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Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst
  

Midnight in Europe

Action Adventure / Spy   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £18.99

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

One of Alan Furst’s period spy novels for which he is renowned. This is not his best but still a fascinating, intriguing read. It concerns arms smuggling to the anti-Franco forces as the Spanish Civil War escalates, starring Cristián Ferrar, an American, Spanish-born émigré living in Paris. With the weapons coming across Poland, the tension is racked up when a German spy gets close to Cristián. It is very much George Smiley territory.

If you like Alan Furst you might also like to read books by Martin Cruz Smith, Robert Wilson and Dan Fesperman.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Another very pacy thriller from Alan Furst, meticulously researched, and atmospheric in its film noir style. Set largely in Paris in 1938, it features Cristián Ferrar, a handsome and successful Spanish lawyer who is a partner in an international firm. With civil war ongoing in Spain, Ferrar becomes an unofficial consultant to the so-called Technical Bureau, using his contacts and expertise to buy arms for export to his home country As his mission takes him far and wide, so he finds himself allied to a disparate group of people: gangsters, arms dealers, and aristocrats, all working for the Spanish cause or caught in the shadow of war that looms over the whole of Europe. From the smarter arrondissements of the French capital to ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ in Poland and a freighter on a dangerous voyage on the Black Sea, Ferrar’s affiliations ensure his world is never dull!
~ Karen Howlett

Synopsis

Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst

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.

Reviews

Alan Furst's novels have invoked glowing comparisons with Graham Greene for his idiosyncratic recreations of 1930s Europe; Midnight in Europe shows that there is not the slightest diminution in his masterly command -- Barry Forshaw FINANCIAL TIMES Furst's novels of WWII and the years immediately before it are becoming something of a genre of their own - a richly enjoyable mix of spy adventures, love stories, thrillers and social histories... the real pleasure comes in simply spending time with Furst's gallery of plausible villains and unlikely heroes THE MAIL ON SUNDAY Alan Furst's gripping novel is driven by his deceptively straightforward style, which gently piles everyday detail on detail building up little by little until the reader becomes enmeshed in a complex web of international intrigue and machinations right to the very end -- Amy Myers SHOTS Since the publication of Night Soldiers in 1988, Alan Furst has established himself as a uniquely appealing writer of espionage fiction, attracting not only those who know the genre, but also those who hold more literary sensibilities. Like Le Carre, he imbues his thrillers with a compelling air of reality that convinces the reader of their authenticity... The main reason to read Furst, however, is his pitch-perfect period detail. The author evokes time and place with effortless ease... Furst is one of the greatest practitioners of the spy thriller working today. If you've read him before, you'll already have bought the book. If not, you're about to discover a real pleasure -- Russel McLean THE HERALD (GLASGOW) Furst deftly creates a chiaroscuro world, a chessboard Europe half glimpsed through shadow and fog and dominated by the looming threat of fascism. The sombre tone is offset by Furst's delightfully improbably cast of characters, which includes down-at-heel aristocrats, mercenary arms dealers, femmes fatales and star-crossed lovers. Ferrer, our amateur spy is a wonderful creation an idealistic but hopelessly native innocent abroad who understands all to well that he is a very small cog in a vast machine grinding inexorably towards a conflict that will dwarf even the horrors of the Spanish Civil War -- Declan Burke THE IRISH TIMES Alan Furst's Midnight in Europe unfolds in 1938, during the Spanish Civil war. Cristian, a Spanish lawyer working in Paris, agrees to assist the Republic's arms-buying agency there, and hence meets a cosmopolitan assortment of ambiguous heroes and colourful rogues... Furst devotees will devour it eagerly -- John Dugdale THE SUNDAY TIMES This is another fine addition to his elegant, gripping, interwoven set of novels... Furst tells gallopingly good stories, and Midnight in Europe is one of them THE SCOTSMAN As ever, the setting is thoroughly convincing, the detail impressive, and the atmosphere of doomed romance intoxicating. His writing is sophisticated, nuanced, and surprisingly funny in places, without ever being flashy. Furst is too skilled the storyteller to ever break the spell he casts over the reader for the sake of a clever phrase. No doubt Midnight in Europe will sell by the bucket load, and that's just fine with me www.crimefictionlover.com Featuring some colourful characters, including idealists, gangsters and aristocrats and involving Ferrar in trips to New York, Berlin, Poland, Romania, Istanbul and Odessa, the novel is well paced and captures the mood of the times CHOICE Highly exciting...full of suspense... This novel will keep the new reader engrossed to the very end CRIME REVIEW The 2013 television adaptation of the WWII thriller The Spies of Warsaw drew a greater audience to Furst's classic spy novels and his latest book won't disappoint them... fast-paced, engaging thriller WE LOVE THIS BOOK [Furst] remains at the top of his game. This is another fine addition to his elegant, gripping, interwoven set of novels that will someday form a kaleidoscopic map of European powers forced into desperate alliances as they fight for their lives... Furst tells galloping good stories, and Midnight in Europe is one of them. -- Janet Maslin NEW YORK TIMES (USA) This spy thriller set in 1938 from Edgar finalist Furst (Mission to Paris) ... charts the attempts of two part-time arms dealers, Chistian Ferrar and Max de Lyon, to serve the Spanish Republic and its beleaguered army while most of the continent has its eye on Berlin. Every clandestine mission they undertake - a prolonged quest for cannons in Poland, a nifty operation to trick Russia out of field guns and antiaircraft weaponry in Odessa - is fraught with struggle, and the pro-Franco Nazi spy apparatus always seems one step ahead ... As usual, Furst manages to capture the fragile, itinerant nature of European life during the interwar period, dropping in hints of the horror to come PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (USA) Through multiple novels, Furst has illuminated moments of reluctant courage and desperate love in a world teetering on the edge of destruction. He does so again here, and, as always, he does it exquisitely... Furst is a master of mood, but, above all, he is able to show how the most personal of emotions-love, especially-drives the actions of men and women caught in a time of peril BOOKLIST (USA) Another tense drama of pre-World War II Europe from a master of the period... As usual, Furst manages to hold the reader's rapt attention without blood-and-guts action. Furst owns the dark blanket that covers Europe between the two world wars. His latest is a satisfying, thought-provoking read KIRKUS REVIEWS (USA) No espionage author, it seems, is better at summoning the shifting atmosphere of Europe before the start of World War II than Alan Furst, whose gifts for such evocation are on display once more in the suspenseful and sophisticated Midnight in Europe ... exciting and moving WALL STREET JOURNAL (USA) Furst vividly re-creates an era that brought pain and consequence to nearly every civilian in every country... And so it is with Furst's newest novel, Midnight in Europe. Furst creates great tension between his protaganists
personal imperatives and their missions

... I've read every one of [Furst's novels] twice. Each time I get my hands on a new one, I devour it in a single sitting. I can't help it; they're just too much fun to put down. A couple months later, I'll pick it up again and take my time. Like the choucroute garnie and dark beer at Heininger, it's even more fun to savor every morsel THE BOSTON GLOBE (USA) Another tale of desperate bravery from the master of World War II-era thrillers NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (USA) A complexly plotted and smoothly written story SUNDAY CANBERRA TIMES (Australia) Acclaimed author Alan Furst expertly unfolds a ripping yarn of derring-do that manages, with no apparent breaking of sweat, to pay homage to his spy thriller-writer heroes (Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, Alaister McLean, Dennis Wheatley and, perhaps most resonantly, John le Carre) while simultaneously forging a highly individualistic streak... Furst has been writing - evocatively, intuitively, and with a level of clear-headed knowledge and extensive research... about this pre-war period of time from the late 1980s... If you're familiar with Furst's work you'll know what to expect: old-fashioned yet sophisticated, highly intelligent adventure novels with an underlying cinematic sensibility. If you're not familiar, then perhaps it's time to start? -- Tony Clayton-Lea IRISH EXAMINER Acclaimed author Alan Furst expertly unfolds a ripping yarn of derring-do that manages, with no apparent breaking of sweat, to pay homage to his spy thriller-writer heroes (Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, Alaister McLean, Dennis Wheatley and, perhaps most resonantly, John le Carre) while simultaneously forging a highly individualistic streak... Furst has been writing - evocatively, intuitively, and with a level of clear-headed knowledge and extensive research... about this pre-war period of time from the late 1980s... If you're familiar with Furst's work you'll know what to expect: old-fashioned yet sophisticated, highly intelligent adventure novels with an underlying cinematic sensibility. If you're not familiar, then perhaps it's time to start? -- Tony Clayton-Lea IRISH EXAMINER


About the Author

Alan Furst

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th June 2014

Author

Alan Furst

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Author's Website

alanfurst.net/index.htm

Publisher

Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co

Format

Hardback
320 pages

Categories

Action Adventure / Spy
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780297863953

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