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Dark Star by [Furst, Alan]
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Dark Star Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Length: 404 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Praise for Alan Furst and Dark Star
" A rich, deeply moving novel of suspense that is equal parts espionage thriller, European history and love story. "
-- The New York Times
" Compelling...An excellent novel of history, betrayal and, most important, survival...While the story offers enough twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent spy fan, author Alan Furst transcends genre. This is a novel with heart. "
-- San Francisco Chronicle
" This is a rich book, to be savored...for it is a work of an accomplished writer without obtrusively saying so on every other page. Furst has the instincts of the historian -- he likes to get his sequences right, he tells a story straight, and he believes that setting matters -- and the gifts of the storyteller. "
-- The Boston Globe

" 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. "
- Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times
" Dark Star is as fine an evocation of prewar Europe as anything I ' ve ever read. An extremely well written and literate novel that practically creates a new genre: historical espionage. "
- Nelson DeMille, author of The GoldCoast
" Outclasses any spy novel I have ever read. "
- Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate
" 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. "
- Walter Shapiro, Time
" [ Dark Star ] explores the ambiguous moral ground familiar to readers of Graham Greene, Robert Stone, and le Carr e . . . . Terrific stuff - poignant, moving, provocative. "
- Adam Woog, The Seattle Times
" Gripping . . . [Furst ' s] details of the period . . . give the book a forceful - and sometimes terrifying - reality. "
- New York Newsday
" A page-churner of the best sort . . . Brilliant detail and sure sweep . . . Here is a thriller more deeply satisfying than much of the nonthrilling ' serious fiction ' around today. "
- Los Angeles Times Book Review
" One of the best spy novels I ' ve read in years. . . . The novel is impeccably researched. It ' s as much historical fiction as it is spy fiction, and the atmosphere of danger and doom it creates by means of deftly employed historical details is matched only by the vividness of its mostly fictional characters. Dark Star doesn ' t merely evoke the period. Because of its engaging plot and appealing hero, it makes you live there, suffer there, and hope. "
- Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered
" Kafka, Dostoyevsky, and le Carr e sit up all night and talk to each other and this is what you get. It is absolutely wonderful. "
- Kirkus Reviews
" Intelligent, provocative, and gripping . . . Beautifully and compellingly told. "
- Publishers Weekly

Praise for Alan Furst and Dark Star
"A rich, deeply moving novel of suspense that is equal parts espionage thriller, European history and love story."
--"The New York Times"
"Compelling...An excellent novel of history, betrayal and, most important, survival...While the story offers enough twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent spy fan, author Alan Furst transcends genre. This is a novel with heart."
--"San Francisco Chronicle"
"This is a rich book, to be savored...for it is a work of an accomplished writer without obtrusively saying so on every other page. Furst has the instincts of the historian--he likes to get his sequences right, he tells a story straight, and he believes that setting matters--and the gifts of the storyteller."
--"The Boston Globe"

"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."
-Herbert Mitgang, "The New York Times"
"Dark Star is as fine an evocation of prewar Europe as anything I've ever read. An extremely well written and literate novel that practically creates a new genre: historical espionage."
-Nelson DeMille, author of The Gold Coast
"Outclasses any spy novel I have ever read."
-Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate
"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."
-Walter Shapiro, "Time"
"[Dark Star] explores the ambiguous moral ground familiar to readers of Graham Greene, Robert Stone, and le Carre. . . . Terrific stuff-poignant, moving, provocative."
-Adam Woog, "The Seattle Times"
"Gripping . . . [Furst's] details of the period . . . give the book a forceful-and sometimes terrifying-reality."
-New York" Newsday"
"A page-churner of the best sort . . . Brilliant detail and sure sweep . . . Here is a thriller more deeply satisfying than much of the nonthrilling 'serious fiction' around today."
-"Los Angeles Times Book Review"
"One of the best spy novels I've read in years. . . . The novel is impeccably researched. It's as much historical fiction as it is spy fiction, and the atmosphere of danger and doom it creates by means of deftly employed historical details is matched only by the vividness of its mostly fictional characters. Dark Star doesn't merely evoke the period. Because of its engaging plot and appealing hero, it makes you live there, suffer there, and hope."
-Alan Cheuse, "All Things Considered"
"Kafka, Dostoyevsky, and le Carre sit up all night and talk to each other and this is what you get. It is absolutely wonderful."
-"Kirkus Reviews"
"Intelligent, provocative, and gripping . . . Beautifully and compellingly told."
-"Publishers Weekly"

Praise for Alan Furst and Dark Star
A rich, deeply moving novel of suspense that is equal parts espionage thriller, European history and love story.
"The New York Times"
Compelling...An excellent novel of history, betrayal and, most important, survival...While the story offers enough twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent spy fan, author Alan Furst transcends genre. This is a novel with heart.
"San Francisco Chronicle"
This is a rich book, to be savored...for it is a work of an accomplished writer without obtrusively saying so on every other page. Furst has the instincts of the historian he likes to get his sequences right, he tells a story straight, and he believes that setting matters and the gifts of the storyteller.
"The Boston Globe"

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.
Herbert Mitgang, "The New York Times"
Dark Star is as fine an evocation of prewar Europe as anything I ve ever read. An extremely well written and literate novel that practically creates a new genre: historical espionage.
Nelson DeMille, author of The Gold Coast
Outclasses any spy novel I have ever read.
Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate
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.
Walter Shapiro, "Time"
[Dark Star] explores the ambiguous moral ground familiar to readers of Graham Greene, Robert Stone, and le Carre. . . . Terrific stuff poignant, moving, provocative.
Adam Woog, "The Seattle Times"
Gripping . . . [Furst s] details of the period . . . give the book a forceful and sometimes terrifying reality.
New York" Newsday"
A page-churner of the best sort . . . Brilliant detail and sure sweep . . . Here is a thriller more deeply satisfying than much of the nonthrilling serious fiction around today.
"Los Angeles Times Book Review"
One of the best spy novels I ve read in years. . . . The novel is impeccably researched. It s as much historical fiction as it is spy fiction, and the atmosphere of danger and doom it creates by means of deftly employed historical details is matched only by the vividness of its mostly fictional characters. Dark Star doesn t merely evoke the period. Because of its engaging plot and appealing hero, it makes you live there, suffer there, and hope.
Alan Cheuse, "All Things Considered"
Kafka, Dostoyevsky, and le Carre sit up all night and talk to each other and this is what you get. It is absolutely wonderful.
"Kirkus Reviews"
Intelligent, provocative, and gripping . . . Beautifully and compellingly told.
"Publishers Weekly""

Book Description

'Outclasses any spy novel I have ever read' Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2531 KB
  • Print Length: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (25 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HVR9I8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,338 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another quite excellent read from First. None of his books disappoint. One really is transported to the dangerous and grubby world of the early World War Two and the rootless environment of the spies and hangers on in the twilight world.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
No overall 'plot' as such, but plenty of sub-plots concerning Stalin and his purges, Soviet espionage and German-Russian co-operation. A very well told story and evocation of Central Europe on the eve of World War II. This author was new to me, and I shall follow up with some of his other books.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
20 years after first reading it Dark Star seems messier, badly plotted, and poorly edited (and the ending makes no sense). It's still brilliant though. Wonderful atmosphere, great sense of place, astute characterisation, and lovely turn of phrase. Although a lot of the research is clearly regurgitated largely undigested, it is mostly good research, and there is enough structuring to make it seem plausible.

Easily the best Furst novel, and a great spy and historical thriller.
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