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The Spies of Warsaw: A Novel Paperback – June 9, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Furst, master of the historical spy novel, offers this meticulously detailed and sprawling epic set at the onset of WWII. Drenched in romance and espionage and given to thrilling plot twists, the novel is beautifully realized by Daniel Gerroll, whose mastery of variously accented English dialects lends added authenticity to Furst's tale. Providing gritty and realistic German, French, and even Russian accents, Englishman Gerroll displays a natural stage presence and true performance ability. There is a subtle theatrical aspect at play here as well, creating a mysterious and enchanting atmosphere for the audience. A Random hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 14). (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
With The Spies of Warsaw, Furst continues to assert himself as the contemporary master of historical espionage. Although he has condensed his vision in recent efforts, Furst’s latest combines a relentless verisimilitude with intricate plotting and well-drawn characters. That attention to character, however, was a double-edged sword for critics: too much character development, and the plot suffers; too many plot twists, and the characters become cardboard cutouts. By creating atmospheric, complex, and often open-ended novels that reflect the ambivalence of the period and the humanity of characters who are too often lost to history, Furst gets high marks for remaining true to his original intention when he began writing historical espionage two decades ago.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
For the curious, the recent David Tennant movie called Spies of Warsaw covered the incidents in this novel plus a borrowing from the first part of The Polish Officer. The movie has real location scenery (it's not all CGI), so you might want to rent it sometime to have some visual referents. Not that it isn't a good movie on its own; it is. I mention it here because it was the thing that led me to Furst's books, and I am so glad it did.
Alan Furst has made his career in espionage novels. His haunts are the more obscure European countries and his heroes are the average, working spies. "The Spies of Warsaw" fits his pattern. There are no master spies or high level conspiracies. Just an ordinary military attache at work in the charged atmosphere of pre-war Poland.
This is Alan Furst's tenth espionage novel and "Spies of Warsaw" is one his better books. He is a very strong writer who spends a lot of time on historical research. Furst fills this novel with all the rich details that allows him to recreate Warsaw in the late 1930's.
The greatest writer of these types of espionage tales is the remarkable English writer, Eric Ambler. He wrote great espionage novels in the late 1930's during the rise of facism in Europe. Through his many fine novels, Alan Furst has become the inheritor of Eric Ambler's legacy. "The Spies of Warsaw" is another great addition to Furst's body of work. Highly recommended.
This book, for me, unfolds much too slowly. I appreciate the author’s description of tradecraft and his skill at character development. Throughout, I never got the feeling of building momentum to a climax at the finish.
The Spies of Warsaw is a good story, but, it failed to capture my interest in the way I anticipated.
Colonel Mercier was in the Great War, but unlike his relatives and ancestors, he would like to live through the next one. Thus, he's careful about his operations and when they go wrong, does his best to correct the situation. He's not immune from a past heartbreak and finds himself drawn to a woman who plays the game as well as he does. Through all this, the Germans are up to no good, the French General Staff denying reality, and people on the ground like Mercier are making the best of it.
My hope is that Furst fleshes out his future books a little more than this one, which could have benefitted from some of the scene-setting that can be found in Night Soldiers.