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Dark Voyage [Paperback]

Alan Furst
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 May 2005
“In the first nineteen months of European war, from September 1939 to March of 1941, the island nation of Britain and her allies lost, to U-boat, air, and sea attack, to mines and maritime disaster, one thousand five hundred and ninety-six merchant vessels. It was the job of the Intelligence Division of the Royal Navy to stop it, and so, on the last day of April 1941 . . .”

May 1941. At four in the morning, a rust-streaked tramp freighter steams up the Tagus River to dock at the port of Lisbon. She is the Santa Rosa, she flies the flag of neutral Spain and is in Lisbon to load cork oak, tinned sardines, and drums of cooking oil bound for the Baltic port of Malmö.

But she is not the Santa Rosa. She is the Noordendam, a Dutch freighter. Under the command of Captain Eric DeHaan, she sails for the Intelligence Division of the British Royal Navy, and she will load detection equipment for a clandestine operation on the Swedish coast–a secret mission, a dark voyage.
A desperate voyage. One more battle in the spy wars that rage through the back alleys of the ports, from elegant hotels to abandoned piers, in lonely desert outposts, and in the souks and cafés of North Africa. A battle for survival, as the merchant ships die at sea and Britain–the last opposition to Nazi German–slowly begins to starve.

A voyage of flight, a voyage of fugitives–for every soul aboard the Noordendam. The Polish engineer, the Greek stowaway, the Jewish medical officer, the British spy, the Spaniards who fought Franco, the Germans who fought Hitler, the Dutch crew itself. There is no place for them in occupied France; they cannot go home.

From Alan Furst–whom The New York Times calls America’s preeminent spy novelist–here is an epic tale of war and espionage, of spies and fugitives, of love in secret hotel rooms, of courage in the face of impossible odds. Dark Voyage is taut with suspense and pounding with battle scenes; it is authentic, powerful, and brilliant.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade; Reprint edition (31 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812967968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812967968
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.3 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,999,109 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


Furst's novels, masterly analyses of character as much as plot-driven thrillers, are addictively readable and DARK VOYAGE is a fine example of his art. (SUNDAY TIMES)

A tense, plot-driven thriller about the murky world of naval intelligence amid the dangerous waters of the Baltic Sea... Addictively readable. (THE WEEK) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The latest in Alan Furst's superb sequence of wartime espionage thrillers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN THE PORT OF TANGIER, ON THE LAST DAY OF APRIL, 1941, THE FALL of the Mediterranean evening was, as always, subtle and slow. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life as it is 7 Oct 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Furst doesn't write thrillers in the conventional use of the term. He writes stories about people coping wih living in extraordinary circumstances -- no plans or grand schemes just the buffetings of Fate which require making constant adjustments and compromises. So the stories, like episodes in life, sometimes have a distinct beginning and an end but often just peter out without any fixed resolution. Either you like that or perhaps you find his books unsatisfying since you might think the stories get nowhere. I like it.
Dark Voyage is a novel in this mould with a strong narrative but a wandering story. It has echoes of Greene and Conrad as another reviewer has suggested and a similarly poignant ending like many of Greene's stories.
And like many of Greene's "entertainments" it is to be viewed on its merits -- it does not set out to self-importantly weigh the human condition. It does seek to entertain -- and it succeeds in doing that very well. Intelligent writing that does not stoop to sensation or artifices of plot to achieve its effect .
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Too Espisodic and Thin 8 Jan 2006
Furst's series of WWII-era espionage novels tend to eschew traditional narrative in favor of a series of episodes sharing a similar claustrophobic atmosphere in which a grim, reluctant hero must complete some task. The dual heroes of this latest (his eighth) is an aging Dutch tramp freighter and its dour Captain Eric DeHaan. The ship and its crew has been wandering the ports of the world for a year, ever since the Germans occupied Holland in May, 1940. Now, the exiled Dutch government in London has decided to allow the Dutch civilian fleet to be seconded to the British Navy for special operations. To his own fatalistic bemusement the skeptical DeHaan is secretly made a Captain in Royal Dutch Navy. His ship is then repainted, reflagged, and renamed at sea -- reemerging as a neutral Spanish freighter.
Among the crew or along for the ride is Furst's usual grab-bag of Europeans, including a Swiss spy for the British, Falangist Spaniards, anti-Nazi Germans, Jewish refugees, a Polish naval officer, and a female Russian journalist who becomes one of the captain's several bunkmates. The story follows the incognito vessel as it moves amongst the shadowy open ports such as Lisbon, Alexandria, and Tangiers performing various deeds for British intelligence. These episodes include dropping some commandos into North Africa, dropping some ammo off at Crete for the British troops there, before winding things up with a supply drop to the resistance in Sweden.
As usual, atmosphere simply drips from the pages. The freighter's dank smells and cramped cabins come alive as it creaks and groans its way through the story. As others have pointed out, although the book is stuffed with nautical details, they're not always correct, which is likely to irk those with maritime experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A master storyteller. 6 Aug 2013
By blossom
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Due to poor health, I am really unable to go into the reasons why I enjoy a book in any depth at all. All I can say is that I did/did not enjoy the writings. Alan Furst is able to conjure up Europe before & during the Second World War in a way that had me reading half the night. I did not initially realise he had so many stories published, so did not come on them in order, but I do not think that matters. Some characters & incidents do overlap in quite a few of the stories, but one is not left floundering, wondering who is who & why is that?

I am so sad that i have now read them all to date.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing but where is the story 5 Mar 2007
I want so much to enjoy Furst's novels. The atmosphere is there, the mysterious characters are there, but the plot is almost non-existent. There's virtually no referring back: an affair DeHaan once had in Paris is just that, an afffair he once had; skills he has picked up in a long life in the merchant navy are rarely mentioned, simply assumed; and almost all of the events (a lorry in the hold catches fire - was it an accident or not?) are so inconsequential as to have no bearing on the story whatsoever. Is this what is called a linear plot? I don't know, but it is surely the shortest distance between two points. As I say, the writing is a pleasure to read, but where are the skeletons in the closet? Where are the characters of dubious origin? And where is the German anti-espionage effort? There is more danger from passing Stukas than from the men in leather raincoats. Sady insubstantial.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Voyage 26 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Only recently discovered this author. I get a great deal of pleasure reding his books, obviously knows Paris very well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Voyage 14 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read everything Allan F has written and have been enthralled by every one. The time he covers, between the world's wars is a crucial and fascinating period and is depicted in rigorously well researched manner.
I love the ending, for instance Dark Voyage, leaving the reader with a sense of a real experience.
You'll have to write faster Allan as I've read everything you've written.

Ian Russell
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5.0 out of 5 stars Currently my favorite author 9 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book does not disappoint, Furst's writing is a joy to read and the story lines make it difficult to put down until the end.
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