Loyal followers of Alan Furst's closely observed and highly atmospheric novels of spies and politics in Europe just before and during WWII will recognise one familiar (Hungarian) character in "Mission to Paris" (originally slated as "The Spies of Paris"), but new readers should not despair if they don't. It simply means they face the delicious prospect of discovering Furst's backlist of at least ten more brilliant novels. In this canon of work, Alan Furst has shown (and hopefully will continue to show) an iron grasp of the complexities of European history, politics and culture, into which he places characters who on the surface are compeletely out-of-their depth swimming against the tide of Fascist tyranny. The one thing Furst's characters have going for them is always that although they may be flawed human beings, they know that for evil to succeed all it needs is for good men (and women) to do nothing.
Do not expect bombs, exhibitions of unarmed combat, car chases or super-hero pyrotechnics. The level of violence in one Furst's books is usually on the same level as that in the movie "Casablanca" - when it's needed, it's there and it makes a point. But that is not to say his books are not thrilling - and occasionally downright chilling. In "Mission to Paris", the methods of an official Nazi press agency (actually a front for political warfare) are explained as follows (I paraphrase): "We (the Nazis) don't send out press releases, we send out operatives - and then let other people issue the press releases...."
"Mission to Paris" is a novel of close-plotting, immaculate history, rich atmosphere and fine, fine writing.