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Alan Furst - Author

About the Author

Alan Furst is widely recognised as the master of the historical spy novel. Now translated into eighteen languages, he is the author of fourteen novels including MIDNIGHT IN EUROPE, SPIES OF THE BALKANS - a TV Book Club choice - THE SPIES OF WARSAW, which became a BBC mini-series starring David Tennant and THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT. Born in New York, he lived for many years in Paris, and now lives on Long Island.

Below is a Q & A with this author.

Who's your favourite author?
I've got a lot of favourites, but my favourite favourite is Anthony Powell – his insight and technical magic are just beyond good. He is for me a real pleasure. I grew up with John Steinbeck and especially Bernard Malamud, I also like Von Rezzori (not all of it, but most), Joseph Roth, Primo Levi, Eric Ambler, of course, some Graham Greene, Mary Renault as a historical novelist, and I must include George MacDonald Fraser.

What's the first book you remember reading?
I can't remember whether it was The Wind in the Willows, Babar or something else. I remember Ratty and Moley, and Celeste – I can also remember reading "boys' books" which were hand-me-downs from the 1940s.

Where do you live? And why?
Sag Harbor, New York, six miles from the ocean, where the beaches are deserted for most of the year and the dog can run. It's beautiful here, but my heart's in Paris, so I go there when I'm able.

Where do you write?
I write in a converted 1930s garage with French doors and an old brick floor, looking out onto a garden.

Typewriter, word processor or pen?
Typewriter, a Lexmark personal wheelwriter, descendant of the mighty IBM Selectric.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, then refugee country (see Isaac Bashevis Singer and Bernard Malamud), now celebrated.

How many brothers and sisters do you have? Is anyone else in your family a writer?
No brothers and no sisters, I was a very late-in-life kid. We have no writers in the family; we were not well educated. It was pretty much high school and that was it.

Did you enjoy school? What is your most vivid memory of your school years?
I didn't like school much. I liked a few teachers and liked my friends, who taught me what I needed to know and told me what to read.

Did you always want to be an author? If not, what did you originally want to be and when and why did you change your mind? I've been a writer since the age of nine, never anything else, really. I changed my mind with a thunderclap about what to write after four books. I started as a poet – very serious about that; wrote a novel which I thought was a potboiler but wasn't. It didn't boil the pot and was estimably, to my astonishment, published.

What were the first pieces of writing that you produced? e.g. short stories, school magazine etc. My first writing was for school newspapers, then for a literary magazine in college, although actually I wrote stuff for myself earlier. I wrote non-fiction to survive, for Esquire and for International Herald Tribune amongst others. I also wrote ad copy to survive in my twenties and that was really good for me – it had to be right – and fast.

What jobs did you have before you started writing?
All the dust-jacket jobs: factory worker (summers in high school and college), fruit-picker, hay-bale bucker, taxi driver in New York, like that.

How do you write each novel, i.e. do you block out the narrative first, take each page at a time, create the central character, build a cast of characters?
I try to block out the novels, although I'm never successful. My outlines last 60 pages if I'm lucky, and after that it's up to my characters. Thank God for them, they know what needs to be done, and how to have a good time when they're not doing it.

What is a typical writing day?
Up at 5.30, work till noon or I've reached 500 words, two pages, whichever is first. Just like Ernest Hemingway said to do.

Have you started your next book? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
The new book is well under way: The Foreign Correspondent, about Italian anti-fascist émigrés in Paris in 1939 and the clandestine press.

Featured books by Alan Furst

Midnight in Europe

Midnight in Europe

Author: Alan Furst Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/06/2014

Paris, 1938. A shadow edges over Europe. Democratic forces are locked in struggle, while in Spain the war has already begun. Cristian Ferrar, a handsome Spanish lawyer in Paris, is a well-connected man. Ferrar is approached to help a clandestine agency supply weapons to beleaguered Republican forces and agrees, putting his life on the line. Joining Ferrar in his mission is an unlikely group of allies; idealists and gangsters, arms traders and aristocrats, including Max de Lyon, a man hunted by the Gestapo, and the Marquesa Maria Cristina, a refined beauty with a taste for danger. From libertine nightclubs in the City of Light to volatile bars by the docks in Gdansk, Furst paints a spell-binding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare - and the heroes and heroines who fought back.

ebook of the month

Other books by Alan Furst

A Second Look @ Joshua

A Second Look @ Joshua

Author: Alan Furst Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/04/2019

During the unparalleled days of the emancipation of the Hebrews from slavery a young man was being prepared for a historic role. Born under the oppressive whip of Egyptian taskmasters, Joshua the son of Nun steps onto the stage of history a virtual unknown. Chosen by Moses to be at his side, he learns from the iconic leader lessons that are still relevant for us today. A.J. Furst thoughtfully explores the untold story of Joshua's development in becoming the successor to Moses. From being chosen to lead an inexperienced army in battle against a well established king . . . to walking on the mountain of God . . . to exploring the land promised to his ancestor Abraham, take a second look at leadership lessons with application to anyone involved in serving others.

T.J & Blake - Kofi's Plot

T.J & Blake - Kofi's Plot

Author: Alan Furst Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/04/2019

Dr. Simpson and his family travel to Ghana on a humanitarian medical mission. He is helping to establish a clinic that will be handed over to the local community. While treasure hunting, T.J. and Blake discover a mysterious object buried in a farmer's field infested with venomous snakes. Kofi Adofo is a farmer trying to care for his family. The elected chief and elders have given a parcel of land to the foreigners for building a clinic-land that Kofi has farmed for years. He feels betrayed by his own people in favor of the white doctors. What will Kofi do to protect his way of life? Will the deadly snakes kill the Treasure Finders? What will become of the clinic? Kofi's Plot takes you to Ghana on an adventure that includes intrigue, suspense and mystery.

T.J. & Blake Treasure Finders - The Big Tip

T.J. & Blake Treasure Finders - The Big Tip

Author: Alan Furst Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/04/2019

T.J. and Blake have started their new business-Treasure Finders. Their first client, Mildred Russell, contacts them after seeing their poster at the local grocery store. Mildred has guarded a letter from Private Bernie Winslow dated 1951. The letter tells Mildred that he hid something of great value specifically for her in the event of his death. But the letter includes a code and only Mildred has the key to crack the code. Follow the adventures of T.J. and Blake as they crack the code and unearth the treasure hidden for over fifty years. Will they find it before the insidious Matthew who is driven by his love of money? * What is the key to cracking the code in Bernie's letter? * Where can the treasure be found so many years later? * What did Bernie hide for Mildred and her alone? Find out in T.J. and Blake's first big adventure, The Big Tip.

Night Soldiers

Night Soldiers

Author: Alan Furst Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/11/2018

'Complex, intelligent, hugely intriguing - Alan Furst is in a class of his own' William Boyd 'Furst's ability to recreate the terrors of espionage is matchless' Robert Harris 'Furst never stops astounding me' Tom Hanks Chosen as one of the 50 Best Modern Crime Novels by Marcel Berlins, crime reviewer, The Times Bulgaria, 1934. Khristo Stoianev sees his brother kicked to death by a gang of fascist thugs. Taking a risk on the promise of Communism, he flees to Moscow and is trained as an agent of the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service. His first mission is to go to Catalonia, where he is soon caught up in the bloody horrors of the Spanish Civil War. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin's purges, Khristo must again take flight, this time to Paris, where he is a small player on the wrong end of a social scene that is simultaneously decadent and doomed. One of the twentieth century's greatest spy novels, Night Soldiers is a thrilling portrait of one man's extraordinary adventures and of Europe teetering on the brink of the Second World War. 'Alan Furst's mastery of the espionage novel puts him beyond any would-be rival' Literary Review 'A spy novel, a war story, an adventure, a survivor's tale - Night Soldiers is all this and more' Seattle Times

A Hero of France

A Hero of France

Author: Alan Furst Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 09/06/2016

Spring 1941: Britain is losing the war, but the fighters of the French Resistance are determined not to give up. These courageous men and women - young and old, aristocrats and nightclub owners, teachers and military heroes - run an escape line for British airmen down to Spain. In Rouen and Orleans, in secret hotels and on the streets, they prise open Europe's sealed doors to lead British fighters to freedom...

Hero of France

Hero of France

Author: Alan Furst Format: eBook Release Date: 31/05/2016

The latest war novel from the New York Times bestselling author and modern-day master of the genre (New York Newsday) Alan Furst.Alan Furst's latest novel takes place in the secret hotels, nightclubs, and cafes of occupied Paris and the villages of France during the spring of 1941, when Britain was losing the war. Many of the characters are resistance fighters who run an escape line for British airmen down to Spain, they include men and women, old and young, all strong, an aristocrat, a Jewish teacher, and the hero is a hero, has a gun and uses it. Some of Furst's former characters including S. Kolb the spy, and Max de Lyon, former arms dealer, now a nightclub owner, return. A Hero of France is sure to please existing Furst fans and attract new ones.

Midnight in Europe

Midnight in Europe

Author: Alan Furst Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/10/2015

Paris, 1938. Democratic forces are locked in struggle as the shadow of war edges over Europe. Cristian Ferrar, a handsome Spanish lawyer in Paris, is approached to help a clandestine agency supply weapons to beleaguered Republican forces. He agrees, putting his life on the line. Joining Ferrar in his mission is an unlikely group of allies: idealists and gangsters, arms dealers, aristocrats and spies. From libertine nightclubs in Paris to shady bars by the docks in Gdansk, Furst paints a spell-binding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare - and the heroes and heroines who fought back.

Spies of the Balkans

Spies of the Balkans

Author: Alan Furst Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/06/2014

Salonika, 1940. To the bustle of tavernas and the smell of hashish, a secret war is taking shape. In the backrooms of barbers, envelopes change hands, and in the Club de Salonique the air is thick with whispers. Costa Zannis is the city's dashing chief detective - a man with contacts high and low, in the Balkans and beyond. And as unknown ships and British 'travel writers' trickle through the port, he is a man very much in demand. Having helped defeat Italy in the highlands of Macedonia, Zannis returns to a city holding its breath. Mussolini's forces have retreated - for now - but German sights are fixed firmly on the region. And as the situation in Germany worsens, Zannis becomes involved in an audacious plot - smuggling Jews to Istanbul, through the back door of Europe. The British hear he can penetrate the continent's closed borders, and soon Zannis is embroiled in the resistance, and in a reckless love affair that could jeopardise everything. With a remarkable cast of operatives, SPIES OF THE BALKANS is a brilliant espionage novel from Alan Furst.

Midnight in Europe

Midnight in Europe

Author: Alan Furst Format: eBook Release Date: 03/06/2014

The latest novel from New York Times bestselling author and the "e;modern-day master of the genre"e; (Newsday), Alan Furst.From the New York Times bestselling author and the acclaimed "e;grandmaster"e; of espionage (Boston Globe) comes the taut, suspenseful story, set in Paris and Spain, of a man caught in the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War, and an operation thatwith the help of FDR's secret operativeswill determine Europe's fate in the coming world war. New York City, autumn 1938. Gregorio D'Alba, a minor noble descended from the Spanish Bourbons, is awaiting passage on a freighter to Paris after a failed attempt to convince American oil companies to support the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. In Paris, surrounded by shifting political allegiances and prying spy services, D'Alba does whatever he can to support the Spanish Republic--smuggling, gathering intelligence, running arms. But the stakes quickly escalate when D'Alba, along with the British and the Americans, undertakes a mission to infiltrate the highest levels of the Spanish government, and to determine the alliances of his country and forever alter the course of the coming world war. With his signature gripping, heart-pounding story, Alan Furst's new novel confirms his status as "e;the most talented espionage novelist of our generation"e; (Vince Flynn).

Midnight in Europe

Midnight in Europe

Author: Alan Furst Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/06/2014

Paris, 1938. A shadow edges over Europe. Democratic forces are locked in struggle, while in Spain the war has already begun. Cristian Ferrar, a handsome Spanish lawyer in Paris, is a well-connected man. Ferrar is approached to help a clandestine agency supply weapons to beleaguered Republican forces and agrees, putting his life on the line. Joining Ferrar in his mission is an unlikely group of allies: idealists and gangsters, arms traders and aristocrats, including Max de Lyon, a man hunted by the Gestapo, and the Marquesa Maria Cristina, a refined beauty with a taste for danger. From libertine nightclubs in the City of Light to volatile bars by the docks in Gdansk, Furst paints a spell-binding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare - and the heroes and heroines who fought back.

Mission to Paris

Mission to Paris

Author: Alan Furst Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/03/2013

The author of TV Book Club's SPIES OF THE BALKANS returns with a hugely evocative thriller set in wartime Paris. Frederic Stahl, born of Viennese intelligentsia, ran away to sea at the age of seventeen. Embarking in America, his matinee idol looks and Old-World charm took him to Hollywood, and a life of movies and women. But by autumn 1939, the unease in Europe has spread even to Stahl's glamorous enclave. War has been declared, and though bullets and bombs are yet to fly, his decision to shoot a film in Paris seems ill-advised. The Parisians know this is their last spring and a time to be passionate. Soon after his arrival, Stahl is drawn into a clandestine world of foreign correspondents, exiled Spanish republicans and, of course, spies of every sort. For as a celebrity from neutral America - who can travel across the continent freely - Stahl could be very useful indeed ... Returning to the Brasserie Heiniger, and some of the colourful cast from THE WORLD AT NIGHT, this is a headily atmospheric portrait of a continent in the grip of The Phony War.

Mission to Paris

Mission to Paris

Author: Alan Furst Format: eBook Release Date: 12/06/2012

From the New York Times bestselling author and the modern-day master of the genre (New York Newsday) comes a gripping novel of espionage and deception in 1938 pre-war Paris.At the center of the intrigue is Hollywood star, Frederic Stahl. September 1938. On the eve of the Munich Appeasement, Stahl arrives in Paris, on loan from Warner Brothers to star in a French film. He quickly becomes entangled in the shifting political currents of pre-war ParisFrench fascists, German Nazis, and his Hollywood publicists all have their fates tied to him. But members of the clandestine spy world of Paris have a deeper interest in Stahl, sensing a potential asset in a handsome, internationally renowned actor. Ranging from the high society of glittering Paris to film set locations in far-away Damascus and Budapest, Alan Fursts new novel confirms his status as a writer whose stories unfold like a vivid dream (The Wall Street Journal).

Classic Spy Novels 3-Book Bundle

Classic Spy Novels 3-Book Bundle

Author: Alan Furst Format: eBook Release Date: 14/05/2012

From Alan Furst, often compared to John le Carre, Graham Greene, and Eric Ambler, and praised as the best spy novelist ever, a trio of his classic works Furst, known for panoramic vision, deep authenticity, and a magnificent eye for historical detail, always sets his novels in the twilight world of Europe in the 1930s and first years of World War II, when the British, Russian, German, and many other spy services fought it out in the alleys and grand hotels of Paris, Berlin, and other cities on the Continent. The three classic spy novels in this ';read all night' eBook bundlewill transport you to the dark conflict between fascists, communists, and the people who fought back against them. Includes a preview of Alan Furst's new novel, Mission to Pariswith movie stars, elite spies, and German political warfareon sale in June. ';The writing in Mission to Paris, sentence after sentence, page after page, is dazzling. If you are a John le Carre fan, this is definitely a novel for you.'James Patterson ';I am a huge fan of Alan Furst. Furst is the best in the businessthe most talented espionage novelist of our generation.'Vince Flynn NIGHT SOLDIERS Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin's purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 193435: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a work on a grand scale. THE WORLD AT NIGHT Paris, 1940. The civilized, upper-class life of film producer Jean Casson is derailed by the German occupation of Paris, but Casson learns that with enough money, compromise, and connections, one need not deny oneself the pleasures of Parisian life. Somewhere inside Casson, though, is a stubborn romantic streak. When he's offered the chance to take part in an operation of the British secret service, this idealism gives him the courage to say yes. A simple mission, but it goes wrong, and Casson realizes that he must gamble everythinghis career, the woman he loves, life itself. Here is a brilliant re-creation of Franceits spirit in the moment of defeat, its valor in the moment of rebirth. KINGDOM OF SHADOWS Paris, 1938. As Europe edges toward war, Nicholas Morath, an urbane former cavalry officer, spends his days working at the small advertising agency he owns and his nights in the bohemian circles of his Argentine mistress. But Morath has been recruited by his uncle, Count Janos Polanyi, a diplomat in the Hungarian legation, for operations against Hitler's Germany. It is Morath who does Polanyi's clandestine work, moving between the beach cafes of Juan-les-Pins and the forests of Ruthenia, from Czech fortresses in the Sudetenland to the private gardens of the declasse royalty in Budapest. The web Polanyi spins for Morath is deep and complex and pits him against German intelligence officers, NKVD renegades, and Croat assassins in a shadow war of treachery and uncertain loyalties, a war that Hungary cannot afford to lose. Alan Furst is frequently compared with Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and John le Carre, but Kingdom of Shadows is distinctive and entirely original. It is Furst at his very best.

Dark Voyage

Dark Voyage

Author: Alan Furst Format: eBook Release Date: 04/01/2011

May, 1941. At four in the morning, a rust-streaked tramp freighter streams up the Tagus River to dock at the port of Lisbon. She is the Santa Rosa; she flies the flag of neutral Spain and is in Lisbon to load cork oak, tinned sardines, and drums of cooking oil bound for the Baltic port of Malmo. Only she is not the Santa Rosa, she is the Noordendam, a Dutch freighter that sails for the Intelligence Division of the British Royal Navy and she will load detection equipment for a clandestine operation on the Swedish coast -- a secret mission, a dark voyage. Here is an epic tale of war and espionage, of spies and fugitives, of love in secret hotel rooms, of courage in the face of impossible odds.

Author Info

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https://alanfurst.net/index.htm

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