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Midnight in Europe: A Novel Hardcover – June 3, 2014

3.6 out of 5 stars 854 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In 1937, the lights were going out in Europe, but jackbooted blackness had not quite swept the Continent. 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. We’ve met Furst’s unwilling heroes before, typically in Paris, as they bask in the City of Light while turning away from the chaos in their homeland, whether Poland, Italy, or Germany. This time it’s Spain, where a doomed war is already raging. Spanish émigré Christián Ferrar is a successful lawyer at an international firm, juggling his time between Paris and New York and happy to be far from the troubles in Spain. Yet, when he is approached to aid those supplying the Republican troops with arms, he is surprised to find himself complying. And so begins another tale of clandestine operations in which civilians step up, not out of idealism but out of the realization that history affords them no other choice. 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. --Bill Ott


Praise for Midnight in Europe
“Elegant, gripping . . . [Furst] remains at the top of his game.”—The New York Times
“Suspenseful and sophisticated . . . No espionage author, it seems, is better at summoning the shifting moods and emotional atmosphere of Europe before the start of World War II than Alan Furst.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Endlessly compelling . . . Furst delivers an observant, sexy, and thrilling tale set in the outskirts of World War II. In Furst’s hands, Paris once again comes alive with intrigue.”—Erik Larson
“Too much fun to put down . . . [Furst is] a master of the atmospheric thriller.”—The Boston Globe

Praise for Alan Furst
“Furst never stops astounding me.”—Tom Hanks

“Furst is the best in the business—the most talented espionage novelist of our generation.”—Vince Flynn
“Page after page is dazzling.”—James Patterson
“Furst writes profoundly realistic books. The brilliant historical flourishes seem to create—or re-create—a world . . . a heartbreaking sense of the vast Homeric epic that was World War II and the smallness of almost every life that was caught up in it.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Though set in a specific place and time, Furst’s books are like Chopin’s nocturnes: timeless, transcendent, universal. One does not so much read them as fall under their spell.”—Los Angeles Times
“Alan Furst’s novels swing a beam into the shadows at the edges of the great events leading to World War II. Readers come knowing he’ll deliver effortless narrative.”—USA Today
“Mesmerizing . . . Mr. Furst is a master at conjuring European scenes and moods during World War II and the fraught years that preceded it.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Alan Furst again shows why he is a grandmaster of the historical espionage genre. . . . It doesn’t get more action-packed and grippingly atmospheric than this.”—The Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069491
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (854 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas F. Dillingham VINE VOICE on May 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having been a devoted reader of Alan Furst's often dark and exciting novels about the years leading up to and into WWII, with spies and passionate efforts to find ways to prevent the Fascist/Nazi takeover of Europe or to oppose the effort during the war, I approached this new novel with eager anticipation. While I was not deeply disappointed, I have to admit that this one seems to offer evidence of authorial fatigue, of a somewhat casual, if not careless, approach to building the fictional world--full of familiar character types and credible events (possibilities if not historical certainties)--that I have so much enjoyed living in through the earlier novels. There is plenty of suspense; there are appealing characters, including the central figure, the brilliant lawyer and reluctant hero, Cristian Ferrar; there are the same gloomy feelings associated with the frustration of people of good will attempting to resist the efforts of moral monsters while trying to avoid becoming monsters themselves by behaving with the same disregard not only for moral and legal limits but even of basic human decency. There is talk of the necessity of sacrificing some individuals for the sake of the cause, but always that talk is tempered with recognition that the sacrifice is not justified by the ends, even if practical considerations force recognition of its inevitability.

In 1937/1938, in Paris, observers of all stripes watch the apparently inevitable destruction of the Spanish Republican cause by the vicious combination of General Franco's Spanish Nationalists with supporters--the Third Reich, most obviously and the tacit or overt "support" (through inaction or behind-the-scenes collaboration) of the British and French governments.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
By now, readers of Alan Furst know what to expect of his work and he follows the familiar script in this latest novel without much variation. That does not mean that this book was not enjoyable. After all, why mess with success? However, the danger remains that an author at some point becomes formulaic and avoids taking risks - and sooner or later this may happen to Furst.

So we once again find ourselves in the years leading up to World War Two in Paris. Our hero follows the usual Furst rules of what makes an interesting protagonist - he's a Spanish lawyer living in exile in Paris, pushing 40, single but willing to embrace sensual adventure when it comes his way, cautious but fundamentally decent, appalled by fascism and eventually pushed from his role of bystander into that of active participant.

Our hero gets involved in gunrunning to the Republicans fighting a doomed battle against Franco's fascists in his native land. This involves dangerous trips to Poland and Nazi Berlin to buy Czech anti-tank guns and smuggle them past a blockade and an audacious plot to steal ammunition from the Soviet Union. But there is never the sense that this will change history, which at this point is moving inexorably toward the great conflagration.

Furst is brilliant in describing what Berlin was like in late 1937; his reconstruction of the sights and sounds of a city dominated by Hitler and his henchmen is utterly compelling and authentic.

He is also great in describing how knowing, experienced adults conducted sophisticated sexual dalliances in those days. His characters seek fleeting pleasure where and when they can find it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Alan Furst gives us another Casablanca-style yarn set in prewar Europe. This one concerns the Spanish Civil War, which he hasn't dealt with much since his first couple of books. Only a bit takes place in Spain; it's mostly about Spanish émigré Cristian Ferrar, a Paris lawyer who gets involved helping the beleaguered Republican forces procure arms through their Paris embassy.

It's not easy, as hardly anyone will sell them any, requiring all sorts of chicanery, and meanwhile the Republic is low on cash. Ferrar and arms dealer Max de Lyon must make a couple of dangerous journeys east.

The book continues Furst's familiar formula - heavy on ambience, light on plot. I'd say it's lighter than usual, a series of episodes without much crescendo. But the episodes themselves are plotted delightfully; this is where Furst can put his stylish characterization and scene-setting to work.

Furst is really a novelist of manners. He gets tremendous mileage out of every pause, every arched eyebrow, every word left unspoken, every cigarette lit. How does an aristocratic woman hold her hand out when she wants it to be kissed? His intensive research lends his scenes great authenticity. But while he can research what was on a menu in 1938, or why a Polish gangster would really rather have a Buick, much must come from a very fine imagination. You can't research how a dockworkers' fight would have gone down, what it was like to be a Republican soldier down to his last bullets in the freezing cold of Teruel, or what an NKVD triggerman might whisper in the ear of a one of the dozen or so people he'll execute that day.
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