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Dark Star Paperback – 16 Feb 1998

26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; (Reissue) edition (16 Feb. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006511317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006511311
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,574,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Product Description

Review

‘Imagine discovering an unscreened espionage thriller from the late 1930s, a classic black-and-white movie that captures the murky allegiances and moral ambiguity of Europe on the brink of war… Nothing can be like watching Casablanca for the first time, but Furst comes closer than anyone has in years.’
Time

‘The time-frame of the late 1930s on the continent was once the special property of Eric Ambler and Graham Greene: Furst has ventured into their fictional territory and brought out a story that is equally original and engaging.’
New York Times

‘Espionage oozing from every shadow – writing of a high calibre.’
Sunday Express

‘Mesmerising.’
Sunday Telegraph
‘A jewel.’
Daily Mail

Book Description

'Outclasses any spy novel I have ever read' Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
IN THE LATE AUTUMN OF 1937, IN THE STEADY BEAT OF North Sea rain that comes with dawn in that season, the tramp freighter Nicaea stood at anchor off the Belgian city of Ostend. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Biagio on 24 May 2006
Format: Paperback
There is something true in saying that all of Furst books are similar, but then again they serve their purpose (high quality entertainment, not literary masterpiece) so well that one does not really mind. In this type of literature, as in Le Carré, one prefers sustained quality rather than novelty. However Dark Star and Night Soldiers differ from the others in that they have some very itneresting historical comments to make. There are two pages in Dark Star where the author goes through the purging of jews from the soviet communist party that are very interesting; how the party went from having a huge jewish presence ("We were in the paradise businnes" as General Bloch, s beautifully penned character, says) to almost none after Stalin took control of things. It is in inserting considerations of these kind (certainly not original) that makes Furst's first books so interesting.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Furst is a revelation. He writes leagues ahead of Le Carre, Deighton et al. Furst combines the eloquent first person observations of Deighton's Bernard Sampson and the unrelenting intelligence of Le Carre's George Smiley.
Dark Star is set in pre-war Paris, a Soviet journalist (Andre Szara) fights to stay alive caught between the approaching menace of Nazi Germany and the ruthless savagery of the NKVD. The oppressive atmosphere of uncertainty can almost be felt like a breath of fetid air as you open the book and remains convincing throughout as Furst resists applying the wisdom of hindsight - Szara knows war will happen, but when? It seems certain that Hitler must fight, but who as alliances are shifting and often meaningless?
Szara's efforts to cling to a life (any life) are further complicated as he is used by warring factions in the NKVD who view Szara's inevitable death as an acceptable write off. Szara's friend consoles him with "In [any] work there is competition, alliance, betrayal. Unhappily when an intelligence apparat plays these games, they are equipped with very sharp tools ....... and the level of play can be frightful. A journalist .... will simply be eaten alive."
A man driven by love, anger and desire, trying to survive in a world between competing ideologies that have a savage and feral momentum.
"You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you" (Leon Trotsky) best seems to summarise Szara's quiet terror and the reader's compulsion to read on.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T Marshall on 21 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
The woeful tale of Szara, the Polish/Russian journalist, trapped in the intrigues of the intelligence services of Europe prior to WWII is gripping. We feel an imediate empathy with the character as he tries to make sense of the nonsensical, dodging the bullets as he goes.
There is a marvellous Flashman-esque element to this story, wherein the author lands his main character into the most improbable, historically important events leading up to the outbreak of hostilities between Germany and Russia. How he remains alive is of as much a mystery to him as to us, as he is hunted by the world's most devious men. Yet, there is a thin thread of possibility that it may have been possible for him to do so.
It is this thread that pulls us as readers from one unlikely scenario to another as he cheats death time and again. And before you know it you have been convinced that the parallel lives of Stalin and Hitler were inevitable through fate.
I recommend this book to all who enjoy the suspension of reality, with a tinge of historical activity to spice it all up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. McAllister on 31 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
My first 'Alan Furst' and there will be more. Really enjoyed this novel. With complex characters, interesting plot and ambitious but fairly convincing insights into the history of the 1930s, it is difficult to fault. But I have some reservations - the ending/denouement felt a bit rushed and contrived - all a bit too 'happily ever after' considering the darkness of the subject matter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By yorkist on 26 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alan Furst always intrigues with his multi layed plots.
The 1938 background is the outline for the outbreak of world war 2
The subtle character images are gripping
If you like spy stories this is a must.
But russian spies will always be a mystery.That is why we buy them
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ludder on 5 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A brilliantly written book which engagingly captures the spirit and emotions of the pre-war years .A superbly entertaining novel which I would unhesitatingly recommend.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having watched the " Spys of Warsaw" mini-series on BBC TV I was hooked on Alan Furst's writing and had to read his work. So far I have read Dark Star and The Polish Officer and enjoyed both from beginning to end. The hero of Dark Star isn't a clean cut guy driven to the good or honorable thing he is a victim of the pogorms and purges trying to do his best to survive as Hitler and Stalin shred the heartland of Europe. Our spy by being at the right place at the right time proves that even reluctant heroes can make a real difference.
I
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Booksthatmatter on 6 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
Alan Furst is a superb writer with a very sure and evocative touch. I have enjoyed all of his books, but Dark Star shines out as the finest. The central character Szara is a complex and compelling one as flawed and interesting as one of Le Carre's heroes.
This is an author who should not be pigeon-holed into a genre.
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