By 1939, thousands of Italian intellectuals, teachers and lawyers, journalists and scientists, had fled Mussolini's fascist government and found refuge in Paris. There, amidst the poverty and difficulty of emigre life, they joined the Italian resistance, founding an underground press that smuggled news and encouragement back to their lost homeland. In Paris, in the winter of 1939, a murder/suicide at a lovers' hotel hits the tabloid press. But this is not a romantic tragedy, it is the work of OVRA, Mussolini's fascist ...
By 1939, thousands of Italian intellectuals, teachers and lawyers, journalists and scientists, had fled Mussolini's fascist government and found refuge in Paris. There, amidst the poverty and difficulty of emigre life, they joined the Italian resistance, founding an underground press that smuggled news and encouragement back to their lost homeland. In Paris, in the winter of 1939, a murder/suicide at a lovers' hotel hits the tabloid press. But this is not a romantic tragedy, it is the work of OVRA, Mussolini's fascist secret police, and meant to eliminate the editor of Liberazione, a clandestine newspaper published by Italian emigres. Carlo Weisz, who has fled from Trieste and found work as a foreign correspondent for the Reuters bureau, becomes the new editor. Weisz is, at that moment, in Spain, reporting on the tragic end of the Spanish civil war, but, as soon as he returns to Paris, he is pursued by the French Surete, by agents of OVRA, and by officers of the British Secret Intelligence Service. In the desperate politics of Europe on the edge of war, a foreign correspondent is a pawn, worth surveillance, or blackmail, or murder. The Foreign Correspondent is the story of Carlo Weisz and a handful of anti-fascists -- the army officer known as Colonel Ferrara, who fights for a lost cause in Spain, Arturo Salamone, the shrewd leader of a resistance group in Paris, and the woman who becomes the love of his Weisz's life, herself involved in a doomed resistance underground in Berlin, at the heart of Hitler's Nazi empire. An epic story of romantic love: love of country and love of freedom. The story of a secret war, fought in elegant hotel bars and first-class railway cars, fought in the mountains of Spain and the hill towns of Italy -- inspiring, and thrilling.
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Alan Furst, who writes about the despair and danger of living in Europe before and during WWII as well as anyone in the business, took a romantic, almost Hollywoodish turn with his last few books set in Paris. But his newest is anything but romantic ? although his hero, Reuters reporter and Italian anti-fascist Carlo Weisz (he was born in Trieste, child of a Slavic father and an Italian mother) does manage to find time for a healthy ration of sexual encounters. Weisz leads a double life ? both halves dangerous. He writes for an anti-fascist newspaper called Liberazione, one of hundreds secretly printed and smuggled into Italy to support Mussolini's enemies. When agents of Italy's secret police murder the man in charge, Weisz becomes the journal's editor. As a Reuters reporter based in Paris, Weisz also gets the chance to travel to Spain for the end of the Civil War in 1938, to Prague for the invasion of the Sudetenland, and to Berlin twice ? the last time in 1939 to report on the Pact of Steel just signed between Germany and Italy, finally dashing all hopes that the Italians would stay out of a larger battle. Outside the Reich Chancellery, "thousands of Hitler Youth filled the streets, waving flags and singing? Weisz could feel the fearful energy of the crowd, intense eyes, rapturous faces. Now, he thought, there will surely be war. The people in the street would demand it, would kill relentlessly, and, in time, would have to be killed. These children would not surrender."
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