From the master of the historical spy thriller, a story set in the heart of the Polish resistance September, 1939. The invading Germans blaze a trail of destruction across Poland. France and Britain declare war, but do nothing to help. And a Polish resistance movement takes shape under the shadow of occupation, enlisting those willing to risk ...
From the master of the historical spy thriller, a story set in the heart of the Polish resistance September, 1939. The invading Germans blaze a trail of destruction across Poland. France and Britain declare war, but do nothing to help. And a Polish resistance movement takes shape under the shadow of occupation, enlisting those willing to risk death in the struggle for their nation's survival. Among them is Captain Alexander de Milja, an officer in the Polish military intelligence service, a cartographer who now must learn a dangerous new role: spymaster in the anti-Nazi underground. Beginning with a daring operation to smuggle the Polish National Gold Reserve to the government in exile, he slips into the shadowy and treacherous front lines of espionage; he moves through Europe, changing identities and staying one step ahead of capture. In Warsaw, he engineers a subversive campaign to strengthen the people's will to resist. In Paris, he poses as a Russian poet, then as a Slovakian coal merchant, drinking champagne in black-market bistros with Nazis while uncovering information about German battle plans. And a love affair with a woman of the French Resistance leads him to make the greatest decision of his life.
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Alan Furst writes about a part of WW2 that no author I have read touches upon. He explores the underground, the spying and the effect of the war on the lives of normal people just trying to be patriotic (in some cases) or just trying to exist and keep their things in tact (the French).
His writing is raw, but richly sentimental; factual, yet filled with characters created by the circumstances. I hope he keeps cranking these things out. I have now read seven of his WW2 books and keep looking for more.
Publishers Weekly, 1994-12-19 With clear, reticent prose and his trademark mastery of historical detail, Furst (Shadow Trade; Night Soldiers) brings vividly to life this WWII-era tale of espionage and bravery, chronicling the work of the Polish underground in Poland, France and the Ukraine. As Warsaw is falling in 1939, Polish Captain Alexander de Milja embarks on a harrowing journey to smuggle the national gold reserves out of the country by rail-the first of many death-defying missions he will undertake for the nascent ZWZ, the Union for Armed Struggle. Under a series of false identities, mingling with the bon vivants of occupied Paris, he later becomes a prized intelligence resource in France, surviving by cunning and passing valuable strategic information to the British. In the novel's final section, de Milja is in even more danger, working as a saboteur based in a Ukrainian forest as the Germans march east. Throughout these dramatic events, Furst's understated narrative is insightful and convincing. The unassuming de Milja-who considers himself merely ``unafraid to die, and lucky so far''-proves an engaging protagonist. His exploits and the courageous sacrifices of the ordinary patriots who help him are both thrilling and at times inspiring. (Feb.)
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