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An Autumn evening in 1937. A German engineer arrives at the Warsaw railway station. Tonight, he will be with his Polish mistress; tomorrow, at a workers' bar in the city's factory district, he will meet with the military attache from the French embassy. Information will be exchanged for money. So begins The Spies of Warsaw, with war coming to Europe, and French and German operatives locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield. At the French embassy, the new military attache, Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, a decorated hero of the 1914 war, is drawn in to a world of abduction, betrayal and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of Warsaw. At the same time, the handsome aristocrat finds himself in a passionate love affair with a Parisian woman of Polish heritage, a lawyer for the League of Nations. Colonel Mercier must work in the shadows, amidst an extraordinary cast of venal and dangerous characters -- Colonel Anton Vyborg of Polish military intelligence, last seen in Furst's The Polish Officer; the mysterious and sophisticated Doctor Lapp, senior German Abwehr officer in Warsaw; Malka and Viktor Rozen, at work for the Russian secret service; and Mercier's brutal and vindictive opponent, Major August Voss of SS counterintelligence. And there are many more, some known to Mercier as spies, some never to be revealed. The Spies of Warsaw is Alan Furst's finest novel to date -- the history is precise, the writing evocative and powerful, more a novel about spies than a spy novel -- exciting, atmospheric, erotic and impossible to put down.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780297855415
ISBN-10: 0297855417
Format: Hardback
(242mm x 161mm x 28mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 10-Jul-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » As the Nazis openly plan an invasion, France's military attache in Warsaw does a little spying, eats good meals, travels a bit and spends time in pleasant surroundings with a lovely lawyer for the League of Nations.Wounded in the Great War, Col. Jean-Francois Mercier is a widower with two grown daughters, a vast Parisian apartment, a handsome, slightly shabby country estate and two fine hunting dogs. His current assignment in Poland has him mixing with the local swells - where he picks up bits of information on the tennis court and at dinners - and running a modestly successful intelligence operation involving Herr Uhl, a plump German engineer who swaps details of the Nazis new tank for nights of love with a zaftig "Countess" in Mercier's employ. From the various little bits of information Mercier has gleaned, it becomes depressingly evident that the Nazis are beefing up their tank warfare capability with an eye on the Ardennes forest, the quickest way around the "impregnable" Maginot Line in which France's thick-headed military leaders have placed their total trust. Then the Uhl operation falls apart. An obedient hausfrau sharing his train compartment reports Uhl's nervous behavior to the authorities, resulting in his nearly successful kidnapping by some overeager intelligence agents. Mercier's successful intervention in the snatch earns him a place on the Nazi hit list. Undaunted, the suave Frenchman plans a fake hike on the German border to photograph the latest tank war games, obtaining even more evidence of the Huns' strategy, which will yet again be ignored by the dinosaurs at the top of the French army. Offsetting the frustrations at work is a dalliance with beautiful Anna Szarbek, his blind date at an embassy dinner.Furst (The Foreign Correspondent, 2006, etc.) cuts back a bit on the usual tension, but there is all of the wonderfully wistful late-'30s atmosphere that is his specialty. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Alan Furst

Alan Furst has lived for long periods in France, especially in Paris, and has travelled as a journalist in Eastern Europe and Russia. He has written extensively for Esquire and the International Herald Tribune. He lives in New York state.

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