation Greece: northern Greece, Macedonian Greece, Balkan Greece, the city of Salonika. In that ancient port, with its wharves and warehouses, dark lanes and Turkish mansions, brothels and tavernas, a tense political drama is being played out. On the northern border, the Greek army has blocked Mussolini's invasion, pushing his divisions back to Albania, the first defeat suffered by the Nazis, who have conquered most of Europe. But Adolf Hitler cannot tolerate such freedom; the invasion is coming; its only a matter of time, and the people of Salonika can only watch and wait.

At the center of this drama is Costa Zannis, a senior police official, head of an office that handles special political cases. As war approaches, the spies begin to circle, from the Turkish legation to the German secret service. There's a British travel writer, a Bulgarian undertaker, and more.

Costa Zannis must deal with them all. And he is soon in the game, securing an escape route from Berlin to Salonika, and then to a tenuous safety in Turkey, a route protected by German lawyers, Balkan detectives, and Hungarian gangsters. And hunted by the Gestapo.

Meanwhile, as war threatens, the erotic life of the city grows passionate. For Zannis, that means a British expatriate who owns the local ballet academy, a woman from the dark side of Salonika society, and the wife of a local shipping magnate.

Declared an incomparable expert at his game by The New York Times, Alan Furst outdoes even his own finest novels in this thrilling new book. With extraordinary authenticity, a superb cast of characters, and heart-stopping tension as it moves from Salonika to Paris to Berlin and back, Spies of the Balkans is a stunning novel about a man who risks everything to right - in many small ways - the world's evil.

©2010 Alan Furst (P)2010 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (534 )
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4.3 (202 )
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Performance
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  •  
    nyog Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 04-19-17
    nyog Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 04-19-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mr Furst has lost whatever edge he had"

    I am actually commenting on two books, Mission to Paris and Spies of the Balkans, because my comments are essentially identical. I read quite a few Furst novels over a few years. Then they started feeling a bit stale, so I set them aside. Recently, I tried the two mentioned here. I got through Spies with effort, but had to stop reading Mission. Mr Furst has settled into so much of a pattern that it's impossible to stay interested. Some aspect of European confict in or around WWII. A suave, sophisticated, male European protagonist. A succession of sexually available women. The characters, taken individually, lack real emotional resonance and depth. And taken together they are very much from the same few cookie cutters. Too bad. His first two or three Midnight Soldier novels promised more.
    The narrator does his best, but even he seems a little bored on these recent outings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janel Dolan Jones Fort Worth, Texas, USA 02-18-17
    Janel Dolan Jones Fort Worth, Texas, USA 02-18-17 Member Since 2013

    Dedicated mother, devoted friend. Designer/property & project manager. Curious, inspired, enthusiastic, loving.

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    "Another triumph."

    Not one to be fascinated with war stories, I've become a serious fan of Furst ' s stories about various participants in the espionage involved in WWII Europe. He weaves fascinating tales that draw you into the action, sprinkles just enough factual history to make it real while providing perspective and populates with rich, real characters. Much suspense, wit and masterful dialog make his stories a pleasure to experience. Mr. Gerroll is superb. His delivery and nuanced performance is everything. Hooked after the first book I heard, I purchased every one in the collection that he performs. Bravo!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda E. Scott-Halverson 09-25-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Furst Gets Better and Better"

    Having listened to all of the series in order, this book, is like his latest books in the series, starting with The Foreign Correspondent, that have well developed plots and characters, a historical perspective, excitement with some intrigue, and wonderful, sensual sex, (from a woman's perspective, not just a man's). Relationships are important to the development of the storyline as well as the main characters, even with minor characters and with his dog. I have sent these last books to friends because they are so well written and disturbingly relevant today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bernice Gallagher 07-15-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Just love Alan Furst!"

    Another great book in this series. The characters are well drawn & compelling! The settings rich with atmosphere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WindowViper Atlanta, GA USA 06-10-15
    WindowViper Atlanta, GA USA 06-10-15 Member Since 2002
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    "Bring back George Guidall!"
    Did Daniel Gerroll do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    George Guidall has narrated most of the Furst novels but this one is an exception. Daniel Gerroll pronounces his words clearly, the most important skill in a narrator, but he just doesn't seem to get in the story. He has an annoying habit of allowing his sentences to fade away at the end. Take this one, for example:

    "Forget it, at least for the day. But it didn't forget him."

    I don't know whether or not Alan Furst put "it" and "him" in italics, but the intent of the sentence is clearly "But IT didn't forget HIM." Nevertheless, Gerroll's "him" falls off at the end of the sentence. Is he not paying attention to the meaning of what he is reading? Or does his vocal energy simply fade as he moves from the beginning to the end of each sentence? I don't know, but Guidall adds so much meaning, entirely appropriate to the story, to everything he reads. Gerroll doesn't.

    George Guidall has narrated hundreds of books. So he is in no way limited to Furst's novels. I don't know how he finds enough time in a lifetime to narrate so many. I just hope he doesn't stop. I would listen to almost anything he reads.

    Other reviewers comment on the story, so I'll leave this one, focused on the narrator, at that.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Livermore, CA, United States 01-19-14
    Keith Livermore, CA, United States 01-19-14 Member Since 2013

    Avid reader & audio book lover.

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    "Engrossing story, well told and read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, we have actually given it as a gift to a friend and recommended it to others. The story is complex and as it unwinds, you get deeper and deeper into the central character, a wonderfully drawn complex man.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The pacing and details give you the feeling you are there while the story unfolds.


    Which character – as performed by Daniel Gerroll – was your favorite?

    The police inspector.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a perfect road trip book, we listened to it in long sections while were were driving across the west and the time flew by. The variety of characters and their many motivations kept us guessing what would be next. Once or twice the story took a turn and seemed to jump too far, but in a few minutes we understood where the story was at. Keep listening if you feel lost.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart 01-20-13
    Stuart 01-20-13
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    "Disappointing"

    Night Soldiers was entertaining. This book seemed to go on and on. It did not hold my attention and I had to hit the back button on several occasions. I began well but became tedious.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    edandnancie Sherman Oaks, CA, United States 10-08-12
    edandnancie Sherman Oaks, CA, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Capturing the moment"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Alan Furst writes a great story that evokes the time and place and Daniel Gerroll provides the perfect voice to tell the tale.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Costa. Hearing a story that conveyed how WWII came to the Balkans -- and why -- through his eyes is a revelation.


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

    Yes -- also an Alan Furst -- Mission to Paris. Both equally as good.


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

    Costa's trip back to Paris.


    Any additional comments?

    Alan Furst introduces his readers to World War II, and the run up to it, in places that aren't always thoroughly covered in general history books. Listening, as opposed to reading, to these captures the moment in history. For one thing, Gerroll knows the pronunciation of the names and places! Very helpful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-29-12 Member Since 2011

    JB

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    "Wordy"

    It was interesting but did not seem to move along as fast as I thought it should. I thought the description of the time was accurate and believable,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MMRudy Los Alamos NM USA 06-27-10
    MMRudy Los Alamos NM USA 06-27-10 Member Since 2017
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    "Casablanca with a happier ending"

    A sympathetic protagonist and interesting supporting cast are set against WWII in eastern Europe. On a personal level, it is a fascinating world to visit. Adventure and romance, fight and flight, everyday life, happen as the characters react to and counter fascist Germany's war machine. At the same time the novel gives insight into the politics of the region.
    If it was a physical book, it would be one that you'd stay up all night to read. As it is, Daniel Gerroll carries the listener away, and the story is too soon ended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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