- Paperback: 246 pages
- Publisher: Random House; Reprint edition (May 13, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812968727
- ISBN-13: 978-0812968729
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 108 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blood of Victory: A Novel Paperback – May 13, 2003
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I.A. Serebin, an émigré writer who heads the International Russian Union and edits its literary magazine, is no stranger to war: "Two gangsters, one neighborhood, they fight," he comments at a dinner party on a yacht in the Istanbul harbor in the autumn of 1940. Istanbul, to which Serebin has come to say good-bye to a dying friend, is a haven for spies, arms dealers, diplomats, and intrigue. Like most of the author's protagonists, Serebin is a romantic, a reluctant hero who tries to believe that war will not really change anything: "Hold fast to life as it should be, the daily ritual, work, love, and then it will be" is his credo. After Paris falls to the Germans, he realizes that is impossible. When a French diplomat's wife, whom he met and bedded on the freighter that brought him to Turkey, puts him in touch with a Hungarian spy working with the British Secret Service, Serebin allows himself to be recruited for a mission to disrupt the flow of oil from Romania's Ploesti fields to German factories--something that has been tried by the British before, without success. Alan Furst, a master stylist whose novels are peopled with characters who remain in the reader's mind long after the last page is turned, evokes Istanbul's smoky, spicy, shadowy atmosphere with the same authenticity he brings to the settings of all his thrillers, most notably Paris. No one is better at describing both place and players in the period just before and during World War II; widely hailed as the successor to Eric Ambler and Graham Greene, Furst proves in his gripping, compulsively readable seventh novel what a contender he is for that title. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Critics who thought Furst's previous novel Kingdom of Shadows lacked a clearly linear plot will find much to praise him for in his toothsome new historical espionage thriller. The novel (named for the Romanian oil vital to the German war machine) describes a daring operation to disrupt the flow of that oil from the Ploesti fields in Romania to Germany by sinking a group of barges at a shallow point in the Danube in early 1941. The motley group attempting this maneuver barely holds together: its members include a sultry French aristocrat, hounded Russian Jews, even Serbian thugs. And while the tale features the same period details as its predecessor, and stretches from Istanbul to Bucharest with detours in Paris and London, it reaffirms the signature Slavic focus of the author's earlier books like Dark Star. This is literally personified in the novel's protagonist, the dogged Russian migr I.A. Serebin, who has to dodge every kind of secret police from the Gestapo to Stalin's NKVD (" `Why, Serge?' `Why not?' That was, Serebin thought, glib and ingenuous, but until a better two-word history of the USSR came along, it would do"). Diehard Furst fans will appreciate the recurrence of several secondary characters from Kingdom of Shadows (especially a certain heavyset Hungarian spymaster). But even newcomers will be ensnared by Furst's delicious recreations of a world sliding headlong into oblivion (wonderfully illustrated by Serebin having to drive a car off a cliff to escape with his life at the climax). Maps.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
This book showcases both what is good about Furst's writing and what is not so good. He has a wonderful economical writing style - he can pack more into a short paragraph than almost any other author I know. He creates a world full of richly realised characters and brings the settings to life with telling details. His stories are fictional but they feel real.
However as with so many of his books, the storyline takes a back seat to the characters and settings. There are long periods in this book where you kind of wonder where its going or what is the point of the little story we've got waylaid in. Sometimes, masterfully, he will weave it back in 100 pages down the track, but at other times it's just about creating layers of atmosphere, building up a scene in depth. Generally I like this aspect of his writing but this time round it felt like he'd let it go a little too far. The pace is sluggish and the plot seems murky right up until the final 40 pages, which are densely packed with heart in your mouth action.
Very pertinent to today's world and quite addictive, not to mention inspirational and historically accurate. The total package for this genre!
In most of Furst's books the plot is highly complicated and the reader has little sense of where it's heading or what comes next. Not so here. I grew bored about two thirds of the way through and had to force myself to finish.
Furst writes well and his descriptions of a time and places are terrific so the book is not a complete waste of time. Good for someone who wants to dip his or her toe into Furst's writing.
In Blood of Victory, the coming and going to ships, the plans of spies are full of danger and Furst's telling treats the reader to the 'real cities, it's alley ways, the naughty clubs, the food, the smells. "When France fell, that day, that day, I was more Parisian than I'd ever been. We all were. Exiles or born in the 5th Adrrondissemont it didn't matter. Everyone said 'merde' it was bad luck, bad weaterh. We would just have to learn to live with it. . . ."