With his new historical spy novel Midnight in Europe, celebrated author Alan Furst brilliantly illuminates an era on edge, during the troubled time preceding World War II, when a dark cloud of civil unrest and war slowly begins to envelop Europe.
Furst’s cast of characters is an amalgam of backgrounds, from gangsters to aristocrats, all bystanders that are pulled into the fray: slipping notes, trading secrets and doing whatever else it takes to stay at the forefront of the rat race. One such person is Spanish émigré Cristián Ferrar, who has adapted to life in Paris as a successful international lawyer, and recently turned spy for the Spanish Republic. Thinking his involvement will be confined to the Paris Front, Ferrar soon finds himself gunrunning across Europe with arms merchant Max de Lyon. Furst compellingly illustrates Ferrar’s clandestine exploits across Nazi-sodden Germany, the shipyards of Poland and even as far-reaching as the brothels in Istanbul. Sexual appetite aside, Ferrar’s hesitancy to play hero is endearing. He feels a certain level of responsibility, but is unsure of his ability to change the course of history, which the reader knows all too well.
Whether it is your first or fifth encounter with Alan Furst, Midnight in Europe is a captivating recreation of the late 1930s. Though fans of Furst might question yet another pre-World War II novel, his mastery of the era lends the narrative highly authentic imagery. As soon as readers open the book, they will find themselves submerged into the exotic life of espionage and the spiraling fight against the Fascist and Nazi factions that permeated Europe.