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Midnight in Europe

Midnight in Europe

Scritto da Alan Furst

Narrato da Daniel Gerroll


Midnight in Europe

Scritto da Alan Furst

Narrato da Daniel Gerroll

valutazioni:
3.5/5 (12 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
8 ore
Pubblicato:
Jun 3, 2014
ISBN:
9781442368170
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

The latest novel from New York Times bestselling author and the "modern-day master of the genre" (Newsday), Alan Furst.

From the New York Times bestselling author and the acclaimed "grandmaster" of espionage (Boston Globe) comes the taut, suspenseful story, set in Paris and Spain, of a man caught in the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War, and an operation that-with the help of FDR's secret operatives-will determine Europe's fate in the coming world war.

New York City, autumn 1938. Gregorio D'Alba, a minor noble descended from the Spanish Bourbons, is awaiting passage on a freighter to Paris after a failed attempt to convince American oil companies to support the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. In Paris, surrounded by shifting political allegiances and prying spy services, D'Alba does whatever he can to support the Spanish Republic--smuggling, gathering intelligence, running arms. But the stakes quickly escalate when D'Alba, along with the British and the Americans, undertakes a mission to infiltrate the highest levels of the Spanish government, and to determine the alliances of his country and forever alter the course of the coming world war.

With his signature gripping, heart-pounding story, Alan Furst's new novel confirms his status as "the most talented espionage novelist of our generation" (Vince Flynn).
Pubblicato:
Jun 3, 2014
ISBN:
9781442368170
Formato:
Audiolibro


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  • (2/5)
    Goodreads Synopsis: Paris, 1938. As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called “the most talented espionage novelist of our generation,” now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa, on the eve of World War II.Cristián Ferrar, a brilliant and handsome Spanish émigré, is a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. Ferrar is approached by the embassy of the Spanish Republic and asked to help a clandestine agency trying desperately to supply weapons to the Republic’s beleaguered army—an effort that puts his life at risk in the battle against fascism.Joining Ferrar in this mission is a group of unlikely men and women: idealists and gangsters, arms traders and aristocrats and spies. From shady Paris nightclubs to white-shoe New York law firms, from brothels in Istanbul to the dockyards of Poland, Ferrar and his allies battle the secret agents of Hitler and Franco. And what allies they are: there’s Max de Lyon, a former arms merchant now hunted by the Gestapo; the Marquesa Maria Cristina, a beautiful aristocrat with a taste for danger; and the Macedonian Stavros, who grew up “fighting Bulgarian bandits. After that, being a gangster was easy.” Then there is Eileen Moore, the American woman Ferrar could never forget.In Midnight in Europe, Alan Furst paints a spellbinding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare—and the heroes and heroines who fought back against the darkness.My Review: I really didn't love this book. The best I can say is that it was okay, but that's it. I couldn't get into it. I didn't like the characters, didn't know them. The story was just like every other historical fiction book... Did I mention I don't like Historical Fiction? I just can't stand them. And I keep thinking maybe I'll like the next one. But I don't. It just doesn't happen. I really just couldn't get into the book. I'm sure it was interesting and exciting, it just didn't do it for me. I just didn't like it. That's all I can say about it. I didn't retain anything from this book, I can barely remember names. That's my opinion, though. And that's all I'm going to say. Thanks netgalley for letting me read this book.(Radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com)
  • (4/5)
    This historical spy novel is set mostly in Paris from late-1937 through much of 1938. The protagonist, Cristian Ferrar, a Spanish emigre living in Paris, is a lawyer for an international firm and travels often for his job, spending time at the main office in New York, where he has a lover, and in Paris. But he also is a supporter of the Republican forces in Spain fighting Franco's fascist army. Unlike most of Furst's novels that I've read, which focus on spying against Germany, in this book, Nazi Germany's actions form a backdrop for the conflict in Spain when Ferrar is enlisted by the Republic's diplomats in Paris to help supply arms to the Republic's army. Since most countries won't ship arms directly to Spain, Ferrar and Max de Lyon, a diplomat/arms dealer, engage in dangerous clandestine operations.The usual Furst thrills are on display, with Cristian becoming involved with a woman who likely is more than she seems, close calls in enemy territory, and even appearances of characters from other of Furst's novels, especially Count Polanyi. As always, I felt like I was part of the time and place, thanks to Furst's impeccable research and attention to detail. His books might not be compulsive pageturners, but they are engrossing, filled with wonderful, fully realized characters. Now, on to the next one!
  • (4/5)
    Good, not his best. Set in Paris and New York immediately before WWII with Spanish Civil War as backdrop and rise of Fascism. Great atomosphere versus plot or characters. Leaves you wanting more, maybe that's the point.
  • (1/5)
    what? what happened to Furst? did he forget how to write?
  • (4/5)
    Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst is a novel set primarily in Paris in 1938 prior to the start of WWII. The story is about a Spanish emigre whose family had moved to Paris. He is a lawyer working for a law firm with offices in Paris. He is asked to get involved with the Spanish office for procuring arms for the Nationalist side in the Spanish civil war by the Spanish embassy. The story revolves around the procurement of arms from around Europe, both legal and illegal. It is also about the battle against fascism in the lead up to WWII.This is thinking man's spy novel along the lines of the George Smiley novels by le Carre. The characters involved in the story line are well thought out and described. There are several plots going on throughout the novel that eventually get tied together.A good novel for those who like a thinking man's spy novel set in the WWII era.
  • (4/5)
    "Midnight in Europe" provides the reader with a good glimpse of Paris and elsewhere in Europe, a view of what was happening prior to WWII. The Spanish Civil War is being fought. Franco's army is fighting against the Spanish republic and winning the war.Christian Ferrar is a Spanish emerge living in Paris. He's an attorney working for an international law firm. He's loyal to the Spanish republic and recruited as an arms purchaser. He works with Max de Lyon who is an arms merchant and money man.The reader gets a glimpse of historical facts through Ferrar's eyes. We learn of the Condor Legion, a group of German fighters who were sent by Hitler to help Franco. On the other side of the war was the International Brigade made up of people from outside of Spain.There are scenes of danger as an arms purchaser puts their life on the line to travel to other countries that agree to sell arms to Spain like Russia and Czechoslovakia.Ferrar meets an aristocratic woman who asks for his help. She appears at various places where Ferrar is. Soon, they begin a romance.It is interesting to see what went on behind the scenes as the men attempt to purchase arms. It is also interesting that Great Britain or France wouldn't help Spain. Maybe, if they did, their armies could have learned more and slowed Hitler down.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating exploration of what it might take to get heavy armaments to the Spaniards fighting against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War just before the next world war breaks into being. Furst uses a Spanish lawyer living in Paris as his protagonist and he balances his regular, and fascinating, legal work with helping smuggle arms to the Spanish Civil War. The atmosphere is again spot on following ordinary people as they navigate the dangerous boundaries between countries and encounter criminals, frightened refugees, and overbearing petty officials full of self importance. And Furst adds some believable and heart breaking romances which lighten the oppressive times experienced by his main characters. I love his writing and if I don't read his books one right after the other I am happy to revisit his atmospheric books. I believe they might become oppressive if read to close together.
  • (4/5)
    seemed to rush thisone
  • (5/5)
    I am a fan of Furst's novels and was not disappointed in this one. As with his other books, it is set in 1937 Europe, on the brink of WW II. This novel focuses on the Spanish Civil War. The protagonist, Christian Ferrar, is a displaced Spaniard living in Paris and New York. He is a lawyer with an international firm and becomes involved in providing arms to the Republican side. The arms trading throws him in with spies, Russian gangs, and other unsavory characters. As with his other novels, Furst is able to create great suspense as the hero travels to hostile cities and is in great physical danger. What is different in this story is that Ferrar enjoys much greater protection than the heroes of previous novels because of his status as an international lawyer. Furst is a master at recreating the mood of Europe at this time and how the political and military uncertainties affect the people living there. I highly recommend this one.
  • (3/5)
    Cristian Ferrer is a lawyer living in Paris in 1938. Born in Spain, he is asked to help the Spanish government obtain arms in its fight against Franco's Nationalist forces. The intrigue in the book centers around this endeavor.Ferrer is also a bit of a ladies' man, so there's that aspect. While the book has some interesting characters and scenes, it feels somewhat under-edited. There are distractions that pan out to nothing at times. But overall, an entertaining bit of historical espionage fiction. I'll look for Furst's other books.
  • (4/5)
    No one knows this period bette than Alan Furst It was the frightening time just before the Second World War. Each of Furst's novels gives a different seasoning to this era. Here we have the Spanish Civil War and the depiction of the wide spread spy networks especially those of the Nazis. The hero, Cristian Ferrar seems a little too much the "jack of all trades" rather than simply a Spanish patriot practicing law in Paris.
  • (4/5)
    Alan Furst writes fast paced, intricately woven, espionage books usually taking place in Europe during and pre WWII. I find his books a delight to read. In addition to the "thriller" aspects of his stories, there are always loads of information about the location and the era. It is easy to become an "Alan Furst" follower and pick up each book as it's released. This author never disappoints.
  • (4/5)
    This is the second of Alan Furst's WWII spy novels that I've read, Spies of Warsaw being the first. While SOW featured "professional" spies, this one gives us "normal" everyday people as our spy protagonists, who get pulled in because they want to help against Hitler and fascism, or, on the other side of it, may be forced to be involved because of threats against loved ones. Cristian Ferrar is a Spain-born lawyer working at the Coudert Brothers firm in Paris, stirred by patriotism and anti-fascism to help Spanish Republicans get the arms they need to fight. At the same time he is an amorist who needs to be careful whom he falls for. He partners up with experienced Jewish problem solver Max de Lyon, as they take us on some complicated thrill rides to help thwart the advance of fascism.We get flavors of Casablanca and The Thirty-nine Steps, and this one seems destined for a movie some day. I was rooting for Cristian in his muddled romantic life as much as in his careful steps to avoid fatal disclosure or misjudgment. Furst excels at giving us the feeling of being there at this point in history, trying to accomplish some important if relatively small contribution to the wide-ranging war that will help turn the tide. "The bar stood at the foot of a wharf in Gdansk port, where the lights of the quayside building were reflected in the still, black water. Inside, in clouds of cigarette smoke, off-duty stevedores were drinking beer or vodka or both until it was time to load another freighter. Ferrar and de Lyon - Nestor was still battling the Polish roads - had cleaned up at the Bernhof, then found the bar where they were to meet de Lyon's friend, called Bolek, who ran the Polish longshore union in the city." If you're in the mood for clandestine meetings in smoky bars, late night rendezvous with femmes fatales, high tension fakery, and lots of derring-do, put on your fedora and raincoat and grab this one.
  • (4/5)
    Alan Furst's books are usually among my favorite, yet something in this one's not quite right. Cristian Ferrar, a Spanish emigre living in Paris, is a brilliant law partner with an international firm. Perhaps, he's just a bit too perfect. Ferrar gets involved in securing weapons and ammo for the democratically elected government of Spain in a war against Franco's armies--Nazi's are supporting Franco, while the Russians seem to be supporting the pro-government forces. There are exciting moments, but overall it feels more like a synopsis than a completed novel by Furst.
  • (5/5)
    Alan Furst has made a career out of the anti-fascist movement in the 1935 - 1940 time period. I find his books so interesting. Many of the characters are in conflict with both Hitler and Stalin. In Midnight in Europe, ammunition is being stolen from the Soviet fleet in Odessa to supply the Spanish Republic. The Soviet Union, the Spanish Republic's supposed ally will not sell them more ammunition for a planned offensive. The Western democracies have placed an embargo on arms shipments to the Republic. It is truly, Midnight in Europe.
  • (3/5)
    The setting is great -- Paris in the late 1930s, full of wonderful restaurants and beautiful women. But it is also during the Spanish Civil War. Farrar is an international lawyer who tries to help acquire arms for the Republicans in Spain. He and his spy friend figure out just how to do this -- with scarcely a misstep because they always know exactly what to say and the correct people to speak to, at precisely the right time. The problem for the reader is that all this perfection doesn't provide any suspense -- we always know everything will work out in the end -- except for the Spanish Republicans, of course, but we don't really know any of those people. Besides the lack of tension, I had a couple of other problems. There was never a question of having enough money for their purchases and bribes -- not to mention the bottle after bottle of the best champagne; I have a hard time believing the Republican side was so well funded. Stylistically, Furst frequently uses stilted conversation to give information and he often defines something which does not need explanation. I hope those slips were cleaned up in the published edition.There is obviously another book to follow this one.
  • (4/5)
    The thing I like about the Furst novels I have read is that they are exciting, but not sensational. His spies seem like real people who have real lives. In Midnight in Europe, expat Spaniard Christian Ferrer is a lawyer with a prominent Paris law firm. He has a regular caseload he has to manage. He is responsible for his parents, sister, and a formidable grandmother. Because he supports the Republican forces fighting Franco's fascist army in Spain he is drawn into the world of espionage and he has to juggle his real life and his shadow life.The Republican army is fighting a rapidly losing war. The weapons needed come from a dozen different sources and the ammunition is running out. Bullets have to be sorted before each battle so that the right ammunition is given to the soldier carrying the right weapon. Ferrer is asked by a member of the Spanish Embassy in Paris to help facilitate a transfer of funds to a weapons manufacturer in Czechoslovakia for the needed armaments. He will be working with the mysterious de Lyon. As the two men overcome the difficulties to achieve the shipment of arms, they are helped by a diverse and fascinating group of people, some in it strictly for profit and others for their beliefs. There is a landlady in Berlin who gives them a vital bit of information, a group of Russian gangsters who supply a needed document, a man with mistress trouble who is blackmailed. Ferrer and de Lyon crisscross central Europe, bribing and threatening. They steal a train, have a harrowing sea voyage, and some really incredible meals in the process!Ferrer knows he is risking his life for a losing cause. Furst's hero is a good man who does incredibly dangerous things because it is the right thing to do and I enjoyed accompanying him on his journey.
  • (3/5)
    I'm not a big espionage/thriller reader, so it took me awhile to get into the rhythm of this novel. Once I did, though, I found it very hard to put down, and it really challenged my expectations about the genre. There's action and suspense, but no gratuitous violence, which I appreciated; there's womanizing, but without the misogynistic flavor that spy novels often have. Strangely, the word that comes to mind about this book is "gentle": in large part, this is due to the main character, Cristian Ferrar, a Spanish expat who works as a lawyer in Paris who somewhat reluctantly gets pulled into finding and buying arms for the Spanish Republic's fight against Franco. Ferrar is a Sorbonne-educated polyglot who frequently travels to the U. S. for his work, so he's a sophisticated and unlikely "underworld" figure. And in fact, there's virtually nothing "underhanded" about what he does--Ferrar is honest with his law partners about what he plans to do, and gets their support before proceeding, and he makes sure that most of his deals adhere to the spirit of the law, if not the letter. So, while I kept thinking that the novel was going to culminate in Ferrar's getting in over his head and being in grave danger, or becoming corrupt, that never happened. I kind of liked that--the notion that this unassuming character could have such adventures and be unscathed by them--though it didn't seem particularly realistic. And in the end, there's something very fatalistic about the novel: Ferrar and his comrades do all this work only to cede in the end that the Republic is doomed and a larger European war is inevitable. That is all historically true, of course, but there's no anger or frustration or any great sentiment at all about it...Ferrar just plods on. He's a cool character, but ultimately, so cool that I could only feel lukewarm about him.[NOTE: I received this book as a free e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
  • (4/5)
    Furst is in his element in painting the febrile underside of life in Europe in the late 1930s as everyone knows a war is coming. He focuses in this book on expats from Spain who are attempting to send armament to the Republic despite the efforts of a number of countries to interfere in their efforts. Russia and Germany are both building up their own armaments so do not want those resources sent to Spain.Furst is very good at atmosphere and tension, and as usual downplays the violence, although there is some. He creates believable and complex characters who are multi-faceted and nowhere near what 007 taught us to expect of our spies.
  • (4/5)
    I really wanted to love this book as I got a 1/3 of the way through it. Strangely, as I finished it, I realized during the book I was anticipating much more and feeling dissapointed that it wasn't happening. But once complete, the story came togethor and feel much better having finished it. Historical fiction, espionage, with what I felt were some disconnected story lines. I'm always never sure if its my personal tastes or the writing itself that doesn't allow me to love a book, so that fact that I finish it worth 3 stars alone. I'm giving it 3.5 because I enjoyed it in the end, just didn't love it.
  • (4/5)
    Alan Furst is a master of the suspense novel, and this, his latest effort does not disappoint. Set in the tense summer of 1938, Furst gives us a fast paced novel of suspense filled with memorable characters. Chrisian Ferrar, the son of Spanish refugees in Paris, is a successful lawyer in a presdigous law firm that handles the affairs of wealthy international clients. In his spare time, he also lends his assistance to the Republican government of Spain in their fight against the forces of Francisco Franco. After an Spanish Republican official is killed in Madrid, Ferrar is asked to work with the clandestine agency of the Spanish government to supply weapons desperately needed by the Republican forces.Joining him in his efforts are a disparate group - idealists, gangsters, arms traders, aristocrats and the odd beautiful woman - all working against the fascist forces of Spain and Germany, as well as the Stalinists in Soviet Russia. The action moves from Paris to Istanbul to Danzig to New York and from the offices of embassies to the brothels of Odessa as Ferrar and his allies move weapons and ammunition desperately needed by the Spanish Republican forces.Furst keeps the reader on the edge of his set right up to the final pages. This is a rollicking good read and why no one has ever made a movie out of one of his books is beyond me.
  • (3/5)
    As with all the other novels by Allan Furst, this also unfolds around World War 2. This particular one happens right before the war started and involves a Spanish emigre in Paris. His family, having escaped in Spanish civil war, lives in Paris and he works there in an international law firm.Furst's writing is, as always, really good, but I think in this novel he takes too long to bring the various sub-stories and characters together. As a matter of fact, one such sub-story never really finds its connection with the rest of them. I think "The Spies of the Balkans" remains my favorite Furst novel.
  • (4/5)
    Did I already read this? Or did Furst already write it? His books are all good; but they all feel the same. The plots are different -- this one is about a Spanish lawyer in Paris before WWII who gets involved in smuggling arms to the Republican Army in Spain to fight the fascists. But the atmosphere is the same -- the moody fog of pre-war, when no one knows who is on who's side and just which cloak is hiding what dagger. I always enjoy them. I just need time in between so I'm in the mood again.
  • (4/5)
    This seems more like a novella than a full-blown novel. Yet, it is not perceived as being too short. It is a snapshot of the doomed Republican regime in Spain, and the fascist juggernaut that supported Franco and tested the weapons they would use so soon in WWII. The heroism of the major characters in obtaining arms for the Republicans--in locations ranging from Gdansk to Odessa--is timeless; they gain nothing except their knowledge that they are doing the right thing. Stalin, who supported the Republicans, is seen as Machiavellian and destructive; for example, providing anti-aircraft weapons and no ammunition. The plot unfolds against the hedonistic pleasures of mid-30's Paris. This is a classic "entertainment" in the mold of Graham Greene.
  • (4/5)
    Genre: Spy mystery. Furst mines the same niche that made Eric Ambler the preeminent spy writer of his day. Ambler’s books, also set in pre-WWII, were acknowledged by Ian Fleming as the inspiration for James Bond. Plot: Cristián Ferrar is a Spanish émigré living in Paris in the waning days of the Spanish Civil War. Recruited by the Spanish Republican embassy, he is tasked with obtaining weapons for the Republican army defending Madrid against Franco’s Nationalist forces. Recent treaties have made it impossible to buy and import armaments directly to the Republicans so Ferrar’s job is anything but simple. To get it done requires an immense tangle of wheeling and dealing with arms makers, Gestapo officers, gangsters, expat royalty, diplomats, dockworkers and madams. His journey takes Ferrar and his associates from Czechoslovakia to Berlin to Poland, Romania and the USSR. It takes place in Paris night clubs, Turkish brothels, Polish shipyards, Soviet weapons depots and aboard Mexican tramp steamers. In short, Ferrar’s new job is not unlike juggling chainsaws where any tiny misstep can have catastrophic consequences. Characters: Furst does an excellent job of developing his characters, adding details that, while not always moving the story forward, give readers a greater appreciation of, and empathy for, the characters. Ferrar’s family and work as a lawyer have little to do with his work for Spain but it says a lot about who Ferrar is. Without that this book would be a lot less impressive than it is.Standalone or series: Midnight in Europe is the 13th book in Furst’s Night Soldiers series which is set in Europe in the years prior to World War II. Despite a few recurring characters, the books all feature different protagonists. While reading the books in order may provide historical perspective, it is not necessary.Impressions: Spy stories could easily be the genre with the greatest gap between fact and fiction. That said, Midnight in Europe is easily the most credible book that I have ever read in the genre. It has few chase scenes or gun play and not a single evil mastermind who plans world domination while petting his cat. Granted, the pace is a bit slow at times but Furst makes up for it with his rich character portrayal and eminently believable story.Bottom Line: My first exposure to Alan Furst was favorable even though it took a while for the story to get going and lacked the level of action and excitement that one usually expects from a spy ‘thriller’. Even so, every time I thought about giving it three stars I would realize that, even without the action, I was really enjoying it. I will definitely be reading more of his novels.*Quotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition. The review book was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. While this does take any ‘not worth what I paid for it’ statements out of my review, it otherwise has no impact on the content of my review.
  • (4/5)
    Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst is an exceptional book about espionage, love, and the lives of spies, on the eve of WWII. Furst takes the reader to 1938 Paris where Spanish émigré Cristián Ferrar works as an international lawyer when he is contacted by the embassy of the Spanish Republic to be a part of a clandestine operation and soon Cristián Ferrar and the reader are traveling around the globe meeting the most intriguing people. Midnight in Europe was well thought out, but I felt it would have been made better had the book been longer, maybe allowing for deeper character development. Regardless, it was a quick and enchanting read and I would recommend it to those who enjoy stories of around WWII and espionage.
  • (3/5)
    Either Alan Furst has lost a step or I've read too many of his books and they're starting to seem interchangeable. Smoky, Champagne-soaked cosmopolitan Europe, just before the cataclysm of WWII, is as well drawn as ever and sucks me in every time. But the assorted cast of aristocrats, gangsters, whores, bureaucrats, spies, and always at least one brave working stiff with his political heart in the right place, is getting old. As is our stalwart hero, an amateur called, often reluctantly, to the cause of fighting fascism. Usually middle-aged, unmarried, a lover of good wine, fine food and beautiful women, he is this time a Spanish lawyer working in Paris who agrees to buy arms and ammunition to support the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. As always, there is intrigue, a few tense moments, a hair-breadth escape, and a soupçon of sex. Even the titles are getting confusing: Was it "Mission to Europe" and "Midnight in Paris"? (Oh, wait, that was Woody Allen.) And before that were "Spies of the Balkans" and "Spies of Warsaw." I initially glommed onto Alan Furst's books because I saw him as a worthy successor to Eric Ambler and I thoroughly enjoyed the earlier works in the "Night Soldiers" series. But, sad to say, the books have become formulaic in recent years. Maybe that's what a series audience wants -- the predictable and familiar. Maybe that's why I seldom read series. But I'm hoping Furst digs deeper next time and taps into a more original and creative vein. If not, I'm afraid this will be a fond finis. Dommage.
  • (4/5)
    Hamburg. Istanbul. Algeciras. Odessa. Brno. Alan Furst’s novels reek of atmosphere. The action usually takes place in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam or Moscow. But what makes his writing so enjoyable is the evocation of the fogbound ports, dark, winding alleys, smoky cafes on side streets and the night train to some obscure destination. The years between World War I and World War II are Furst’s home grounds and he brings those interwar years and the tension and foreboding to life so very skillfully.“Midnight in Europe” is another well-written and enjoyable addition to the growing list of Alan Furst novels on my book shelf. There is not a great deal of action in this slim novel, but it is still a small gem that tells the story of Cristian Ferrar, a Catalan émigré (“not precisely a Spaniard”) who works in a Paris law firm. It is 1938 and there are signs in every direction that another major conflict is inevitable. The rehearsal is underway in Spain as the Republicans and Franco’s fascists grind away at each other.Ferrar is pressed into service to assist in providing weapons and munitions to the Spanish government. The expected Furst espionage plays out in a series of smaller intrigues and forays to obtain these weapons, involving a variety of fascinating and highly credible characters. There is certainly some tension, but these episodes are more liked linked vignettes, rather than a novel-length build up to a spine-tingling climax.The writing is good, the characterizations well done and the setting and feeling very noir indeed. But “Midnight in Europe” is definitely done in a minor key. I’m looking forward to something from Alan Furst with some punch to it. Where rather than finishing the book and saying, “Nice”, I finish it and say “Wow! I loved that!”
  • (4/5)
    Another in the enthralling series of books about the few years prior to the beginning of the Second World War in Europe, Midnight In Europe is not quite up to the standard Furst has set in his preceding books. That said, however, the work retains the interest of the reader in the times, the characters and the looming driver of all behavior, the onset of world war.The story deals with the partnership of two emigre Spaniards, one a lawyer with an American law firm with offices in Paris, the other a diplomat with the Republican Spanish Embassy in Paris. It is 1937-1938 and civil war rages in Spain between the Republican government and the Fascist forces of Franco. Supported by Italy and Nazi Germany, Franco's Nationalists are inexorably besting the outgunned Republicans.The two protagonists take it upon themselves to purchase munitions for the embattled Republican forces, providing for a tapestry of gangsters, black marketeers and other low-lives. Although successful in some of their deals, the lawyer and the diplomat are ultimately to meet with the failure of their work – the Republicans lose the war, though ensuring Spanish neutrality in the great world war to come.
  • (5/5)
    Midnight in Europe is a very good historical spy novel by a veteran writer in the genre. Alan Furst’s novel begins in 1937 when Christian Ferrar is visiting New York on business for his internationally trusted law firm, Coudert Freres in Paris. The handsome, intelligent, 40 year old lawyer enjoys his work and finds time to treat himself well to the pleasures of life: good wine, food, women, and travel.A Spanish émigré to France, Ferrar supports the Spanish Republic in its fight against Franco’s fascist government in the Spanish Civil War. There is a great deal of turmoil in Europe in 1937 including Hitler’s increasing harassment of Jews (and other ethnic groups) and the continuing rise of Mussolini’s National Fascist Party in Italy.When Ferrar returns to Paris and resumes his legal work for wealthy clients, he is brought increasingly into the politics of intrigue and paranoia of Europe on the brink of chaos. The focus of Christian’s political interest is on supporting the Spanish Republic in their war efforts by helping the army to obtain weapons. He does keep an eye on the safety of his extended family who live in a town close to Paris.In his interactions with an international player in criminal and espionage operations, Max DeLeon, Ferrar has a number of adventures that take him to dangerous areas of Europe. His work with Coudert Freres provides some cover for his covert work with Max. In Berlin, Ferrar and Max conduct business with a very frightened arms dealer in a safe house run by a woman with anti-fascist connections. The Berlin Staatspolizei come close to shutting down Max and Ferrar’s operation, and the two are investigated as spies against the Reich.To arrange shipping of weapons, Max and Ferrar travel to Warsaw. Again, they are confronted by fascist authorities and risk imprisonment and execution. Max has a history of engaging in high stakes risky business while Ferrar is a novice. Ferrar shows that he is not only handsome, intelligent, and hedonistic, but is also persistent and courageous, demonstrating grace and resourcefulness in life threatening circumstances.Ferrar has an interlude with a Comtessa who may be a fascist spy. Christian is not a man easily manipulated by spies and he and Max travel to Odessa to make the final arrangements to deliver arms to the Spanish Republic. They board a Russian ship with an illegal cargo of arms and run a fascist blockade in the Mediterranean on their way to Valencia. The Spanish Civil war is destined to be overcome by Hitler's will to dominate all of Europe.This is a very good historical spy novel with a likeable and complex main character. There are many interesting historical insights presented in the plot I outlined above. Also, there are many exciting, action filled scenes as Max and Ferrar conduct their operations. Thirteen books in the genre by Furst are listed in the front of this good novel.