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Dark Star: A Novel Paperback – July 9, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375759999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375759994
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Furst ( Night Soldiers ) will make his mark with this intelligent, provocative and gripping novel. In 1933, Andre Szara, a highly regarded Polish-born foreign correspondent for Pravda , is asked to perform small espionage tasks by the NKVD. These assignments escalate, until Szara finds himself responsible for obtaining vital production figures from a German-Jewish industrialist who fabricates steel wire essential to airplanes. Inevitably, Szara's integrity as a journalist is also compromised. During this period of Stalinist purges, clearly and chillingly described by Furst, only unpredictability is certain. Szara senses the precariousness of his position, which is compounded by an urgent appeal from a wealthy Jewish Frenchman for Szara to honor his own Jewish heritage by trading his steel wire information to the British in exchange for desperately needed immigration certificates to mandated Palestine. Furst depicts the historical, geographic and political context in lucid and highly readable prose; his observation that Russia annexed Lithuania and Estonia while the world's attention was focused on France's struggle with Germany has an eerie timeliness. As darkness descends over Europe, Szara clings to life while simultaneously attempting to make some meaning of it. His story is not a pretty one; but it is beautifully and compellingly told.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This is an intriguing combination of spy story and historical novel. It is about a Pravda journalist forced to become a Soviet intelligence agent in the years immediately before World War II. It is also about a Europe being driven into war, not simply by supposedly irresistible social forces but by the genuinely evil men who manipulate and direct events. Seen in this way, Stalin is as responsible for the coming of war as Hitler, and Stalin's Russian purges signal the future deaths of millions in Central Europe. Agents in this novel are not just spies but metaphors for the actors, large and small, on the stage of history. Entertaining, exciting, and thought-provoking reading.
- Charles Mi chaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel. Now translated into seventeen languages, he is the bestselling author of Night Soldiers, Dark Star, The Polish Officer, The World at Night, Red Gold, Kingdom of Shadows, Blood of Victory, Dark Voyage, and The Foreign Correspondent Born in New York, he now lives in Paris and on Long Island.

Customer Reviews

Great character development, superb story!
John M. Mcree
While not Furst's best spy novel, for anyone interested in reading and enjoying spy stories, or stories of world war two, this book is a must read.
Prauge Traveler
Furst's attention to historical detail makes this book very real and believable.
Vladev

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 135 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 1997
Format: Paperback
I had read "The Polish Officer" first and wanted more of Alan Furst's evocative pre WWII novels of espionage. "Dark Star" surpasses the later novel, it simply hits on all cylinders. Historically accurate, with a twisting plot, vivid characters, and settings that make the reader feel the darkness and gloom enveloping Europe on the eve of WWII. This novel goes beyond the genre of espionage and paints a differently humane approach to the times. The main character, Andre Szara, while heroic, is "everyman" in that he fears, struggles and fails and succeeds and gets lucky at times. Truly the opposite of the Tom Clancy, James bondish type spy, Alan Furst offers us a hero who we can understand without suspending our disbelief. "Dark Star" is a wonderful piece of work by an author who amazes with his breadth of knowledge on Central Europe in the 30's
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75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Beth Fox on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Sooner or later, . . . things fall into place and, often as not, you'd rather they hadn't." Andre Szara, a Soviet Jewish journalist originally from the Pale of Settlement, is ordered to retrieve a package from Prague. Hidden within is a secret dossier that initially seems of little worth. As the story unfolds, however, Szara is drawn into rings of spies, factions and counter-factions, Gestapo and anti-Gestapo, Old Bolsheviks and new Stalinists. Szara does not know who is working for whom, who will be killed next, or whether he can trust any of them.

As the story takes place from the end of 1937 through 1940, the backdrop to all of this is an increasingly bellicose and anti-Semitic Nazi Germany, echoed by the Stalinist purges of intellectuals in the NKVD and throughout Soviet society. And no one knows this period -- right down to the details -- better than Alan Furst. From doors that open "the width of an eye" to wireless transmitters humming through the night, from Gestapo boarding trains to pre-war diplomats in formal suits, Furst owns this turf. Thanks to his skill, you can feel throughout the drumbeat of impending war.

Five stars does not begin to do justice to the works of Alan Furst. The history, both the broad events and small details, is impeccable. (In this novel, Furst presents a fascinating, and to my knowledge, original, explanation for the Hitler-Stalin pact.) And he really knows how to write. I found myself rereading sentences because they expressed thoughts or feelings to perfection.

This novel is rich in history, lyrically written with a master's eye. If you like it, you will also enjoy Night Soldiers, Furst's novel of a Bulgarian NKVD agent during the Spanish Civil War.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Prauge Traveler on April 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
The protagonist of "Dark Star" is a smalltime NKVD operative, born in Poland and working in the newspaper business. As usual, Furst sets his spy novel in occupied Eastern Europe during the opening years of the Second World War. Andre Szara, the reporter, becomes involved more and more heavily in providing reports on a German factory that produces an important component for the production of airplanes. As the Stalinist purges begin and continue, Szara finds his loyalties conflicting between his own survival and his Jewish ancestry. Soon a mysterious French-born Jew working with the British is requesting Szara's reports in exchange for certificates of immigration for Jews trapped in Europe and attempting to escape. As Szara becomes involved, he falls further and further into the labyrinthine world of espionage- a world from which he may never escape. . .

Although this novel can easily be read as a stand-alone book, some readers will enjoy beginning their foray into Furst's world with "Night Soldiers", his original and possibly best spy novel. This book introduces several characters who make appearances throughout Furst's other novels set in the same period of time and general geographical local. Because of this fact, I highly recommend reading "Night Soldiers" first, although those that follow can typically be read in any particular order (the exception being the stories involving Jean Casson - World at Night and Red Gold).

What makes Furst's loosely structured series so compelling is that 1; they are very well researched and historical very accurate, especially with regard to spy craft - as I understand it through academic experience only.
Read more ›
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Smith on September 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
Furst has a fluid, evocative style, and right from the start you're submerged into the dark paranoia of a pre-WWII Russian. This isn't airport fiction and it isn't a "mood piece." it's the careful and fascinating unraveling of a mystery surrounding Josef Stalin's past, as well as a tale of a man trying to evade his fate. Some of the sections (the description of the lost soldier's bag and its contents, the escape across the Polish countryside after Sep 1 1939) are the best of their kind. Along with Deighton's "Funeral in Berlin" and Le Carre's "Spy who Came in from the Cold" it is one of the finest spy novels I've read.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Gitlits on June 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
There is not much to add to other reviews,except one thing- the true-to-life characters. I am Russian,so I'm always sceptical about american novels taking place in Russia(double sceptical,when the main character is Russian,too).But this novel surprised me mostly with the authors knowledge and understanding of Russian people and Russian soul.It seems, as if he studied Russia for ages, and it paid out.This one is more than a thriller- it's a story of Europe in one of it's darkest hours and about people facing choices.If you want to REALLY know what Russians are like- read this one.
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