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Publisher's Summary

Widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel, New York Times best-selling author Alan Furst takes listeners back to the early days of World War II for a dramatic novel of intrigue and suspense.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Story

Not a good audio book

Too many characters to follow I an audio book. If I was reading this book I would have reread many sections to catch up and that would have been okay. Not so with an audiobook. Nice spy world but far too dense for me for a audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This book is a gift.

It's "Huckleberry Finn" on the Danube and in WWII. A breathtaking sprawl of a book. This spy/war/history/poetic and sensual book anticipates today's tribal breakdowns in the midst of western human rights expansions. The plot is dense and I had to listen again and again to tease out the thread of continuity, but that let me also te-hear and enjoy the beauty of landscape and cold and conflicting human urges. What a book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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way too slow

This book is beautifully written, very detailed slice of life in the spanish civil war kind of thing, but I kept wanting Mitch Rapp to kill somebody, and he never even showed up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic evocation of the war; minimal plot line

Where does Night Soldiers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was good, but not breaking into the top ranks.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

No. There wasn't really a single plot, just a number of individual characters and events on which to hang a lot of detail, from high-level intelligence operations to low-level peasants just trying to stay alive. It was rich and immersive, but I kept wondering if there was going to be a culminating event at all. (spoiler: nope)

Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favorite?

I quite liked Alexandra, just because she was so different, so distinct. Otherwise, perhaps some of the English playboys whiling away the war with champagne and gossip.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Sometimes in a war, there are no good and bad guys, just survivors.

Any additional comments?

I was confused about whether this was an alternate history book that I bought around the same time -- did the war end during this book? I felt like it was still all Communists and Nazis at the end, even after 1945...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • R.A.H.
  • Peachtree City, GA
  • 06-02-16

Sprawling story, superb narration

What made the experience of listening to Night Soldiers the most enjoyable?

George Guidall's narration is exceptional. I've heard him read a lot of thrillers, and he's good at all of them, but he is truly in his element with this Alan Furst novel. He switches seamlessly among southern, eastern and western European accents. Amazing.

What did you like best about this story?

The journey of Kristo from Bulgarian youth to NKVD agent in Madrid to renegade in Paris to Allied spy in Prague seems so unlikely on its face, but it could not make more sense in Furst's telling. Kristo somehow remains true to himself and to his brothers in BF825. Furst is a great storyteller, a scholar of prewar and wartime Europe and a wonderfully literate writer.

What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

Everything!

Any additional comments?

If you like spy novels, war novels and novels about people confronting cataclysmic change, listen to this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Plot, characters, history, everything

This novel is so different from almost anything I've read in the genre. Better prose than le Carre, Complex but utterly believable plot. Pacing--oh my goodness. And all this without losing the characters, in particular that of Khristo Stoianev. He is amazingly deft at weaving in the historic background, as well. And, a blessing, while his vision of the world, at least the world of this novel, is bleak, the humans in it are not so utterly without the capacity of redemption as to be unbelievable on that side of the ledger. It can seem as if hope for all but one or two humans in any given group as become literarily incorrect. Not so for this writer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Could not get in to it.

Would you try another book from Alan Furst and/or George Guidall?

Maybe

What was most disappointing about Alan Furst’s story?

Not much story. No plot to follow really and too much insignificant detail. The metaphor of the figs was too much for me....I love this genre and was hoping for a new author like Deighton and LeCarre. Not so much. I never have liked the Spanish Civil War. Was hoping both the socialists and the fascists would lose. Blah

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Easier to understand in print

I perceive that my middling rating for this book is largely influenced by my decision to listen to the audio edition rather than read the print edition. The first third of the book creates the setting and introduces the main characters slowly by inference and realization. For example, there are many characters that are introduced for one or two paragraphs and then never referenced again; it is only by continual reference that one realizes who are the main characters. These characters actions are inferred when another characters reflects on having witnessed an event. The scene changes frequently and without obvious breaks in the flow. I became so confused that I had to re-read entire sections from a borrowed, print copy to get back on track. The latter two-thirds of the book were more clear but I still lost the train of thought too many times.

I wish that I had decided to read only the print version. The author's writing style is excellently formatted for that mode.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph
  • Springfield, VA, United States
  • 09-28-13

I had no Idea what I was getting into

This is a very good book and rather interesting one to boot. I knew of the USSR and WWII but never in this way. The writer is brilliant and the way he weaves real history into the story is grand. I was not expecting to get so involved with the story but I did and happy for it. The Narrator was just great and made the 18 hour book rather fun even with the dark story line. Well worth adding to your libary.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Larry
  • Fort Jones, CA, United States
  • 07-12-13

Master Storyteller

What made the experience of listening to Night Soldiers the most enjoyable?

Firstly, I think George Guidall could read a Chinese phonebook and make it compelling listening. Secondly, Alan Furst is a master at character development. Also, I found the subject matter fascinating. I like when I read or listen to a book, it becomes pictorially vivid in my mind. It takes very good writing to do that for me. Alan Furst does this extremely well.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I enjoyed all the characters, because they seemed alive to me. However, following the main character was extremely enjoyable.

Which scene was your favorite?

On the Danube, in a rowboat with the Soviet soldier, when he encountered the grounded barge, and recognized the hull number as a significant code. I felt his excitement! I have a hundred favorite scenes in this book. I can't wait until I forget enough to justify re-reading it!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I think I'd stick with the book title, Night Soldiers.

Any additional comments?

This is a departure from the shoot-em-up spy books, which I also enjoy, but it loses nothing by shedding gratuitous violence. It replaces non-stop action with true intrigue, and I found it no less exciting. It would be like comparing Casablanca and Die Hard. Both great genres to be sure, but each with an exceptional cache. This was my first Furst, and I just downloaded his "Polish Officer". Can't wait to get into it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful