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29 Reviews
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for summer days or winter nights
A friend of mine in London recently asked for a suggestion about a good book to read on the night train from Munich to Prague. I immediately recommended Alan Furst's King of Shadows, which opens on the night train from Budapest to Paris. An Alan Furst novel is often the answer to a request for a `good read'.

Furst comes from a line of writers whose literary...
Published on 12 Jun. 2006 by Leonard Fleisig

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Furst among equals
Maybe it's me. I've read all of Furst's novels in this loose "series", and I'm a big fan. But either I'm getting bored with the style, or he's treading water.

This certainly isn't a bad book. And there's nohing wrong with taking a "low key" approach to the 30s/40s espionage genre - but the Graham Greene comparisons are way off the mark. Compared to his earlier...
Published on 17 Nov. 2007 by Amazon Customer


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stripped-down Le Carre, 3 April 2009
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It's refreshing to read an author who doesn't waste words but it would be nice if sometimes he imbued his characters with a little more substance. They seem to know and trust each other well (they simply have to in most cases) but we seldom get that privilege.

You can't read his books one after the other. They're too bleak for that and his heroes are too similar. The period atmosphere is fascinating though and, I have to say, the history is educational.

His main men always seem to be Casanovas. It's the one failing of Furst's work. We are grown-ups. We don't need our guy to be god's gift to the women of pre-war Europe.
Less sex and more violence please Alan!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to feel guilty reading this literary thriller!, 4 Jun. 2006
I picked this up for my dad for Father's Day as he is a big Fan of Furst's writing, but started reading the fist chapter--just to check it out--and was unable to stop reading. Finished it in two days, and this is not a breezy read! The setting is 1939 Paris and foreign correspondent Carlo Weisz goes to work as an editor for an underground journal reacting against the fascist regime in Italy. The plot is simple as it revolves around his attempts to enlist help in the cause, his arrest and eventual escape; but the real pleasure here is not so much the twist and turns of the plot but the shadowy underworld that Furst creates, peopled with just as shadowy-and sometimes menacing-characters. The tension in this thriller comes from unknown sources, the reality of what "IS", the undisclosed, not from one evil source. In the end it is about not succumbing to the way things are but taking steps towards change, no matter how small they may be. This is a beautifully written book that should be on everyone's reading list! I also have to recommend my favorite book from last year "Tourist in the Yucatan" this author deserves more attention.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Foreign powers, 3 Aug. 2012
The book opens, as does Eric Ambler's Cause For Alarm, with an assassination carried out by Italian Fascists (OVRA), although you have to say the earlier writer does it with a lot more panache and with plenty of Hammer-horror-style fog to heighten the atmosphere. However, don't despair, because Furst soon has you twitching on his authorial strings as a coterie of Paris-based anti-Mussolini dissidents is beset on all sides by various goons from various intelligence services and the fingernail-chewing quotient is upped judiciously as the tale unfolds. A predictable problem, for a 21st century writer, is that Furst has obviously been told by his editorial team to whack in some sex scenes at regular intervals and, as ever with this well-covered area of human activity when it is described in words, banality sets like raspberry jelly by the first twanged garter. His characters are also thinly sketched but then you don't get the insight of Proust or Henry James in Ian Fleming either (and neither do you want it). Also, I just love restaurant, cafe and bar-set hiatuses (as did Ambler and as does Robert Goddard) and this has enough of them, with plenty of decent wine (Eschezaux, Barolo, Chianti, etc.) to gladden the discerning tippler's heart. It's my first Furst and I've had a ball. You will too. Treat yourself!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Average, 6 April 2012
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This was my first Furst.
I was expecting to get into it as one might Graham Greene. It was disappointing because despite the reputation, this book never really took off. The character descriptions were good but I never really got to know the MC (main character). I understand this is't one of his best, so will follow the recommendation of another reviewer and try 'Dark Star'.
The book's main effect on me was to make me feel that the realism was good - both journalism and spying must be boring in real life, but that isn't what one reads thrillers for. The high spot of the action seemed to be when Weiss (the MC) gets hit by a stranger in a crowd and thrill of thrills - breaks his specs!
One of the problems with the MC's relationship with the woman he loves is, it is under-described. His feelings for her don't come through strongly enough, so in the end you become ambivalent about what happens to her off-stage.
Sorry, but this one can't be his best, so I'll try again.
Three stars because it is competent and the descriptive prose is effective.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 3 July 2014
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This review is from: The Foreign Correspondent (Kindle Edition)
excellent
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5.0 out of 5 stars another great story, 13 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Foreign Correspondent (Kindle Edition)
great book alan furst writes really good stories about a time in rescent history that no one else seems to bother about but is very important.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another First from Furst, 28 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Foreign Correspondent (Kindle Edition)
Good story as usual don't know what more I can say.Good story as usual don't know what more I can say
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spy drama, 15 May 2012
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This review is from: The Foreign Correspondent (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book after hearing that a film was to be made of one of Alan Furst's books. Very atmospheric and beautifully written I was there in the dark streets of Paris. this book took me back to reading smiley's people and all those spy dramas of the the cold war. I'll be reading more!!
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of Money, 5 April 2013
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Not a good read at all. Boring with nondescript characters. Wouldn't recommend this author from this book. First impressions and all that. Of course, someone else might have completely different views.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down., 24 May 2013
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Alan Furst has filled my desire for a good spy writer.
I needed someone after John Le Carre' and he fills the requirement.
He brings his characters to life and gives the story a genuine bite.
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