Andre Szara, survivor of the Polish pogroms and the Russian civil wars, is a journalist working for Pravda in 1937. War in Europe is already underway and Szara is co-opted to join the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence agency. He does his best to survive the tango of pre-war politics by calmly obeying orders and keeping his nose clean. But when ...
Andre Szara, survivor of the Polish pogroms and the Russian civil wars, is a journalist working for Pravda in 1937. War in Europe is already underway and Szara is co-opted to join the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence agency. He does his best to survive the tango of pre-war politics by calmly obeying orders and keeping his nose clean. But when he is sent to retrieve a battered briefcase the plot thickens and is drawn into even more complex intrigues. Szara becomes a full-time spymaster and as deputy director of a Paris network, he finds his own star rising when he recruits an agent in Berlin who can supply crucial information. Dark Star captures not only the intrigue and danger of clandestine life but the day-to-day reality of what Soviet operatives call special work.
I dont know which of Alan Furst's novels set in pre WWII Europe I liked most. One is better than the next. Whether set in Paris or Berlin or Budapest, the period background is perfect, the characters believable and the hero flawed but winning. I hope there will be more.
Publishers Weekly, 1991-02-15 Furst ( Night Soldiers ) will make his mark with this intelligent, provocative and gripping novel. In 1933, Andre Szara, a highly regarded Polish-born foreign correspondent for Pravda , is asked to perform small espionage tasks by the NKVD. These assignments escalate, until Szara finds himself responsible for obtaining vital production figures from a German-Jewish industrialist who fabricates steel wire essential to airplanes. Inevitably, Szara's integrity as a journalist is also compromised. During this period of Stalinist purges, clearly and chillingly described by Furst, only unpredictability is certain. Szara senses the precariousness of his position, which is compounded by an urgent appeal from a wealthy Jewish Frenchman for Szara to honor his own Jewish heritage by trading his steel wire information to the British in exchange for desperately needed immigration certificates to mandated Palestine. Furst depicts the historical, geographic and political context in lucid and highly readable prose; his observation that Russia annexed Lithuania and Estonia while the world's attention was focused on France's struggle with Germany has an eerie timeliness. As darkness descends over Europe, Szara clings to life while simultaneously attempting to make some meaning of it. His story is not a pretty one; but it is beautifully and compellingly told. (Mar.)
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