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The Foreign Correspondent: A Novel Hardcover – May 30, 2006

136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Furst's reputation as one of today's best writers, in any genre, is further solidified by this gripping historical thriller with echoes of Graham Greene, which opens in Paris in December 1938. Journalist Carlo Weisz, an expatriate Italian who's half Slav, is fighting the Mussolini regime by writing for the Paris-based underground opposition newspaper, the Liberazione. When agents of the OVRA, the Italian secret police, murder the Liberazione's editor in the arms of his mistress, Weisz assumes greater responsibility for keeping the paper running. OVRA also targets Weisz and his surviving colleagues, forcing him to scramble to stay alive while continuing his subversive work. Furst (Night Soldiers) excels at characterization, making even secondary figures such as shadowy presences from British intelligence and Nazi minders more than cartoon stereotypes. Through the exploits of his understated hero, Furst presents a potent portrait of Europe on the eve of WWII. (June)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics seem remorseful about handing Alan Furst less-than-glowing reviews. Widely acknowledged as a modern master of the spy thriller (he's often named alongside John le Carré and Graham Greene) and a masterful prose stylist, Furst leapt onto the scene with Night Soldiers and has since delivered acclaimed best sellers like Blood of Victory and Dark Star. Some reviewers happily embrace Furst's well-researched, atmospheric espionage, but a small minority grouses that, for all the lovely Parisian scenery and international intrigue, the story of an embattled journalist just isn't compelling. It's anything but a run-of-the-mill spy story, but without the palpable adventure of his earlier books, it's just ordinary for Furst.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400060192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400060191
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Marco Antonio Abarca VINE VOICE on June 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It is December 1938 and a small group of Italian exiles meet in the back room of the Cafe Europa in Paris. The editor of their underground newspaper Liberazione has just been assasinated by the Italian secret police and they need to find a new editor. They choose Carlo Weisz, a foreign correspondent for the Rueters News Agency. The novel that follows is Carlo Weisz battle to keep the anti-fascist Liberazione alive and publishing. To do this, he must enter the shadowy world of French, British and Italian spies.

There are very few authors who can legitimately say they dominate a genre of literature. In the same way that John Le Carre owns the Cold War spy novel or Louis L'Amour the Western, Alan Furst is the great stylist of the 1930's spy novel. Furst is not interested in the high end spy but rather the every day working spy. In classic Furst style, "The Foreign Correspondent" takes the reader to battlefields of Spain, French internment camps, Genoese dockyards and to Paris' working class neighborhoods. Because Furst writes only about this period, he is able to fill his novels with the gritty details that make his stories believable.

So how does "The Foreign Correspondent" fall within the body of Furst's work. It is somewhere in the middle. It is not his best nor his worst novel. I like the world Alan Furst creates and even one of his average novels gives me great pleasure. For those who like Furst's novels, check out the works of Eric Ambler, the first master of this genre.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on June 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A friend of mine in London recently asked for a suggestion about a good book to read on the night train from Munich to Prague. I immediately recommended Alan Furst's King of Shadows, which opens on the night train from Budapest to Paris. An Alan Furst novel is often the answer to a request for a `good read'. His latest, "Foreign Correspondent", is no exception

Furst comes from a line of writers that can be traced back to both Graham Greene and Eric Ambler. Like Ambler, Furst often takes an unassuming, or unwitting civilian and immerses him in a world of mystery and intrigue in pre and post-World War II Europe. Foreign Correspondent opens in Civil War Spain but quickly moves to pre-war Paris. Italian journalist Carlo Weisz, a refugee from Mussolini's fascist Italy living in Paris, is part of a group of Italian expatriates who print a dissident newspaper, Liberazione, and smuggle it into Italy. The Italian secret police, the OVRA, has infiltrated the group. One of its members has been murdered and each member of the group is feeling the effects of the OVRA turning the screws on their operations. At the same time Weisz' day job as a foreign correspondent for Reuters takes him back and forth to the Berlin of Hitler, Himmler, and Goring. It is in Berlin that Weisz reunites with and reignites his affair with Christa von Schirren. Along the way Weisz comes to the attention of and is recruited by British Intelligence. The plot outline is simple: will Weisz and his cell continue to publish Liberazione and will Weisz be able to get Christa out of Berlin before the war that everyone knows is coming closes all borders.

Furst's strong point has always been how he sets the scene. His atmospherics are tremendous.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Prairie Pal on July 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a novel into which he has put much effort. I have read every book in Furst's admirable series about men and women caught up in the resistance movements of World War II and I have enjoyed every one until "The Foreign Correspondent". Books like "The Polish Officer" and "Kingdom of Shadows" are worthy of the highest praise but in this latest effort the plot is a recycled one; the action is thin; the use of recurrent characters has now reached joke proportions. Please, Mr Furst, either get back your interest in this series or move on to something that engages your considerable talents.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Prauge Traveler on June 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In "The Foreign Correspondent", Alan Furst has moved away from his traditional novels populated with characters from lesser known Eastern European nations. The main characters are Italian émigrés in France, which does carry on the line of lost and exiled heroes that often appear in his novels. I think he has been moving in new directions since his last novel, "Dark Voyage", set primarily on board a freighter, and these latest works are as successful as the previous despite their differences. Carlo Weisz is also a more traditional hero than some of Furst's other sordid characters: he is a reporter for Reuters with a love interest working against the Nazis in Berlin. The setting is still in the late interwar years, a commonality with the previous novels, and Weisz makes a difficult and dangerous transition from mild opposition against the Fascists in Italy to outright subversion of his home government through the course of the novel; their particular weapon being a anti-fascist underground newspaper. The crisis is ignited by a political assassination in Paris and has far reaching consequences for Weisz and his companions. Throughout the novel Weisz and his émigré friends are hounded by OVRA operatives, courted by both the British SIS and the French Interior Ministry, and must find ways to survive in a world that is often annoyed with their presence. Furst also continues to include some familiar characters from his pervious adventures at the famous Brasserie Heininger in a very well written chapter (it is never a forced encounter, surprisingly). What will keep you up late reading is the main dilemma of the novel: will both Weisz and his lover Christa von Schirren survive, and will they be together?Read more ›
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