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The Polish Officer

The Polish Officer

Scritto da Alan Furst

Narrato da George Guidall


The Polish Officer

Scritto da Alan Furst

Narrato da George Guidall

valutazioni:
4/5 (14 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
11 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 1, 2005
ISBN:
9781436111713
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

September 1939. As Warsaw falls to Hitler’s Wehrmacht, Captain Alexander de Milja is recruited by the intelligence service of the Polish underground. His mission: to transport the national gold reserve to safety, hidden on a refugee train to Bucharest. Then, in the back alleys and black-market bistros of Paris, in the tenements of Warsaw, with partizan guerrillas in the frozen forests of the Ukraine, and at Calais Harbor during an attack by British bombers, de Milja fights in the war of the shadows in a world without rules, a world of danger, treachery, and betrayal.
Pubblicato:
Jan 1, 2005
ISBN:
9781436111713
Formato:
Audiolibro


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4.2
14 valutazioni / 8 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (3/5)
    I respect the book and enjoyed it, but I prefer more dialogue and less narration.
  • (5/5)
    Alan Furst is the Grand Master of the ‘Quixotic Spy Novel’ and the Polish Officer is one of his real masterpieces. I also enjoyed the narration of George Guidall very much.
  • (4/5)
    Finished another Alan Furst book. I am hooked. I really like his rather old fashioned, simple novel format - there's a little romance, a few killings, quite a bit of suspense (these are spy novels, after all) and some good historical background. He has obviously done his homework in learning about Europe between 1938 and 1945; all kinds of spies and underground networks working against the Nazi Germans. His books have the atmosphere of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, you can almost hear Satchmo singing "you must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, and...... as times go by." My goodness, if you have not seen Casablanca - do that, now! And then read some Alan Furst.This latest book is The Polish Officer and we follow a likeable Polish fellow as he works against the Nazis first as they invade his homeland, second from his base in Paris, and finally in the woods of the Soviet Union as the Germans head to their winter defeat. He carries the different persona well: he's an officer in the Polish military who escapes to Paris, and there, he is a "bon vivant", mixing with "rich and famous" while passing secret messages, and then he morphs into a member of the Underground doing sabotage to the German trains, and mounting a clever attack on a prison. The final scene is worthy of a classic 1940s black and white movie. I loved the book, and somewhat reluctantly turn to my next read, which is a science fiction book.
  • (4/5)
    Until recently I didn't know of Alan Furst's writing at all, but I'm very pleased to have now discovered it. This was my first of his books, and from other reviews out there it looks as though there are plenty more to enjoy which will be even more satisfying than I found this one. I don't often read what might be called 'spy thrillers', but I am a fan of historical fiction. This book - and I gather the others of Furst as well - is a successful blend of the two genres.In a word I would describe this as 'atmospheric'. Highly atmospheric. The plot itself is not the most intriguing element, rather a series of early wartime assignments following the 1939 invasion of Poland and taking us up to the first winter following the German invasion of Russia in 1941. The main protagonist - Captain de Milja of the title - is a very believable character. He is a man who appears to have surrendered himself to the circumstances he finds himself in at the war's start, determined to make the best of it in order to survive. He will do what he can for his nation while it finds itself under occupation and it's government in exile.Where this book excels though is in the authenticity given to the various locations that the story unfolds in, primarily Poland and France, and the feel of the places that really comes over. The cafes, the locomotive sidings, the lonely hotels, the remote farms. You can smell the wood smoke on the village's edge and hear the old clocks' dull ticking in the safe-house of a humdrum railway town. The secondary characters are fascinating and I only wished that some of their stories be slightly more explored, though perhaps this is Furst's intention, as de Milja so often finds himself suddenly reassigned or having to make an abrupt escape.Overall, a very enjoyable and escapist read into a frightening world which the author brings to life very skilfully. I will definitely be reading more of his work.
  • (4/5)
    The novel is one of many by Alan Furst in a genre he has created for himself, historical spy fiction in the WWII era. The protagonist is often an unlikely hero thrown into a dangerous situations. This is similar to many books by another of my favorite authors, Eric Ambler.The protagonist is Captain Alexander de Milja, a cartographer in the Polish Army. We meet him as the army is disintegrating under the attack by the Germans. He is recruited by Colonel Vyborg into ZWZ, the Union for Armed Struggle. His first assignment is to smuggle the gold reserve of the Polish government out of the country by train. He then moves to operating a spy network out of Paris and after his recall is parachuted into the Ukraine to work with a band of partisans.The novel is well written and has a realistic feel in the details of life and death moments in a world of gray emotional content. De Milja is not as engaging as some of the other characters in the book. He is primarily a fighter and a survivor. The other characters are ordinary people from all parts of Europe whose lives have been changed by the war. The plot is lackluster. The moments of suspense are underplayed and the story is primarily about day to day survival. The book is rather short and the ending is just a chopping off of the story. The war goes on and de Milja says, "I will go on fighting." I don't feel like I'm giving anything away, there isn't any "ending" to give away.Furst is a a good author but this is not one of his better books. I never found an event or character that gave the book any real meaning. It seems the author's only purpose was to portray the banality of the underground war on a daily basis.
  • (4/5)
    While Furst is generally categorized as a writer of spy novels, I think that's a very narrow way of looking at his books. He is an excellent novelist. He has chosen Europe during WWII as his setting and all his books are so well researched, they "feel" authentic. In this novel, as in his others, a strong but basically ordinary man is tested to the limit. Polish cartographer, Alexander de Milja, is recruited into the Polish Intelligence Service after the German invasion of Poland and is thrown in to a series of dangerous assignments. Furst has a deft touch in surrounding his heroes with very real and interesting characters, all facing life and death decisions daily as they struggle to survive. My only criticism of this book is that it jumps abruptly from one place to another as de Milja is reassigned to various countries. I would have liked a little more transition. Also, his love interest, a woman who assists him with his intelligence work, disappears with a very brief and unsatisfying explanation. While not his best book (I think Night Soldiers and Kingdom of Shadows are better) this is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    Alan Furst follows a formula that has proven so successful for him. A more or less ordinary man finds himself in the midst of World War Two. In these extraordinary conditions, the ordinary man finds himself capable of surprising acts of courage and even heroism. `The Polish Officer' opens with the German invasion of Warsaw and within a few hours Captain Alexander de Milja, a cartographer by profession, is recruited into the Polish resistance's intelligence service. Many of the characters occupying Furst's novels are not so devoted to the good fight as de Milja or Jean Casson (Red Gold and World at Night). As one of de Milja's compatriots says, "As you get older, you accept venality. Then you learn to like it - a certainty in an uncertain world." Furst excels at giving the reader a feel for what it might have been like to risk betrayal to the SS in every hour of the day. Furst always does his homework when he writes what he calls his `historical spy novels' and it shows. The details provide the sense of verisimilitude that makes his books so enjoyable. His characters are always interesting and often multi-dimensional. My only gripe with `The Polish Officer' is that de Milja moves swiftly across Europe serving in at least four separate major undertakings in four different locations. That seems like an unlikely set of circumstances. It is a minor quibble because each episode can stand on its own merit once de Milja's back story is established in the opening pages. An excellent read for fans of the spy genre, which has produced a surprisingly long line of excellent writers. Alan Furst's name belongs aside Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, John LeCarre, Charles McCarry, and Robert Littell.
  • (4/5)
    More Alan Furst, this time covering Poland. I would like to see book that covers Russia over this period in more detail. We have Dark Star but the subject is so large it could do from a viewing from different angles.