Book review: Midnight in Europe

 

Midnight in Europe


Midnight in Europe
In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this audiobook for free in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post
as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
Midnight in Europe
By
Alan Furst
Narrated by: Daniel Gerroll

Publication Date: June 4, 2014
at Simon & Schuster Audio

 

Duration: 8:13 hours
ISBN: 978-1442368170



Genre:
spy novel / historical fiction

Source: Received
from the publisher for review

Goodreads

Buy this book

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

       New author challenge

2014 historical fiction  2014-Audio-Book-Challenge-Button

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

new eiffel 3

I had not yet read any book by Alan Furst, so I seized the opportunity as this audiobook was graciously sent to me by  Simon & Schuster Audio. At the difference of the previous one they sent me, All The Light We Cannot See, Midnight In Europe didn’t leave me that ecstatic.

Cristián Ferrar is a lawyer. He emigrated from Spain and works in Paris. But he is more than a lawyer and on the side he is involved in helping a clandestine group buy weapons to help the Spanish Republic fight against fascism. He runs into all kinds of shady characters from all over Europe, and has to figure out if there’s any he can trust in his very dangerous mission. To top it all, a client of his says she’s a Marquesa. Is she? Can he safely build a relationship with her, or is she also a spy?

For a spy novel, I thought this was really slow, and I found Ferrar’s references to his former lover Eileen unnecessary. But maybe it’s because I have not read the previous book in the series. What I found good was the historical background of all that was going on in Spain, and in Europe just before it found itself under the boot of Hitler.

Thoughts on the audio production:

The narrator was good, his voice pleasant to listen. In fact, I may have gone on listening mostly because I really enjoyed his voice. He introduced nice nuances of tones and accents between the different characters.


VERDICT: If you are interested in a different perspective on Europe at the time of Franco and Hitler, this spy novel will give you a good inkling.

 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

 

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.  [Goodreads]

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1226085973p5/49941.jpgAlan Furst is widely recognized as the current master of the historical spy novel.
Born in New York, he has lived for long periods in France, especially Paris.
He now lives on Long Island.

Night Soldiers novels
* Night Soldiers (1988)
* Dark Star (1991)
* The Polish Officer (1995)
* The World at Night (1996)
* Red Gold (1999)
* Kingdom of Shadows (2000)
* Blood of Victory (2003)
* Dark Voyage (2004)
* The Foreign Correspondent (2006)
* The Spies of Warsaw (2008)
* Spies of the Balkans (2010)
* Mission to Paris (2012)
* Midnight in Europe (2013)

Stand-alone novels
* Your day in the barrel (1976)
* The Paris drop (1980)
* The Caribbean Account (1981)
* Shadow Trade (1983)

HAVE YOU READ ANY GOOD SPY NOVEL RECENTLY?

13 thoughts on “Book review: Midnight in Europe

  1. I have read almost all the books in this series with the exception of the newest and Dark Voyage. The author’s writing style is a bit different, maybe not for everyone, but once you get into your first one, well you just have to devour them all! Characters in one book might show up in another, but in a totally different point of view.

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      • I am not sure if I have read “Mission to Paris”.There are only 2 or 3 books, that I haven’t read in this series. A few of the characters in that book, reappear and have an entire book devoted to themselves. Most do take place in Paris, the south of France, Poland, Hungary, Spain and the Balkans and the characters travel throughout Europe in each book. But they usually seem to return to Paris.The first book I tried to read and notice I said tried to read was “The Foreign Correspondent”. I started this book several times and had to give up. But I did return to it later and did enjoy it immensely!
        The problem, that I found with this author is, that he has a writing style, that you have to get used to when reading his books. He does not number chapters and for scenes within a chapter,he just has a larger space between them. So when I first started reading his works, I was getting confused because he does move his settings all over the place and I would think, who is he talking about now. I was lucky to buy over half his works in a used book store. So I looked up the chronological order of his books, that I did have, and began with the first book. Somehow, doing this, I became used to his writing style and really got into them and really started to appreciate them.I love the way how one character meets the main character in a book and several books later, this character will have his own story to tell in his own book. It reminds me of the play “Tamara”, where you don’t sit in a seat in a theatre to see a play.You get to go to a real mansion and you chose which character to follow from room to room. If you decide another character is starting to get really interesting, you start following that person. You then become part of the play, like the individual characters.
        A few of his books deal with the film industry and the French actor Jean Casson, who worked with the director in “Midnight in Paris”. He appears in “The World at Night” and in “Red Gold”. Frederic Stahl and Janos Polanyi, who appear in “Mission to Paris”also appear in books of their own.
        Maybe, instead of starting with “Mission to Paris” start with his first novel “Night Soldier” or the first one dealing specifically with the film industry, “The World at Night”. All the books are stand alone stories, but all are interwoven too.That’s what I find to be the beauty of his writing. We get the story from everyone’s point of view. The stories do not necessarily follow in chronological order (time wise according to what year it is).

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        • thanks so much for explaining, that certainly gives a very interesting view of his whole work. I purchased Mission to Paris in a used store as well, that’s why I was thinking of that one.
          When I listened to Midnight in Europe, I was not aware of course of what he does with the chapters, as you explain so well here, and it was not confusing in the audio form at least. so I’m going to look into his first one, thanks!

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