Monday, 26 May 2014

Review: Midnight In Europe by Alan Furst

Paris, 1938. As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called “the most talented espionage novelist of our generation,” now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa, on the eve of World War II.

Cristián Ferrar, a brilliant and handsome Spanish émigré, is a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. Ferrar is approached by the embassy of the Spanish Republic and asked to help a clandestine agency trying desperately to supply weapons to the Republic’s beleaguered army—an effort that puts his life at risk in the battle against fascism.

Joining Ferrar in this mission is a group of unlikely men and women: idealists and gangsters, arms traders and aristocrats and spies. From shady Paris nightclubs to white-shoe New York law firms, from brothels in Istanbul to the dockyards of Poland, Ferrar and his allies battle the secret agents of Hitler and Franco. And what allies they are: there’s Max de Lyon, a former arms merchant now hunted by the Gestapo; the Marquesa Maria Cristina, a beautiful aristocrat with a taste for danger; and the Macedonian Stavros, who grew up “fighting Bulgarian bandits. After that, being a gangster was easy.” Then there is Eileen Moore, the American woman Ferrar could never forget.

In Midnight in Europe, Alan Furst paints a spellbinding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare—and the heroes and heroines who fought back against the darkness.

Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: June 10th 2014 by Random House
Terri's Thoughts
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Random House via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is June 10, 2014.
This is one of those stories where I struggle with my comments and opinion....
The book was exactly as advertised.  A spy novel with numerous dangerous and sketchy plots in an effort to assist a war effort.  Check.  Well written and easy to understand.  Check.  An interesting venture in to a volatile time in world history.  Check.
Based on this you would think that I would give it a glowing review.  Somehow I cannot.  There was just something missing in this story for me and I am not sure I can pinpoint what it was.  The characters did not interest me enough to become fully invested and therefore I did feel part of the story as I do with a truly outstanding read.  I found the story dull at many times and that in spite of everything that occurred, nothing really happened.
I will caution anyone who may read my review that just because I am not doing cartwheels over this story does not mean that I do not recommend it.  I think that this is one of those stories that may not necessarily appeal to everyone however could strongly appeal to some.  It seems geared more towards a truly specific genre and doesn't offer a whole lot outside of it.
Although interesting in parts, for me it was just a little on the dull side...
About the Author

Alan Furst is widely recognized as the current master of the historical spy novel. Born in New York, he has lived for long periods in France, especially Paris. He now lives on Long Island.

Night Soldiers novels
* Night Soldiers (1988)
* Dark Star (1991)
* The Polish Officer (1995)
* The World at Night (1996)
* Red Gold (1999)
* Kingdom of Shadows (2000)
* Blood of Victory (2003)
* Dark Voyage (2004)
* The Foreign Correspondent (2006)
* The Spies of Warsaw (2008)
* Spies of the Balkans (2010)
* Mission to Paris (2012)

Stand-alone novels
* Your day in the barrel (1976)
* The Paris drop (1980)
* The Caribbean Account (1981)
* Shadow Trade (1983)


1 comment:

  1. Great review! I haven't heard of this one before, but it doesn't sound like something that I'd probably enjoy reading. Love the cover though!