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Kingdom of Shadows

Kingdom of Shadows

Scritto da Alan Furst

Narrato da George Guidall


Kingdom of Shadows

Scritto da Alan Furst

Narrato da George Guidall

valutazioni:
4/5 (15 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
9 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 4, 2011
ISBN:
9781442342507
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

In spymaster Alan Furst's most electrifying thriller to date, Hungarian aristocrat Nicholas Morath-a hugely charismatic hero-becomes embroiled in a daring and perilous effort to halt the Nazi war machine in Eastern Europe.
Pubblicato:
Jan 4, 2011
ISBN:
9781442342507
Formato:
Audiolibro


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4.1
15 valutazioni / 24 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    Another more-than-solid Alan Furst novel. I don't mean that in a dismissive way. I like how the novel doesn't necessarily have an overarching plot holding it all together. Instead, it just follows a Hungarian expat as he gets drawn more and more into the pre-WWII turmoil in Europe. Furst does a nice job of enveloping late '30s Europe in sepia tone...and somehow also manages to dash the romanticism to pieces in the process.
  • (4/5)
    Great story, fantastic background.
  • (4/5)
    My mother was a Hungarian emigre. I was born soon after she gained her American citizenship. The locations of Hungary and its surrounding countries were of special interest to me. In 1938, a Hungarian ad agency man becomes a spy against Hitler's Germany. This was the first book of Alan Furst's that I have read, and I was mightily impressed.
  • (4/5)
    Another solid entry in the Night Soldier's series. This book follows a Hungarian as he helps people flee who are in danger during the rise of fascism in late 1930s Europe. I don't necessarily enjoy the plots in Furst's books as much as I enjoy the immersion into the time period. I especially enjoy that all of the characters I have read in the series up to this point are Eastern European/Russian. It is good to get into the heads of the people on that side of the conflict.
  • (4/5)
    In my experience, a new novel by Furst is always a treat. Like his earlier books, this one is something of a series of vignettes that could stand on their own as superior short stories and which combine to make a fine novel. Through the course of the vignettes, we watch as Nicholas Morath, the protagonist, gets drawn more and more into the world of his uncle, who is a Hungarian nobleman, diplomat and Hitler antagonist. I know of no one who does a better job of evoking a time and a place than Furst does with his WWII stories, and this one is no exception. And like his previous works, this one is full of interesting minor characters brought to life in an excellent narrative from a master of the genre. Imagine a cross between Graham Green and Eric Ambler, with a bit of Orson Welles thrown in for good measure, and you get something of an idea of what's waiting for you here. Where I find a Furst story lacking is in the fact that his protagonists always seem to be carried forward by external forces, rather than internal ones. And while this is surely due at least in part to the WWII setting and the relative powerlessness of any individual to do much to fight the inevitable, it does tend to give a sense that the novelist is somewhat adrift along with his protagonist. And while this "falling into" approach to story development might work well for some, I find it a bit on the passive side.
  • (4/5)
    Another of Alan Furst's atmospheric novels about Europe in the months before all hell broke loose. In reading it, my vision of the characters and places is always in black and white, like an old movie unreeling.The Recorded Books version comes with an interview with the author in which he says he was never a history buff and instead views this era through the eyes of individuals forced to step outside their ordinary lives. Each of his books focuses on a different country and has a different hero but all capture the tension of a world holding its breath. One of narrator George Guidall's favorite lines: "Life is like licking honey from a thorn."
  • (5/5)
    I am a great fan of Alan Furst's novels and this one did not disappoint. He does his research and the novel is filled with details of location and time which makes the tension of the spy adventures quite believable. One could almost think he was writing a fictionalized account of one of his relatives real life experiences. The protagonist accomplishes several rather tricky projects during a time when he and his countrymen were trying to oppose the oncoming freight train of the German occupation of Eastern Europe. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of ancient old houses filled with aristocrats who could not quite believe that a horrendous war was about to catch fire.Mr. Furst also does a sensitive and sympathetic job of describing the desperation of the refugees attempting to flee before the Nazi machine. Happily he is able to help several and I was especially cheered when he helped a rather hapless American musician, with family roots in Vienna, escape the clutches of the bad guys.
  • (5/5)
    Furst puts the reader in 1938 Paris and then on the edge of her seat! I can't even describe how much I like his work.
  • (4/5)
    Hungarian playboy in Paris gets drawn into spying against the Nazis.
  • (4/5)
    More Alan Furst, this time covering how Hungary managed to avoid getting sucked into WW2 (at least until the end).
  • (4/5)
    This book is exceptionally well-titled. It's Paris, 1938 and Hungarian 'diplomats' Count Janos Polanyi and his nephew Nicholas Morath operate in an extremely, well, shadowy world. Hoping to keep Hitler's armies from occupying Hungary, Morath carries out missions for his uncle in extraordinarily dangerous places - Austria after the Anschluss for example. Alan Furst once again recreates the feel of pre-World War Two Europe with what seems to be incredible verisimilitude. One feels as if one is really there; the mood, the atmosphere, a certain something. The Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, and other eastern Europeans really seem to believe that Hitler's armies can be stopped or at least slowed by various means, all of which appear ludicrous wishful-thinking in hindsight, but have a surface plausibility at the time in Furst's telling. Count Polanyi seems to sense the truth, although he never expresses it in so many words. The thing about Furst is that the scenes he creates are so real that the reader doesn't really mind being a bit confused about what is going on at times. And to some extent the vagueness, the lack of clarity, the contradictions just reflect the way life was in those ennervating days. Highly recommended for readers with a fondness for stories of espionage, WW II, or just enjoys fine writing. If you haven't tried an Alan Furst novel, you really should.
  • (3/5)
    Good, but far from his best. Several times, the hero, Morath was doing something without letting the reader know why. I know that Furst can be rather oblique sometimes, and that is one of the things I like about his writing, but I like to have a little more direction.
  • (3/5)
    A book needs some background but not so much as here and w more suspense. It was better at the end but it still barely made a 3.0. Not one of Furst's best efforts. I did like the Morath character though.
  • (4/5)
    The hero this time is Nicholas Morath, a Hungarian living in Paris. He works closely with his Uncle Count Polyani in a world of intrigue where the good guys are battling the emerging Nazi party prior to the start of WWII.Good story but the plots are becoming a little too similar. This is my third Furst book and I think I will stay away for a while.
  • (4/5)
    Nicholas Morath was a soldier in the first world war, a cavalry officer who almost lost his legs and bears the scars from it, and as the story opens, he is a Hungarian ex-pat living the relative good life in Paris with an Argentine love interest. He is owner of an advertising business through his uncle Count Polyni, a Hungarian diplomat in Paris, and will eventually receive an inheritance from him. He apparently has enough money to live very well if not extremely well. Their former homelands were partitioned up from the old Austro-Hungarian empire after WWI. His mother and sister still live in Budapest, Hungary. The story opens in 1938 and Hitler and his war machine have already been making the opening moves of WWII and getting worse. Morath aids his Uncle and things get increasingly "scary" for lack of a more descriptive term as Hitler and Nazi aggression escalate.The novel is like a series of short stories, loosely connected. The plus side of this is an array of interesting characters, intrigue and situations and "atmosphere". The downside is meeting somewhat interesting characters and then they are gone, as if they were the guest star of the week in a TV series. The chapter titles themselves clue you into this structure, although I didn't realize that at first. "In the Garden of the Baroness Frei," "Von Schleban's Whore," "Night Train to Budapest," and "Intermarium" are the parts, and there are side stories within those. This story structure ended up working very well and things do get tidied up by the end. The history in here is very good and was really worth the read. I had grown quite fond of Nicholas Morath by the end of the story. This was my first Furst. groan. I'll certainly read more by him in the future. Interesting time in history that I'm not terribly familiar with. Overall, a very good book.
  • (4/5)
    This was my first Alan Furst book. I enjoyed it a good deal; enough to read more. I liked the atmosphere and the fact that it was thrilling without being horribly violent.
  • (3/5)
    I kept going back and forth on this one. I ended up liking it, but it was a bit of a slog at times. It takes place as the outset of WWII, as European countries were trying to figure out where they would align, and what chances they could take in facing the storms of fascism and Nazism. Morath, a very likable Hungarian living in Paris, takes on various "intrigues" at the behest of his uncle -- moving refugees across borders, buying freedom for others. Meanwhile, high society life as it would never again exist, is the context in which he usually moves. I liked Furst's ability to present the stubborn optimism, without denial, of people in the face of inevitable impending war.
  • (4/5)
    A Hungarian exile who fought in WWI is living in Paris. This story takes place in the crucial period just before the start of WWII, when Hitler is expanding into Austria, Checkoslovakia and Poland. He is sent on missions into Easter Europe by his uncle, also in Paris, trying to maneuver things to stop Hitler. There is no one, overarching story. He goes on a series of trips to accomplish the tasks his uncle gives him, often without full knowledge of what will happen next as a result of his efforts. But, the book is an excellent portrayal of the mood and feel of the time.
  • (5/5)
    I love Alan Furst's World War II noir thrillers and this one is very noir indeed.`Nicholas Morath, nephew to my favorite Furst recurring character, Hungarian Count Janos Polanyi, is living the good life as an advertising executive in Paris while helping his uncle out with his clandestine work on the side. It is 1938 and as the story moves along - told in a series of vignettes rather than a straight forward narrative - Nicholas is drawn further and further into the shadowy world of displaced persons, spies, counter spies and ever-shifting loyalties between nations.I can't relate much of the plot without spoiling the book, but I will say that the best line in the book is "I came here for you. I burned down this hotel for you." If you hsen't red this book, you're missing out on something special.
  • (5/5)
    Another atmospheric thriller from Alan Furst, Kingdom of Shadows is set in 1938, the year leading up to World War II. The world is watching as Hitler is engulfing countries with basic bullying techniques. Slowly, Germany eats away at Czechoslovakia as the rest of the world tries to appease Germany in hopes of avoiding direct conflict. But with every agreement, Hitler just seems to want more.The hero of this book, Nicky Morath is a Hungarian patriot who lives in Paris and works in the advertising business, but actually he is working for his diplomatic uncle as a spy. His clandestine work pitches him against his own country’s new fascist regime in this shadow war against the Natzi ‘s.The inclusion of countries like Hungry, Poland and Czechoslovakia in this story was interesting, as so often books about World War II involve only British Commonwealth countries or America. Alan Furst is a master as recreating this time in history. His descriptive writing style sets the mood and you are immediately carried away and filled with a dark and brooding sense of disaster looming. If you have an interest in this time period I would highly recommend any of Alan Furst’s books, and, I think, Kingdom of Shadows is one of his best.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book not least as I live in the area the book concentrates on and have many of the names featured in my own family so maybe its my own family history!!

    It switches between 14C Scotland and the wars between England and Scotland and contempory Scotland where an ancestor of Countess Isobel relives her life through dreams and meditations. Although fictionalised the account of ancient Scotland reads well and is very believable. The modern day Clare can be very annoying at times and comes across as a spoilt little rich girl but its hard not to get involved in her story and will her to suceed.

    I wasn't comfortable with her use of yoga and medication techniques to 'summon' Isobel but this story does show how dangerous they can be.
  • (5/5)
    My favourite of Barbara's books - it's just wonderful, a definite page turner!
  • (5/5)
    Clare seems to have it all, money, land and a handsome husband. However, when Paul and Clare learn that they cannot have children, things seem to go awry. Through focused meditation, Clare begins reliving the past as Isobel, Countess of Buchan. The story alternates between the crumbling life of Paul and Clare and the war torn Scotland of the fourteenth century. As Paul makes one bad investment after another, he begins to pressure Clare to sell her inheritance, the ruined castle on the sea and the surrounding land of Duncairn. As he learns about her "trips into the past" he first involves the church and then plays upon her phobias to drive her further away from sanity.Well written, this was definitely a page turner. I first picked up the book because I was interested in Isobel, the woman who spent four years hanging in a cage for crowning Robert the Bruce King of Scotland. However, now I've found an increasing interest in Scottish history. Her suspenseful writing style keeps the reader engaged and interested and her characters are dynamic and interesting.
  • (4/5)
    Kingdom of Shadows is a parallel tale of Clare Royland in the 1980's and Isobel Buchan in Scotland at the time of Robert The Bruce in the latter 13th and early 14th century. Clare is married to stock broker Paul Royland who gambled with insider trading and lost and needs to sell Clare's Scottish Castle Duncairn to raise desperately needed funds. Unhappy in her marriage, Clare turns to yoga and meditation and she begins to see visions of the past as Isobel Buchan of Scotland relives her past through Clare. The retelling of Isobel's life in Scotland, an unhappy marriage and her ultimate affair with Robert the Bruce and capture by Edward I and imprisonment in one of those infamous cages on the castle wall is interwoven with that of the present day Clare whose husband intrigues to have her proven insane so that he can lay claim to her property. Erskine does point out in her notes at the end of the book that Isobel, her crowning of Robert at Scone and capitivy are historical fact, but the affair with Robert is merely supposition by the author. I did find the story entertaining enough and it kept me reading, but this is definitely not one of Erskine's best -- that would be Child of the Phoenix or Hiding from the Light. While I enjoyed the story set in the 13/14C, I really didn't particularly care for Isobel, she was a little too self centered for me and as for Clare -- likeable enough but bordering on TSTL for putting up with that pompous pig of a husband and not seeing him for what he really was. If you're an Erskine fan and can get your hands on a copy somewhat cheaply go for it, but don't go out of your way either.